Heather Evelyn

Heather Evelyn
November 1933 - September 2014

Heather was born in Lauriston Hospital at Mosman in November 1933.

Her childhood and teen years were spent in Mosman on Sydney’s North Shore.  Heather enjoyed swimming in her youth, and had many fond memories of days spent at The Spit, Chinaman’s Beach, and Manly.  Quite early in her life she embraced the church, which was central in the rest of her life.  Scot’s Kirk at Mosman was where she was baptised, and continued her Christian journey.  She attended Mosman Public School and then Mosman Home Science School – where she made friendships which were to last throughout her life. 

After school, Heather attended Metropolitan Business College in 1949 which required her to travel to the city by ferry each day, a trip she really enjoyed.

Her first job was with the Royal Agricultural Society at Sydney Showground where she worked from 1949 to 1954 before travelling overseas by ship in at the age of 21.  In London she worked as a stenographer and travelled extensively in Europe and the United Kingdom – this trip helped foster her appreciation of her Scottish ancestry – something she was to have an ongoing interest in. 

On her return to Australia, she became engaged on Christmas Day, 1955.  Heather once again gained work in the city as a stenographer, and on 10th November 1956 married John Evelyn at Scots Kirk.  She had three children.  A son born in 1959, a daughter in 1961, and another daughter in 1963.  She was a full-time stay-at-home Mum while her children were young.  In 1965 the family moved to Wollongong where Heather continued to live for the next nearly 50 years.

Heather took a keen interest in her children’s schooling and was very active in the Ladies Auxiliary, P & C and Canteen.  She attended all sports and swimming carnivals and was always there quietly encouraging her children from the sidelines.  She was always very conscious of the importance of a healthy diet and exercise and instilled these values in her children.

Heather was an active supporter of her children’s sporting and social activities and encouraged them to attend Sunday school at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Wollongong.

Once her youngest child started high school Heather returned to the workforce full-time, securing a stenographic position at the Wollongong Teachers’ College which then became the Institute of Education before merging with the University of Wollongong.  She made many good and lasting friendships during this time, and right up until her illness she continued to regularly meet with these former work colleagues. 

Heather’s husband John died at the age of 50 after a brief illness.  Throughout his illness, she was stalwart in her support for him, and he passed away at home in her care. 

Being widowed at the age of 49, Heather redefined much of her being in the following few years.  She undertook study at Wollongong University and enjoyed coursework on Australian History and Literature.  She became more active in her church – working in the office, being secretary to the Board of a Nursing Home, working in the Op Shop, the annual fetes, kids clubs, and singing in the choir.

Heather rediscovered her love of dancing - taking lessons in ballroom and New vogue, and then discovering square dancing and Scottish Country dancing which she continued right up until her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Heather also became a regular swimmer at the Continental Pool in Wollongong.  She loved the bush and was an avid bushwalker.  She would enthusiastically tell of the walks she did and had a marvellous level of fitness as she moved through her 60’s and 70’s. Heather was also a member of the U3A, Wollongong Women’s Probus, a Friend of the Botanic Gardens and enjoyed aerobics and yoga.

Heather had six grandchildren in total – two granddaughters and four grandsons.  They became the most loved grandchildren in the world!  Heather was their “Nan”, and she attended most of their pre-school, school, ballet, music and sport events.  She provided them with memorable school holiday adventures over many years. 

Heather valued education, and encouraged her children and grandchildren to continue with an attitude of “a lifetime of learning”.  She was at every graduation, and was immensely proud of the achievement of each of her children and grandchildren.  She always quietly encouraged and supported, and celebrated efforts and successes.

Travel was one of Heather’s great enjoyments.  She travelled extensively through Britain and Europe, and also travelled to Canada to visit her nephew for his wedding.  She travelled to Fiji, New Zealand, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, and extensively across Australia.  In the months prior to her pancreatic cancer diagnosis she went on a Pacific Island cruise with her square dancing friends, and also travelled to the Bass Strait Islands and Tasmania.  She loved visiting her nephews and their wives and families across NSW and Victoria.  She had a lot of love and shared it with all her extended family constantly.

Heather instilled in her children and grandchildren a strong ethic of fairness and compassion, tenets which are central pillars of their existence to this day.  Her unconditional love to all her family and friends is a trait which will forever be admired.

Heather passed away in September 2014 at the age of 80.