To have a conversation with Liz Avery is to learn something.
It’s not that she professes to be an expert on anything. In fact, she is a self-described ‘dilettante’ – which the Oxford Dictionary defines as, ‘A person who does or studies something but is not serious about it and does not have much knowledge’.
But her observant and intentional, appreciative and articulate way of being in the world spills out to those around her.
Liz, 74, is a self-educated lifelong learner who has always had her nose buried in a book, and she treasures the insights gained through reading.
“The most important thing in life is to think of others, to walk in another’s shoes. People say reading fiction is a waste of time but it’s certainly not, because you learn about the human condition,” she said.
Liz grew up in Murwillumbah – God’s own country – but didn’t appreciate it at the time.
She was born in 1949, the third youngest of seven kids to Richard and Dorothy.
Her big sister Bev, 10 years her senior, remains a dear friend and they exchange ‘Wordle’ word game results every day.
One of Liz’s earliest memories, from when she was four, reflects a lifelong love of gardening.
“One of my favourite smells is rain on hot soil to the point I used to eat the dirt,” she said.
“My mother always gardened, but I garden in an ad hoc way. I see something I like and plonk it in whether or not it’s suitable, so I’ve made a few blunders. There’s lots of weeds but you don’t look at the weeds, do you?”
Liz met Bruce at a CWA function when she was a governess on a sheep station out west.
They were married in Avalon Sydney in 1969, the year man walked on the moon.
“It’s like winning the lottery, because I was only 19 when I met Bruce and what do you know at 19 for goodness sakes?” she said.
The pair moved from Orange, New South Wales, to Beaudesert in 1977 for Bruce’s job at the meatworks, raised daughters Kate and Rosalind here and now love being grandparents to Toby, Ethan, Clara and Grace.
Liz became part of the community through the kids’ activities and worked for respected former local GP Dr Chris Tracey-Patte OAM for nearly 20 years.
She is part of A Choired Taste, Beaudesert’s Christmas Spirit Yarnbombing and the U3A Nordic walking and gardening groups, frequents Beaudesert Library and delivers the Beaudesert Bulletin each fortnight.
She is a bowel cancer survivor and approaches life with matter-of-fact positivity.
“I can’t abide people who say, ‘it’s not fair’. Life wasn’t meant to be fair. It is what it is, and you deal with it. Everybody has challenges, but the blessings far outweigh the challenges.”