Humans of the Wheatbelt

Humans of the Wheatbelt is a disability project that celebrates inclusion within the community.

There is always someone in each story that has a disability whether it is the human, interviewer, photographer or writer.

I was born into a business in South Australia, where my parents owned a general store. My mother was born in Melbourne into a Lebanese family and my father migrated from Lebanon.

In the old-fashioned general stores, you could get guns, boots, mattresses and even a little bit of food. Beautiful crockery, cheap crockery, everything. They left some of the supermarkets for dead.

One of the saddest times in my life was when my father died at the age of forty-eight. I had a brother who died at forty-five. Both of them died of heart problems. They worked hard in business and it was very sad that they died so young.

My parents were great businesspeople and very strong physically, but also very soft. As a child, I never knew what a smack or a raised voice was. My parents built everything themselves and they never had a loan in their lives. They lived in a tin shed while they built their shop. My mother had a wonderful work ethic. My family set an amazing example.

I was married in South Australia and I had three children, two girls and a boy. We went up to Tom Price when it first opened in 1968 and did very well up there. I’ve had a varied life and lots of wonderful jobs. I worked for Hamersley Iron in their laboratory, and I worked for the doctors in Tom Price as their receptionist. Then, when the children went to school, I came down to the city where I ran a chocolate shop.

For a while I worked up in Wittenoom. A friend owned the hotel there but they were closing the whole town down. I hadn’t wanted to work up there but I needed the money and I was able to save some.

We were looking to do something and I had about $25,000 to invest. I was fifty-four and I thought ‘this is my last chance and whatever I do has to work.’ One day we were driving along the main street here in York and we saw that this shop was empty. It was very rundown. When we opened Jules Café, we were only going to stay a couple of years, but here we are almost thirty years later. I’m a lucky person, very fortunate.

My happiest moments were the births of my three children. Now one daughter’s fifty-eight, the other is fifty-seven and my son Guy recently turned fifty-five. I’ve never wanted to go overseas as I’ve had such a full life. Nothing overseas could touch the graces of my family. I have ten grandchildren who are the light of my life, and now I have two great-grandchildren. I’d rather be here where they can come and see me all the time.

I’m always opening my mouth and sticking two feet in it. One’s not enough, two go in there. I don’t mind getting old, in fact I love it. I’ve always liked people and I love not criticising people for who they are. I’m a vegan but it’s not about animal welfare for me. One day I just stopped eating meat and I’m passionate about my health. We couldn’t live without farmers. Without them, how are we going to feed the world?

What I love about York is the people. They have been wonderful to us. Last year when I wasn’t well, they were all so concerned and just lovely. The town is very easy to live in. I see some people who aren’t doing so well for themselves, but they’re all surviving. The people in York do all right.

Like everyone I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’m one of those people who likes to climb over the downs. I’ve had some heavy downs, but I’ve had some amazing successes as well.

My advice to the younger generation is just to enjoy yourself. When I was younger, I used to think I’d done the wrong thing because I had such a strong mind of my own and I was very wilful. I was always doing the opposite of what I was told at boarding school and I always had trouble with the nuns. Now, looking back, I was so glad that I had that strength to question people. At least I did it my way and I’m so glad because now I feel satisfied. I’ve done a lot of laughing and I still do.

Human - Jules Brewster
Interviewer - Paula Whittington
Photographer - Tom Gratis Roh
Writer - Guy Salvidge

Humans of the Wheatbelt is a Wheatbelt Health Network project supported by Department of Communities.

Shire of York Jules Cafe York York Community Resource Centre

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The Wheatbelt Health Network offers support including General Practice, Nursing, Mental Health, Allied Health and Visiting Specialists.

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Wheatbelt Health Centre
25 Holtfreter Avenue, Northam
Phone: 08 9621 4444
Open: 8am-6pm Mon – Fri


Alma Beard Medical Centre
81 Stirling Tce, Toodyay
Phone: 08 9578 2500
Open: 8.30am – 5pm Mon – Fri


Aboriginal Health - Northam
65 Wellington Street, Northam
Phone: 08 9690 2824


Aboriginal Health - Narrogin
Williams Road, Narrogin
Phone: 08 9881 0385
Open: 8.30am – 4.30pm Mon – Tues

  • 25 Holtfreter Avenue, Northam

  • 81 Stirling Tce, Toodyay

  • 65 Wellington Street, Northam

  • Williams Road, Narrogin

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