Joan was born in Gympie where she stayed with her mother and father until they moved to a small town in Northern NSW. Her father was conscripted during the II World War and fought in Papua New Guinea. Joan and her mother were left in a small country town for four years while her father was overseas. Although, she doesn’t complain, “it was just mum and I on our own for years, which was lovely actually, we always had such a great relationship.”
She fondly remembers childhood, from running away from bulls in her friends paddocks to watching her mum play piano at the local dances. Joan’s father eventually came home from the war and recalls she, “miraculously got a little sister out of it.” Due to the time her father spent away at the War there are 12 years between Joan and her little sister.
Joan and her family bounced around a bit before eventually moving back to Gympie where she went to school. She first noticed her husband, Bevan, when she was 14 and he was 16. They went to schools on the same block, but a church stood between the girls’ and boys’ campus’. Joan remembers she once stood in the yard behind the church to wave to Bevan in the window of his class room. One of the school nuns caught her waving to a boy and she got in trouble. “My punishment was standing on the veranda during afternoon classes, although I didn’t mind at least I didn’t have to do school work.”
After that Joan learnt her lesson and used to go to church to watch Bevan as an altar boy. “I used to go to church all of the time and drool over him up there.”
After school her and Bevan were married. Joan remembers, “we were the only ones in each other lives, there was no one else for us.” She was married at 19 and by 20 she had her first child, Judith. Joan went on to have 9 children who she is still all extremely close with.
Joan and Bevan had settled into their life in Gympie when he came home one day and said, “pack your bags I’ve bought a Service Station in Rocky.” Joan knew nothing about the purpose but made the best of the situation, packed up and sold the house with 5 children running around. Bevan had gone to Brisbane to learn the trade while Joan drove to Rockhampton with the kids in the back of a station wagon with a trailer for all their belongings.
When Joan and the family arrived in Rockhampton, their lives were anything but smooth. Joan’s husband took to drinking and things got so bad they had to sell their service station. With the money they had Joan bought a house big enough for the now family of 8 and continued to take care of the family while her husband drank away their money.
Things got so bad that Joan went to an A.A meeting herself and explained her story to the group. During the meeting a man told Joan that he might be able to help and ended up bringing Bevan to the next A.A. meeting.
Bevan didn’t know that Joan had set him up, but after his first meeting he never had another drink or cigarette, so Joan knew her trick had worked.
Joan and Bevan went on to purchase another Service Station, which is now the BP on Canning St. They were very successful the second time around and were able to build a beautiful big house with a pool.
After they had sold the second service station Joan thought they were retired, until the day Bevan came home and said he had “brought a gift shop.” Another purchase he didn’t tell Joan about.
They worked in the gift shop with their daughter Judith until Bevan was too sick to continue, so they closed the doors and walked out.
Bevan passed away at the age of 65 from emphysema and TB. Joan misses him terribly, and still maintains, “that even after everything I still loved him dearly, he was my only one and I was his.”