Thursday, 29 October 2020
Brittain, Ms Wendy
Today I wish to acknowledge and celebrate the life of Wendy Brittain. Wendy was a community leader, a much-loved and respected figure in our local community by all of those she worked with. She was passionate about gardening and she used this and the environment to bring our community together. She founded the Oxley and District Garden Club 35 years ago. It was her fantastic idea to use gardening to bring like-minded people together. Founded alongside another respected Oxley local, Shirley May, the group had events through the year. I was proud, during my time as a local councillor, to be appointed as co-patron alongside Wendy. Of all the groups I'm involved with and honoured to be patron of, this would be my favourite.
Wendy also ran the Sherwood Neighbourhood Centre markets and was the past president of Queensland Quilters, where she specialised in mini-quilts that would be donated to Blankets with Love. In speaking with Mrs Lorelle Palaszczuk—the mother of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, a member of the club and a friend of Wendy's—she told me how she used to go and collect beautiful mini-quilts from Wendy, each one made uniquely and creatively with love.
Around 10 years ago, when I was the councillor for Richlands and representing the suburb of Oxley, Wendy, alongside her husband, Ray, and other local residents came to me with an idea to form a bush care group around the park where they lived, at Rikki Bailey. At the time I was an opposition councillor and Campbell Newman was the lord mayor. Basically the way the council worked was: if a Labor councillor suggested something, Campbell Newman did the opposite. So I wasn't particularly confident I was going to get this bush care group up. I went to the residents nervously—I was a new councillor—and said, 'Look, I think it might be a little bit difficult with the politics and Campbell Newman.' Wendy, with a twinkle in her eye, said: 'We've got faith in you, Milton. I'm sure you'll get it done.' With those efforts and that support, we were able to find a way to get the group up and running. Those efforts have improved the natural areas, and the bush care group created a safe environment for Brisbane's unique wildlife. In March this year I was proud to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Rikki Bailey Park Bushcare Group.
Wendy spread friendship through gardening. It was a joy to know her and work alongside her in the community. She was loved by all and everyone in our community, and they have such fond memories of the joy she brought them. When Bronwyn Rigby told me of her passing, I was really sad. This Sunday I will be going for a walk with the Rikki Bailey Park Bushcare Group along their parkways to think of Wendy and honour her memory.