The amazing people behind the vests

The amazing people behind the vests

Mater Mothers’ Ward Nanny Jean believes that if you are well and active you should do what you can to give back to your community.  So for 11 years she has done just that, supporting families with their newborns at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals in South Brisbane. 

“I had my babies at Mater Mothers and knew that once I retired that was where I wanted to give back,” Jean said.

From offering an ear during often challenging and emotional times, to helping to teach new parents how to swaddle their baby, to taking a baby to the parents’ lounge so parents can get a well-earned hours’ rest—Jean is happy to help anywhere she can.

“I love getting to know the families and being there in those first few days of newborn bliss, helping however I can. And of course I love meeting the babies,” Jean said. 

Jean certainly has the skills from parenting two children and being ‘mama’ to six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. 

“It’s important to be there for your children, love them, keep them safe and know when to take a step back and let them do their own thing, “Jean says. 

As a young mother Jean had no car, no access to buses and a husband on shift work.  When her children were young she worked from home in her own dressmaking business. 

“It was hard work but I was home with the kids and could pick them up from school,” Jean says. 

“I made suits, dresses and even wedding dresses. I really like the ‘70’s fashion however my favourite style is from my mother’s era in the 1930’s when dresses were soft and elegant.”

Jean worked as a fashion consultant for Myer and fabric companies until she retired. 

“I always made my own clothes. My son remembers sitting under the pattern books while I looked through them for hours,” Jean said. 

And today Jean enjoys helping out where she can. 

“You have to have empathy for people and treat them the way you would want to be treated,” Jean said.  A simple philosophy and a perfect Mater volunteer.

Another fun fact about Jean:

For 24 years Jean and her husband were a double act travelling the cabaret circuit.  They met in Tenterfield; she a dancer, he from a performing family. Their juggling and balancing act was a hit, with Jean as the ‘Da Da’ girl in sequins!  And of course she made her own costumes.



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