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’m involved with the Wangaree Community Centre here in Lancelin, which opened in 2014. The name for this centre, Wangaree, is the original name for Lancelin, which means ‘land of the fishes.’

I’ve been in the area for a long time. My husband and I had a house in Lancelin for thirty-seven years, which was originally a beach house, our main business was in Midland Barry ran a similar business in Lancelin repairing electronic equipment, installing TV antenna and Satellite electronic devices. The Business in Midland was sold and I moved to Lancelin full time my husband passed away twelve months ago.

I’ve been a shire councillor for eight years and I’ve just been re-elected for another four. That will take me to nearly eighty, but as my daughter says, you can be president of the United States at eighty! I’m the deputy to the State Council and Vice-Chair of the Avon-Midland Zone. I’m on a lot of local government committeesincluding just been appointed to the Off Road Vehicle Committee a ministerial appointment.

Also a WALGA committee to investigate a MOU with WACH I hope this will improve the amount of health services across the Wheat belt shortages of Service providers, GPs, Allied Heath Mental Health, Chronic Disease looking after the aged who wish to staying their own homes .

One of the things about no longer being on State Council for the WA Local Government Association is that I’m not up and down for meetings all the time. That’s partly about having a bit of time for me. I’ve got really close links with the community and people feel that they can trust me.

When the National Disability Insurance Scheme came in, there weren’t enough people here to assist people with their claims. It’s about pointing them in the right direction and listening to them. All it takes is the patience to work with people for an hour or so. It shouldn’t really be up to me as I’m retired, but what can you do? People ring you up and so you help them. I’m also a Justice of the Peace for the local area.

Before I got involved in Local government, I spent three months of the year in Broome working with Indigenous women. At the time I was deputy Chair of CYO, O’Connor Tafe I worked with the TAFE in Broome to implement services in the Aboriginal space. They had everything—a silk screening section, fashion design, dieticians coming in. I’ve always been passionate about the arts and I’ve dabbled in textiles and embroidery.

I’ve always wanted to support the local community. I think it stems from my parents and grandparents. When I first came to Lancelin, I thought ‘now what am I going to do?’ I was packing crayfish for export, which is actually quite interesting. At that time the Shire was trying to encourage a ‘healthy community’ perspective, so I was asked to get involved with that.

Then I was employed by Western Health to set up community care services across the shires of Gingin, Chittering and Victoria Plains. I was based in an office in Gingin and I had really good community support. I did that for about ten years and I really got to know the health system and to go after things.

It doesn’t matter about skin colour or race; you have to be inclusive as a community. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a wheelchair, it doesn’t matter if you can’t really speak, there are ways around it. I think for me it’s about understanding and being a little bit passionate about what you do.

I have three children, two girls and a boy, and they’ve all done exceptionally well in life.
Having completed their Primary School in Darlington bring very active lee in community l playing chess, music, arts sport going on to completer University degrees and gaining PHDs all have employment at the corporate level I am very proud of them. I have 3 grandchildren; two grandsons and a granddaughter.

I had a serious heart condition for many years and it took the doctors a long time to work out what was wrong. When they were having trouble diagnosing the issue, the doctors said I’d end up having to have a transplant. In January of 2014 they put me on the transplant list. I was very close to dying, but I was lucky enough to get a new heart in the April of that year.

I’m the oldest person to have had a heart transplant you get a badge I am number 151 as usually they don’t like doing it to people over seventy. But I was very healthy other than my heart condition, so we went for it.

After the transplant, I was very sick. I had to learn to walk again and even, strange as it sounds, to talk again. I was in hospital for nine weeks.

The legislation here in WA doesn’t allow you to know who the donor is, but you can write a letter to the donor family without identifying yourself. Eighteen months after the transplant, I attended a tree planting day with all the donor families and recipients. When we walked out, there was this lovely donor family and they were really grateful to know how a heart transplant recipient felt. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t feel grateful to be alive. I just want to see my grandchildren grow up—they are an absolute delight.

My advice for young people today is to have a dream, to be independent and to really chase that dream. Just be passionate in your work. my eldest daughter had the artistic ability and the love of gardening which found expression in her work in the landscaping business currently Head of the Architecture Adelaide University. Don’t be deterred if you don’t get what you want first up. Just keep trying.

Human - Jan Court
Interviewers - Harry Randhawa & Anna Cornish
Photographer - Anna Cornish
Writer - Guy Salvidge

Shire of Gingin Central Regional TAFE The University of Adelaide Transplant Australia W.A. Heart Foundation Western Health NDIS National Disability Insurance Scheme Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Wheatbelt Lancilin Lancilin Caravan Park Wangaree Community Centre Wangaree Park, Lancelin

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

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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

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


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


Wundowie Health Centre
GP Services
283 Boronia Ave, Wundowie
Phone: 08 9621 4444
Open: 8.30am – 4pm Wednesdays


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

After hours medical assistance: In an emergency call 000 or present to your nearest Regional Hospital emergency department. If you have a non- emergency and would like to consult with a GP then call Telstra Health on 1800 225 523. The service is free to access for Australian residents who reside in the wheatbelt or who are temporarily residing in the Wheatbelt. This service can be accessed before 8am and after 6pm Monday-Friday, before 8am and after 12pm Saturday and all day Sunday and any Public Holidays. Thank you to Western Australia Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) for funding this service.

  • 25 Holtfreter Avenue, Northam

  • 81 Stirling Tce, Toodyay

  • 65 Wellington Street, Northam

  • Williams Road, Narrogin

  • 283 Boronia Ave, Wundowie

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