Dot Hyland’s kind, alert and efficient manner tells the tale of a woman who has never been short of things to do but has always had time for the people around her.
The lifelong local, who was born at Beaudesert Hospital in 1943, spent the first 77 years of her life on Eaglesfield Street.
“Mum and dad lived at the top of the hill and when Ray and I got engaged, we bought a block at the bottom of the hill and Ray built our house there in the early 1960s,” she said.
“We met when Ray was the local taxi driver and I worked at Woolworths variety store, where Jenny’s Western is now, then he went to Energex for 39 years, going from linesman to design officer.”
Dot got her first job when she was 14.
“I worked where Reinke’s store was just down from the school – it was called Schmidt’s,” she said.
“I was the second eldest of eight children. We never looked for a job – when we turned 14 or 15 the people of Beaudesert, whoever owned a shop, would come see mum and dad about who was ready to work.”
Dot was a stay-at-home mum to her four kids for several years, volunteering as a leader with the Brownies and Girl Guides and taking the kids to sport.
When the kids grew up, she worked at Mather’s Shoes on Telemon Street until they shut, then managed Boots and All in the Coles complex until her retirement.
Love has underpinned Dot and Ray’s community contributions over the years.
When they retired, they volunteered at the Blue Light Disco together and would do the midnight to 6am Driver Reviver shift.
Dot served as a liturgical assistant at St Thomas’ Anglican Church for 25 years, convened the debutante balls for 14 years and was on the Anglican Ladies Guild.
She volunteered with Meals on Wheels and the Beaudesert Hospital canteen and remains part of Beaudesert Bowls Club and Beaudesert Probus.
Dot has been Ray’s full-time carer since he experienced a stroke on Anzac Day, 2020.
“Ray was in Logan Hospital for three months and eventually we had to leave our home, which was hard because we’d been there for 58 years,” she said.
“It was a big adjustment, he was always such an active man, with the pistol club for 30-odd years, 16 years as a voluntary policeman and serving as a JP in town. We led a busy life.
“But this is the new normal for us, and the people here (at Elysium Village) are wonderful.”
Dot said the most defining part of her life had been raising their four children and getting to know their 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.