JEAN was born in England in June 1915. Jean had two daughters: Anne who has two children and lives in England; and Josephine who came to Australia with her husband. And three children.
Jean arrived in Australia in December 1959 (aged 44) on the boat the "Fairsea" as a ’Ten pound Pom’ she ’hitch-hiked up the coast to Port in search of the sun,
Fruit picking and doing odd jobs on the way and arriving in June 1961. Jean’s story is a snapshot of the history of Port from the early 1960’s to the present. Jean arrived in the middle of the’ dry season.’ Port didn’t have reticulated water until l962 when the pipe came from Mossman. There was a big tank down on the foreshore where people got their water when their tanks were getting low. Jean slept on the beach in her tent for the first two weeks, which she loved, and then met Diana Bowden who offered her a job and accommodation. They were the owners of the Nautilus Restaurant and had a shell jewellery shop attached. Diana was famous for the exquisite pieces of jewellery she created; she also did lunches and afternoon teas. Her pregnancy with Kate made it difficult to continue with the lunches and afternoon teas and besides she didn’t want to cook anymore, she did continue making her jewellery. Diana sold the lease of the Restaurant to Bart Allen in 1963; Bart promptly opened the Restaurant for nighttime dining thus creating the beginnings of the great "fine dining" Nautilus Restaurant. Bart was a great storyteller as well as a fine cook, and like all storytellers the truth could be somewhat embellished. Bart’s chocolate cake became famous and the origins got grander in the telling. He attributed the recipe to his Polish Jewish grandmother and sold the recipe to the Smalls chocolate Company, the truth of where the recipe came from is much more mundane. It came from Diana who got it out of The Women’s Weekly and eventually, when he left the Nautilus he gave the recipe to Paul from the Catalina Restaurant. Memories of Jean will be of her riding around town on her bicycle in her colourful tropical dress, swimming every morning in the sea, feeding the fish from the stale bread she used to collect from the restaurants, and also painting the wonderfully evocative tropical signs for the businesses of Port and of course her own paintings. Her beautiful tropical garden which she nourished with seaweed collected from the sea after her morning swim. They will also remember her contentment with her life, Jean sitting on the veranda of ’myecumbene’, which overlooked the Coral Sea, listening to Joan Sutherland in the early evening and watching the birds playing in her bird bath. Jean also had a great tolerance and enjoyment of people’s eccentricities which for a town with a population of between 250- 300 seemed to be disproportionate number of them. Here are some of Jeans thoughts of Port People taken from her diary: George Quaid had his Real Estate Offices in Mossman and Port, he asked me to do a sign for his Port office. It was through him I got the Lot 4 property in Wharf Street opposite the Cop Shop next to the church. George had the local nickname A Quid because everything he touched turned into money. I earned my living doing sign writing then and when in Cobb & Co. Coach came to Port to do their trip to Melbourne there were plenty of signs to do. When I first came I wrote a Poem to put in the two shops about wanting work and it worked. Hamilton’s Store owned and run by Peter and June Hamilton (corner of Macrossan and Grant Street) the other was Scullett’s store with Joan and Doug Scullett in Macrossan Street with Doug’s father Martin next door, across from the Courthouse. Doug also had a boat called "The Gannet".
Manny and Doreen Sims with their lovely boat "Miss Doreen" which they had for taking supplies and mail to the family on Low Isles and later passengers as well. Doreen came from Ceylon and Manny from the Philippines Manny knew the coast and Barrier Reef intimately he could take you in his boat to the reef, no land in site, and show you his pet groper. Some years later they built a bigger boat "Doreen Two" chartering longer trips for all the tourists and us. They had their own house and Jetty on the waterfront near the wharf.
Right at the bottom end of Macrossan Street there a was the post office - where everyone used to meet to collect their mail - the cop shop and George Quaid and then Scullett’s store, it was opposite the Court House Hotel. Anita and Ross Pope used to be the lighthouse keepers on Low Isles. He had four four kiddies and they had education over the air, but when they had to go to school they came into Port and they took over the store from Sculletts. What a contrast because she loved Low Isles.
There were two boys down on the wharf, Leo and Ernie. They were interested in the Nautilus "but Ernie decided it was a little bit too hoity toity for them", so Bart said well why don’t you try the wharf you could turn it into a restaurant", perhaps. The Council wasn’t very keen but they did it. Leo was a French/ Canadian and very artistic. Oh the fancy dress parties and the Hawaiian nights. Say "They had three grass skirts and they used to say "Do a Hawaiian dance and the best one get a bottle of wine." 1963 was a great year for Jean besides meeting her husband it was the year Cobb and Co once again pulled up in Port Douglas on their re-enactment journey to Melbourne.