I had the opportunity this week to acknowledge the passing of my Great Aunt Iris Condon on the 26th April 2018. She was the source of much inspiration, guidance and knowledge about the whole of life, not just some aspect of it.
Iris was born in Portland NSW on the 10th September 1913 and, at the age of 3, was to tragically lose her father to an industrial accident. Iris was to do the basic schooling required back in the day and went on to learn the arts of the tailor and seamstress in Portland. With the impact of the Great Depression Iris and her next eldest sister, Dos, were despatched from the family home to get a job as their widowed mother was no longer able to fund their existence. Iris and Dos were to then move around finding work as it was available.
Iris returned to tailoring in 1935 in Moss Vale, then to Canberra, Crookwell and Taree before returning to Portland to work in the Small Arms Factory in Lithgow during the War. After the war Iris operated her own business in Portland before finally closing the doors (there was no one to purchase the business) in 1975 to live a well-earned retirement. Engaged to a soldier during the War, he was sadly not to survive the injuries he sustained in New Guinea; alas, Iris was to never marry.
Whilst a business owner and operator in her own right, Iris was also one of four sisters and three brothers, other than the two that died as children, operated their own business at some stage, and for a large part of their lives. Iris happily and frequently assisted her siblings with the operation of their businesses. That was simply the way things were done in those days.
There are many lessons that have been gained from Iris and I have been privileged to have been able to receive many of these. Her ability to bring a life time of experiences to life was second to none, and I am confident that I have a much better appreciation of life in this country’s past because of it.
Farewell Iris, thank you for all you were and what you shared. Rest in peace … you have surely earned it.