Campbell an inspiration to all
ELSIE Campbell was an absolute inspiration to her family, friends and indeed to all those who knew her.
She was an energetic, optimistic, fun-loving person and had many friends. She was a moral woman, loved her God, was honest, extremely loyal, hard working and always straightforward in her opinions
Elsie Campbell nee Rowden was born on October 11, 1917, and died on May 26 last year after spending the past 10 years at Noosaville. Tomorrow her family will have a ceremony at the Dallarnil cemetery for the placement of her ashes with her late husband Bruce.
Elsie was born in Brisbane where she undertook her schooling before gaining employment at Overells Department store in Fortitude Valley were she worked as a sales assistant in the hosiery department.
Elsie met her future husband, farmer and axe man Bruce Campbell, through her cousin Archie Johnstone (also an axe man) at the Brisbane Exhibition in the late 1930s. When Bruce won a tree-climbing event at the Ekka in 1940 he bought an engagement ring with the winnings.
After their marriage on April 25, 1942, they moved to Coringa with the Burnett River their backdrop to the orchard Bruce bought from his father.
Their first-born child, Janice Marie, lived for just three days. It was heartbreaking time for Elsie to lose her first baby and to have no parental support at hand. Five more children followed: Noela, Rodney, Geoffrey, Lindsay and Philip. Elsie taught her three eldest children via correspondence school
In April 1954, Bruce died and Elsie was faced with the difficult decisions of a young widowed mother of five.
With the help of good friends and neighbours she chose to stay alone on the farm with her five children rather than move back to Brisbane and nearer to her family.
Around this time, Bruce’s brother Ted moved down from North Queensland to help Elsie run the farm. They started a school bus for their children (and the other local children) to attend Coringa primary school. Elsie was tenacious in her efforts to achieve this facility and at one stage personally lobbied the Education Minister in his Brisbane office.
Elsie and Ted married in 1957 and Ashley was born in 1958. Ted died in 1992 and is buried in Proserpine Lawn Cemetery.
On the farm, citrus fruit was the main production but the cattle herd grew more and more. Elsie worked alongside Rodney and Geoffrey and later on with their wives, Petronella and Toni, picking, washing, packing and bagging fruit in the season and sending fruit by rail all over Queensland. The first quality fruit packed into hand-nailed boxes were railed to the market in Brisbane and beyond.
After the two families took over the farm Elsie was able to indulge in her love of travel and undertook many interesting trips both in Australia, in Europe and the United Kingdom. The West Australian wild flower tours were a favourite.
Elsie was a conscientious citizen and spent many years on different committees in the district. She was awarded Biggenden Shire Council’s Citizen of the Year in 1989.
In 1985 she was elected onto Biggenden Shire Council where she served two terms. She was president of the Historical Society for 20 years and was also a member of the Country Women’s Association, Catholic Ladies Committee and Hospital Volunteers.
Through the Historical Society she took a keen interest in the archaeological dig of Paradise Township prior to the Paradise Dam being built on the Burnett River, and in the historical book written about the turn of the century gold mining town called Paradise.
This interest in local happenings continued right up to the day she died, with her avidly keeping up with politics and social events in the Noosa area.
Where her family were concerned, Elsie was a devoted and caring mother, grandmother of 21 and great grandmother of 23.
She always took a great interest in what every member of her family was doing and was immensely proud of each and every one of them, as evidenced in the photo gallery in her room
She always loved good clothes, shoes and hats, and was always “dressed to the nines” whenever she left the house. She was always wearing a hat. Elsie left behind quite a remarkable collection of frocks and hats.
Elsie had a wonderful, long life and despite receiving a curve ball so early in her life, she lived that life to the absolute fullest.
Her family can only admire this great lady for the example she set them all throughout her 98 years.
BUSY CITIZEN: Elsie Campbell and family members at the launch of the book Paradise.
The late Elsie Campbell was involved with the Biggenden Historical Society for 20 years. She is pictured with Christine Holder accepting a framed certificate of appreciation.