LOOKING BACK: BEV WARNER
Some people just live more interesting lives than most, and Bev Warner is one of them as Moya Stevens discovered
Bev has had some wonderful experiences during her life, with travel being top of the list and a smattering of celeb encounters thrown in.
But with all her travels, she still found that the best place to live for her was Port Douglas.
The daughter of an optometrist, Bev enjoyed a good life and fine education in Melbourne. Lovely happenstances with famous people are a common theme in her life, with the first being an opportunity to sing with Louis Armstrong when she was a very young woman.
“I was a singer and was invited to sing on Radio 3DB.
“While I was waiting after my performance, Louis Armstrong came by and said ‘what a beautiful voice’ I had, which was rather exciting,” Bev said, “and we ended up having a little sing-a-long together.”
The same year, 1954, Bev escorted a friend to an investiture at Government House where she met Queen Elizabeth II who was officiating on her first trip to Australia as the Head of State.
Two years later, Bev joined her father on a day at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Club where she met a charming young American, Charles Morgan, who Bev later discovered was the grandson of JP Morgan Jnr, the famous banker and financier.
“We went out a few times before he went home and we corresponded for several years,” she said.
Bev trained as a Nurse at the Prince Henry’s Hospital and soon became a much sought-after theatre sister. She met her husband, Ian, an ear, nose and throat surgeon, married in 1958 and set off on a UK adventure.
“It was exciting times in London in the early ’60s, being the Carnaby Street era.”
While she was living in London, Bev’s first child, Richard, was born but that didn’t stop the wanderlust of the Warners.
“On one occasion I went with a couple of girlfriends to the south of France, just out of Monte Carlo,” Bev said, “and one of them was a florist and had to arrange some flowers on a big yacht at the marina.
“I went with her to keep her company, and when we got to the marina, we worked out we were delivering flowers to Christina O, which belonged to Onassis.
“When one of the crew offered to show me around, I didn’t hesitate – it was amazing.”
Another interesting trip Bev had was on a train through central Europe. They found themselves in East Germany, which was “terrifying”.
“The train stopped and big German Shepherd dogs were let on board, then a very officious woman in uniform made us open all our bags and thoroughly checked our papers.
“When we got underway again we noticed that at even distances people where stationed along the route to check that nobody got off.”
After four years in the UK, the couple decided to return to Melbourne. “I spent 14 years raring the children,” Bev said, “and then I returned to Prince Henry’s until its closure in 1991.”
The time in Europe certainly piqued Bev’s love of travelling and, after having two more children, Alex and Libby, more travels were arranged, including South America, Easter Island and Canada.
“When I went to Canada, I travelled up to Prudhoe Bay which is small place in Alaska on the Arctic Ocean and as it was spring the wildflowers where something to behold.
“I took my 12 year old granddaughter, Sarah, to Canada and we had the best time,” Bev said, “and being Christmas, the snow and the decorations made the whole place quite magical.”
Bev has also taken her nursing expertise to some remote places including Alice Springs and Torres Strait.
Bev is not only an avid traveller but also enjoys tennis, golf, walking and the arts.
“I just love my involvement with DAB in Mossman – I am currently learning glass slumping which is so much fun.”
When she isn’t doing glass or ceramic craft work, Bev may be found on the Palmer Sea Reef Golf Course, where last year she won the C Grade Cub Championship as well as the Women’s Nett and Gross Championships.
“I used to play a lot of tennis and was a member of the Double Fault Club, but it’s a bit hot up here for that so I’ve moved to golf.”
Bev visits Melbourne each year where she is a guest at the Australian Open, after volunteering there for 40 years until 2014.
“I used to drive a lot of the players around – Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and most them were lovely people.”
With two of her three children living in Port, it seemed logical for Bev to move up here too, so she did just that in 1995.
“Oh, and my grandson, James and I met President Clinton when he visited Port Douglas in the mid 90s.”
Bev certainly has packed a lot into her life, and she appears to be continuing to make very day count.
“I have met some wonderful people up here and I just love being here with my family and friends.”
I went with her to keep her company, and when we got to the marina, we worked out we were delivering flowers to Christina O, which belonged to Onassis
Bev Warner with some of her glass work. Inset: In the 1980s