Shirley: Touching so many lives

A life well lived: Shirley Phyllis Hayward touched the lives of many in the Collie community and will be greatly missed. Photo: Supplied.

A life well lived: Shirley Phyllis Hayward touched the lives of many in the Collie community and will be greatly missed. Photo: Supplied.

Shirley Phyllis Hayward - Born Narrogin, 8/6/1941; Died Collie 7/3/2020

Shirley Hayward was born in age where formal education for girls was considered of little importance; and for a Noongar girl, even less so. She received little formal education, yet she went on to have a major influence on dozens of indigenous lives.

Shirley was a recognised elder who performed Welcome to Country, was involved with the Catholic Education Aboriginal Commission, Ngalang Boodja Council, South West Land and Sea Council, and the Employment Strategy for Griffin Coal and Boddington Mine.

She received an excellence award from the Catholic Education Commission of WA, and was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation in 2009 for her commitment to Indigenous Women's Interests with the Indigenous Women's Congress

Shirley had the opportunity to see the Queen at WA Parliament House, and in 2001, received a Centenary of Federation medal for her contribution to indigenous welfare. With her husband, Norman, she fostered 85 children.

Shirley was born at Narrogin, the 10th child of 14 born to Jack and Ida Michael.

She shared an enjoyable childhood with her brothers and sisters in Dryanda, helping her father clear and burn the land, going rabbit trapping with her mother, and going wool picking.

The family would go into town in Katanning once a month, and it was there she met her future husband, Norm, who would "dinky" her home on his bike. They married on May 31, 1958, in a small ceremony in Narrogin, and went on to spend 61 years together.

They first lived in Katanning, and then moved to Kalgoorlie for Norm's work, staying 10 years.

In 1972, they moved to Collie, where they made their permanent home with their two children, Gregory and Merika.

Shirley worked at the Welfare office in Collie for 13 years, then became a foster parent. The Haywards moved to a group home in Rowe Street, set on a couple of acres with the river down the back and room for horses and fruit trees. It was a wonderful place for children, and many happy memories were made in the 14 years they spent in that safe haven for 85 foster children.

Shirley loved her church and enjoyed going to Sunday mass with her children and foster children. She formed a special bond with the Sisters of the church, especially Sister Bertha. Together, they started helping children and families with Christmas presents, at a small gathering. Over the years, this grew into a huge event in Collie, known as Sister Bertha's Christmas party, where families and children in need came to have a party and receive presents. Shirley and Sister Bertha would fundraise for the event by going around Collie pubs on a Friday night selling raffle tickets.

She loved playing darts for the Colliefields and the Federal, and won many trophies. She enjoyed camping and catching marron, crabbing and fishing, and loved travelling.

Read the full story at col liemail.com.au.