Mum was born May 6, to Tom & Edith Goodland in Ayelsbury in England. Places and dates are not the story. Mum wasn’t good with some dates, including the year of her birth. Those who try to document her life will have their own challenges.
Many stories we never got to the bottom of. Something happened on birdcage walk. She was not an open book, and saw no merit in it and let people draw their own conclusions.
In the Young Conservatives she met Peter Barrington. Their love was never conservative. It was a grand romance, passionate and consuming. Dad was No 1.
They were a team. In 1951 they came to Australia – Mum called this the honeymoon – and they built a new and successful life together here.
Dad was head of the house and made all the major decisions – Mum decided which decisions were major. She was a strong but not typical Mother. She believed a parent’s task is to bring up children to know right from wrong, stand up for themselves, and make their own way in the world.
Much of her working life was as NSW Secretary of The Save the Children Fund. For quite a few years she had a number of major projects under her direction, including about 14 Aboriginal pre-schools, a family care centre at Mt Druitt, and extensive nursing projects in Africa and Asia.
She did not let it be simply an office job. Extensive overseas trips saw visits to observe, help and encourage field workers. These trips were at no cost to the Fund.
As her children we know she made a real difference to the lives of many people, many of whom she never met.
SCF was a voluntary, more than full time, position. Her MBE, received from the Queen, was public acknowledgment of her significant contribution.
Giving was one of the major joys of Mum’s life.
She also enjoyed many of the good things of life. She was an excellent Retail Therapist. She felt it was important to support local business. Her global vision allowed her to include Berry, Gerringong, Nowra, Hong Kong, New York and London in her local area.
Mum had a personal faith, and held strong opinions on many of matters of faith. She valued the spiritual home she found at St Luke’s as both a comfort and an inspiration to her.
Mum lived her life in the reckless pursuit of love. It broke her heart when Dad died in 1997. Her grief, as her love, was profound and deep, seemingly insurmountable.
Thomas has been a new focus and masked the pain, always just below the surface. GrandPam was very proud of Thomas and his achievements and was keen to do all that she could to ensure that he maximized his potential.
Mrs B, as she liked to be known by her friends, was an avid reader, and an ample correspondent, and a private woman, She placed a high value on a good reputation.
When we reflect on a persons life, it is often helpful to find the adjectives that belong to a person. Formidable, Dignified, Generous, Eclectic, Kind, Determined, Elegant, Conservative, Passionate, Literate, Organized, Persuasive. Exceptional will have to do for today.
A diamond has many facets, each shows its own brilliance, as a window to the whole. Rock Hard, cutting at times, and many sides of brilliance.
As we farewell Mum today, we are shocked yet grateful for much including
- That she died the way she would have wanted, fast, quick, and shopping.
- she heard the voice of all her children in her last moments
- the care and support of Berry people, especially last Monday
- That her last acts were in the village she loved.
- That she is with Dad.
This was the Eulogy that I delivered at St Luke’s at her funeral. I have included it here, for those looking for a bit more insight. Some of Mum’s writings are both random and eclectic, some seem a little stodgy, and many are deeply motivated by things that deeply moved her in her work with SCF.