Joy Drescher was in public office across three decades and she’s the only female Mayor the Scenic Rim, and former Beaudesert Shire, has ever had. Her contributions to the community continue to this day.
If you’ve ever been to BAMS Theatre with Joy Drescher in the audience, you’ll know her enthusiastic laughter – and her colourful outfits – can be as much a part of the show as the show itself.
Or if you’ve been on a Beaudesert Historical Society Shepherds Walk, the chances are you’ve been in Joy’s captive audience as she’s recited her original bush poetry.
Joy, 76, is a devotee of local arts and culture. Everything about her, from the way she dresses to every square inch of the walls in her house, is testament to that.
Joy was born in Cunnamulla of 1944, the eldest of 11 kids, and the family lived on outback Queensland stations where her father worked as a stockman.
When Joy went to teacher’s college, she took up smoking on principal because boys were allowed to smoke, and girls weren’t.
Joy never wanted to be a teacher and ended up as a public servant in Canberra – a place she recalls with disgust.
“I had a sore ass the whole time in Canberra from people pinching it or slapping it as I went past. I obviously must have had a very attractive ass, but you do get fed up with it,” she said.
“And of course, the people who did the ass slapping were boys, who got paid more than I did.”
Joy and her first husband, Terry Sheil, drove their Ford Anglia from Roma to Beaudesert on the last day of 1968 and it’s been Joy’s home ever since.
In 1979, when their four kids were at school and kindergarten, Joy was elected to Beaudesert Shire Council, compelled to help create safer walking paths for school children.
She was elected five times, twice as Mayor, until John Brent’s 2008 election, and she was proud to see a majority of women on Council in her final term.
In 1986 Joy became a grandmother, her parents celebrated 45 years of marriage and her husband Terry left while she was out west for the anniversary celebrations.
Joy got a job at the meatworks in 1987, juggling it with Council duties when she was re-elected in 1988, and staying until just before it shut in 1995.
Around this time Joy also got involved with local hall dances, and she still frequents the dances with her husband of 30 years, Doug Drescher.
These days Joy, a self-funded retiree, juggles writing her iconic newspaper columns with countless community commitments and ongoing checks for the cancer she’s been battling since her November 2019 diagnosis.
She said keeping involved in the community helped hold her soul together.
“You’d want to keep busy, or you’d go bonkers,” she said.
“And you’ve got to laugh – some people are such miserable bastards.”