My life, my home

Wynne lives at VMCH’s retirement community Athelstan, in Camberwell. Nearly every table and cabinet in her beautifully presented home is bursting with her creations – porcelain dolls, sculptures, decorated eggs and painted plates.

Then there are the paintings on her walls of beautiful Australian native animals and landscapes – most of them created by her.

Wynne moved to Athelstan with her husband, Don, who died about three years ago after a short stint in hospital. She says the couple loved the lifestyle and community they were part of at Athelstan.

“When we came here we thought this is it! We loved the outlook from our apartment and we just loved it here, the community.”

This year marks 40 years since the couple married and enjoyed a lovely life together that included many years in Woodend. They briefly moved to Mount Macedon before their home was destroyed during the horrific bushfire season of February 1983.

“Where we were we could see right over the whole of Melbourne. When we were in bed we could see the lights of Melbourne. But we didn’t have very long to do that.”

The couple lost everything in those bushfires. Wynne says they worked hard to create a new life for themselves in Melbourne. Everything in her home today has been created since then.

While Wynne says it is hard to pick her favourite pieces, there are several that have sentimental value to her.

Porcelain doll ‘little donnie’

“The first porcelain sculpture I did was ‘Little Donnie’. That was in 1988. That was my husband Don’s favourite little thing. That was in 1988. Since then I have made heaps of plates and things. I loved giving them to people as gifts.

Don loved all my art because they were made by me and he was so proud of my work and to have it around our home.”

The lady in purple

“Purple is my favourite colour and that was the first thing I made for my sister, Mary. She died
10 years ago.”

Wynne and her sister shared a close bond and both loved art and craft. Wynne credits her sister for ringing her and alerting her and Don of the massive danger the bushfires were presenting
to people in their area back in 1983.

“Mary was screaming at me, ‘Wynne get out, the mountain is on fire.’ We had absolutely no idea.

“I went to open the front door and it just threw me back … all of a sudden I could feel it and hear it … it was like 500 jets revving up and coming and you could see this great big red ball.”

The couple made a last minute escape in their car and drove to the city.

“As soon as we got into the city I found a phone booth and rang Mary, and said, ‘we’re out’.
She just cried and cried. If it wasn’t for her we probably wouldn’t have gotten out.”

Porcelain dolls, plates, tiles and eggs

“I love to be creative. I just really enjoy it. I love animals. I did knitting, crocheting, you name it I’ve done it.

(As a child) I used to always draw. Comics and things like that. I’d copy a lot of things, cartoons and things. My sister was like that too.”