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Jill Morgan

Interviewee: Jill Morgan, born 1940

Interviewer: Frank Heimans,
            for Baulkham Hills Shire Council

Date of Interview: 24 Aug 2001

Transcription: Catherine Sapir, May, 2006

 

Formerly the Assistant Principal at Matthew Pearce School, Jill Morgan retired in 1995 and took up community work, but her interests in volunteering might have started earlier than that.

I was thinking the other day Iíve always been a bit of a helper. I did a course once, through the Church, and they found out that I had a very compassionate nature and a caring nature and I would be ideally suited for a job as a helper. I felt when I retired, because Iíve worked most of my life Ė 36 years Ė I am not a home body and I like people, so I thought Iíve got to do something and I love old people, so I thought I would do something with old people. There are two things that appealed to me. One was the medical equipment pool and one was One to One volunteering. One to One volunteering then was a very small group of only about 3 or 4 people in it and the woman from Community Aid then, her name was Annette, she asked me would I like to take over organising it and being the Co-ordinator. I am a very organised person, having taught for all those years and organise teachers and time tables and children and concerts, so that suited me. I took it on and that was in 1996.

There were about 14 of us, including one man, and we visit people in their homes who are isolated or lonely. There are so many people out there we donít know of and who donít know of us. There are lots of old ladies and old men who are home with their families. Their children go to work all day and they are home all day with the dog or theyíre just there. Some of them are in little flats and they are very, very lonely. They canít get out. A lot of them have got arthritis or osteoarthritis or on walking sticks. Some canít see very well, some canít hear and theyíre lonely. I had two ladies, actually I havenít now because both of them have just died but I had Edna and May and I would see Edna one week and ring the next week and see May one week and ring the next week, so I was visiting weekly, but a different person. Pat took me over, Pat Broadbent, who had Respite, and introduced me to Edna and we were both Aries. Her birthday was April the 17th, mine is April 11th so we understood one another because weíre very big on stars and she is the most delightful lady. She had some wonderful stories how she and Joe bought their first house at Mascot and then they built this house on sand, so I used to go and see Edna and we would talk and talk and talk and sheíd bring out the photos and I knew about her sister and about her brother so I considered myself a friend of Ednaís. She wasnít very well though and sometimes she would be in terrible pain because she had really bad arthritis. A couple of times when she would get a bit down I would take her up to North Rocks and we would walk around the shops and have a cup of tea but mostly Iíd go and sit. Weíd have lunch together, so I became part of Ednaís family. Then one morning Susan, her granddaughter, rang me at 8 0íclock, and just said Jill, Nanís just died. She was 88.

One to One volunteers have a meeting every month. Itís only an informal meeting but I sort of Chair that and itís really good actually because we talk about our clients and if one of them has died itís really good to talk about that person and one of our girls was very upset when her lady died. She didn't want anyone for a long time although she has now got a new lady, but you can get very attached.

Now May was your second person. Tell me about May.

May is incredible, absolutely incredible. May was born in North Parramatta in 1901. She worked for the Commonwealth Bank in Martin Place. At one stage she was at the Bank at Newtown and they used to have their monthly balances, and it was, she was as clever as clever, all done in figures with pencils, no computers - and she loved her job. May worked until she was well in her 30ís. She married Ron and they built a house at Castle Hill. They had orchards, they had all sorts of fruit and May bottled and cooked.

Hills Community Medical Equipment at Building 18 Balcombe Heights 2006
They didnít have any children. May had moved and built another house with Ron and then Ron died about 20 years ago. He had cancer. I started to visit May. I found it hard at first because she was old but she liked me. She said I like you, you can stay. She could hardly see. She burnt down the kitchen once I believe, before my time, but because she was really lonely and there was another girl who started One to One called Beryce. So Beryce who lived down the street started to visit May too, so May had Beryce and Jill.

Jill you have got a fairly big commitment too with the medical equipment pool. Could you tell me what that is about and what you actually do there?

Oh yes, Iím quite passionate about the medical equipment pool. Itís just a wonderful, wonderful service. Mostly people come in after hip or knee replacements and I know straight away now to say if you want a shower stool or a shower chair, a raised toilet seat, do you need a picker upper, a toilet surround, what about a walking frame so Iím getting very competent at that. The Council gives us $500 a year. We buy all our equipment. We do everything ourselves and weíre very reasonable.

What has the response been by the people who are using the service?

Oh, they think weíre wonderful. People come back and then they tell people and theyíre thrilled.

How important do you think the volunteer movement is in the Baulkham Hills shire?

Ah look, itís very important. There are so many volunteers. Every year Community Aid has an Annual General Meeting and I give a report on One to One and a person from the Red Cross, all the volunteers that teach at Leisure Learning, Meals on Wheels, people who drive people to the doctors, transport, friendship groups, hundreds of areas of volunteering out there.

 

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