Florence (Flo) Sylvia Fos­ter 13 Au­gust 1923 – 16 April 2018

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

ner­ship and she sup­ported Bert ev­ery inch of the way.

Flo has not only left a won­der­ful legacy of what she and Bert con­trib­uted to this com­mu­nity, but also a legacy of love.

“What an amaz­ing lady. Loved by so many, Flo, you will be greatly missed.”

Three Eu­lo­gies

The fol­low­ing eu­logy was de­liv­ered by John Ni­chol­son, Flo’s nephew.

To­day we are cel­e­brat­ing the life and times of our dear friend, aunt and sis­ter, Flo Fos­ter. Flo or Floss as she was known in her ear­lier days was born in Mul­wala at home in “the old place” as their home was re­ferred to, in 1923. This was be­fore the lake was formed and their house was in­deed flooded when the lake was raised. Her life was rich and full and her many achieve­ments are well known to most here. She passed away on 16th April just four months short of her 95th birth­day. To­day we are to hear re­flec­tions and trib­utes to Floss from three peo­ple who have been through the var­i­ous eras of Flo’s life.

Firstly from her sis­ter Heather who at 98 was un­able to make it down from Bri­bie Is­land in Qld, but in her in­domitable man­ner wrote a tribute to her sis­ter and this will be given to you by her son Dun­can on her and his be­half. Then I - her nephew - son of her brother Jack will en­deav­our to fill you in on some high­lights and achieve­ments of Flo’s life. Fi­nally from her great, great niece Jes­sica, grand­daugh­ter of my sis­ter Bev, will come a most beau­ti­ful and mov­ing ora­tion which will demon­strate the ef­fect that Flo had on all who knew her, how car­ing she was and how lov­ing, and her ca­pac­ity to move peo­ple of all gen­er­a­tions with love and af­fec­tion.

Flo was born in hum­ble cir­cum­stances. The old place which was sit­u­ated just down past the end of the Mul­wala swim­ming pool was to be flooded and her fa­ther, my grandad, ac­quired land on Mel­bourne Street and built the house which Bev now has. It was and is, a beau­ti­ful place and must have been quite an amaz­ing step up from “The old Place”.

In her rec­ol­lec­tions Flo re­called that at school, her favourite sub­ject was busi­ness prin­ci­pals, and she be­lieved that this sub­ject, and the help of her sis­ter Heather, car­ried her through life in her many busi­ness pur­suits.

After a stay in hos­pi­tal with ap­pen­dici­tis, Flo ex­pressed an in­ter­est in nurs­ing to Ma­tron Lewis who had be­friended her, so on leav­ing school she went to work at the hos­pi­tal. Ap­par­ently her main job was look­ing after the new ba­bies.

She was later em­ployed by the lo­cal den­tist - Jim Kelly - and was with him for about 7 years. She al­ways had the fond­est of mem­o­ries of her time there and I be­lieve it was then that she be­came so keen to prac­tice good den­tal health.

Around the end of WW2 Flo met Bert Fos­ter and even­tu­ally they were mar­ried. They were an amaz­ing and lov­ing cou­ple and be­tween them they un­der­took some al­most un­heard of en­ter­prises.

Flo al­ways had a great fash­ion sense and put this to work in run­ning her own dress shop.

They then built and ran the kiosk at the fore­shore for a num­ber of years, had trips over­seas and be­cause of their great in­ter­est in wa­ter ski­ing, spent time in Flor­ida USA which, was con­sid­ered the home of wa­ter ski­ing. Flo and Bert picked up the idea for a mo­tel in Amer­ica and set about mak­ing it hap­pen.

In the mean­time how­ever, they started Yar­ra­wonga’s first self-ser­vice gro­cery shop - the fore­run­ner of Su­per­mar­kets. This was a very hard and tir­ing en­ter­prise but be­tween them and with help from fam­ily and friends, they made it work.

Later came the big­gest un­der­tak­ing of all, the fruition of Bert’s dream - Cy­press Gar­dens Mo­tel. This opened in 1959 and was a ground breaker for its time. It was a great hol­i­day re­sort, a place to stay overnight, for a week­end or what­ever time you liked and you could bring your own boat or ski be­hind their boat. So many of the peo­ple who stayed there kept in touch over the years.

Of course such a large busi­ness re­quired book­keep­ing and ac­count­ing skills. This is where her old school sub­ject of busi­ness prin­ci­pals came to the fore and Flo, aided and men­tored by her big sis­ter Heather, formed and ran the book­ing and ac­counts sys­tem from scratch and to my knowl­edge, it worked a treat.

Cy­press Gar­dens was very suc­cess­ful - they de­voted all their time and just lived for Cy­press Gar­dens and made it the suc­cess that it was. They made many en­dur­ing friend­ships in this pe­riod, with lots of the peo­ple who stayed there keep­ing in touch over the years. But of course all good things must come to an end and I sup­pose the long hours and hard work took its toll, as even­tu­ally Flo and Bert re­tired and lived in the house just over the boat har­bour in Fos­ter Court that Bert built.

Flo and Bert bought a unit in Surfers Par­adise and spent win­ters up there and sum­mers in Mul­wala, in­ter­spersed with cruises and trips over­seas - not a bad life.

After suf­fer­ing a stroke about six years prior to his death, the great part­ner­ship ended when Bert passed away in 2002. As Flo stated “I liked to think that I looked after him well” - I know that she did.

Flo then lived at home in Mul­wala in the house that Bert built for her, over­look­ing the boat har­bour and what was Cy­press Gar­dens.

In re­cent years, it be­came in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for her to live at home. She then moved into Woods Point where she lived hap­pily, re­ceiv­ing lov­ing and pro­fes­sional care from all the staff. We thank the staff at Woods Point for their help and as­sis­tance to our aunt.

All the achieve­ments of Flo’s life were mag­nif­i­cent, but the most en­dear­ing part of her was that she cared so much about ev­ery­one, even peo­ple she had never met, and was gen­uinely in­ter­ested and con­cerned about their health and wel­fare. I will leave you with a quote from Flo’s rec­ol­lec­tions:

My brother used to say to me when I was young, “Oh Pet, you have been blessed” and I could never un­der­stand it. He said it sev­eral times, and now I re­alise that I have been blessed and I am a very, lucky per­son I have all these mem­o­ries. A lot has hap­pened in my life­time, I could not have wished for a bet­ter or more lov­ing per­son than Bert. We had a won­der­ful life to­gether.

Flo, it is we who have been blessed. We could not have wished for a bet­ter or more lov­ing Aunt than you.

Jes­sica Ni­chol­son, great, great niece of Flo, spoke on be­half of nieces and neph­ews.

Great Great Aunty Flo, wow, where to even start.

I fondly re­mem­ber vis­it­ing her when she lived in Fos­ter court, well how could I for­get when a ‘short’ visit was at least an hour. She surely did know how to tell a story, but I am so grate­ful I got to lis­ten to ev­ery sin­gle word as her life and her ex­pe­ri­ences have been such an in­spi­ra­tion.

I was for­tu­nate enough to be liv­ing in Mul­wala for a cou­ple of months over the sum­mer which pro­vided me with the op­por­tu­nity to reen­gage with Aunty Flo after liv­ing in Co­bar for ma­jor­ity of my up­bring­ing.

Her sense of style and class was ev­i­dent even in Woods Point. This was clear through her blow-waved hair, red lip­stick and slip- pers which matched her ar­ray of blouses. She was not only a gor­geous per­son but dis­played her in­ner beauty on ev­ery oc­ca­sion as well. The fol­low­ing quote is a per­fect re­flec­tion of Aunty Flo and re­ally epit­o­mizes the lady she was, “el­e­gance is when the in­side is as beau­ti­ful as the out­side”.

She truly was a beau­ti­ful and gra­cious lady which was clear through ev­ery word she spoke as she dis­played her gen­uine and pure heart which left a mark on ev­ery­one she met.

I would like to take this time to leave ev­ery­one with a nice out­look on Aunty Flo’s life, we should all be think­ing how lucky we were to have met some­one that makes say­ing good­bye so hard.

The fol­low­ing eu­logy by Heather We­myss, Flo’s sis­ter was de­liv­ered by her son Dun­can We­myss.

Tribute to my Sis­ter – Florence – Flo – to me Flos

Just over 100 years ago John and Sil­via Ni­chol­son started their fam­ily. Jack el­dest, 2 and half years later Heather and then an­other 2 and half years later Florence Sylvia was born.

Need­less to say she was beau­ti­ful with lovely blond hair and was spoilt by all.

We had won­der­ful par­ents, although very poor money wise we were very rich with love for ev­ery­one and were taught great value to live by. When young Jack was given jobs like clean­ing ev­ery­one’s shoes, milk­ing the cow etc, then they passed to me but as Jack of­ten said, jolly young Flos never got to do them. After school years Flos wanted to be a nurse, she started at the Yar­ra­wonga

Hos­pi­tal and ex­celled at her work, but Mum said Dad felt it was get­ting too much for young shoul­ders. She then worked for Jim Kelly (den­tist) she had some won­der­ful happy years there.

She also went with Jack driv­ing Dad’s diesel truck which was no mean feat.

The Sec­ond World War Flos helped raise lots of money and was belle of the ball.

Around this time Bert came into her life. Flos went on to open a frock shop/gen­eral store/kiosk with Bert. She and Bert had sev­eral trips over­seas. At this time Bert could see where a Cy­press Gar­dens in Mul­wala could be built.

She again ex­celled in all that she did. Shirley and Doug, Bert’s chil­dren had their part in mak­ing Cy­press the suc­cess that it was. As my sons Rob and Dun­can grew older Flos would have them for school hol­i­days giv­ing them jobs to do such as go­ing around pick­ing up cig­a­rette butts etc.

Flos was a sec­ond Mum to them as I know all Jack’s fam­ily were too.

We had a won­der­ful Mum that gave us great Chris­tian val­ues to live by.

Mum and Flos had a won­der­ful lov­ing sis­ter and friend re­la­tion­ship, which later passed on to my­self and Flos to­gether.

Thank you Flos for be­ing my lov­ing sis­ter and friend, God now has you in his keep­ing.

I am sure that Flos would have at this time want me to say a spe­cial thankyou to Bev, Donna, Peter and John and their fam­i­lies for the lov­ing care of her es­pe­cially the end­less hours spent with her over the last few years. As Flos would end, love and god bless. The fu­neral pro­ceeded to Mul­wala Cemetery where Flo was buried with her hus­band Bert who passed away in 2002 aged 96 years.

Mourn­ers were in­vited to share re­fresh­ments at Mul­wala Wa­ter Ski Club, Bert and Flo Fos­ter’s favourite club which is a legacy of their vi­sion and very gen­er­ous sup­port that en­abled its es­tab­lish­ment.

Fu­neral ar­range­ments were han­dled by Yar­ra­wonga-Mul­wala Fu­neral Ser­vices.

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