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Nambour’s Knightess in Shining Armour

Located on the corner of James Street and Howard Street in Nambour is a kindy that has long held a special place in the heart of many Nambour families.

by Rebecca Mugridge

Affectionately often referred to as James Street Kindy, the Nambour Community Preschool and Kindergarten has been a place of love and learning for 70 years now and they recently celebrated this

event with their families.

The kindy has held some very special educators and staff over the years, as well as the children, and they now also boast the wonderful addition of a volunteer grandma, Christine Jones, also known as Nana Chris.

Christine is a very special person that has been at the heart of many things in Nambour over the years. And heart is something she has a lot of. Christine gives her time passionately through volunteering at the kindy to spend time with the children.

Often in these modern times grandparents can live a long way away or some children may not have any at all. That connection with the older generation is a special one. It is something that children get so much out of, and something that will stay with them all forever. And Christine, or Chris, loves being a part of the beautiful team of people at the James Street Kindy.

“They are just all really lovely people, salt-of-the-earth people, and the children do have the best experience there. It is wonderful to be a part of it in some way,” Christine said warmly with a smile.

“When the director asked me to be an adopted grandma, the director said there are a lot of kids that don’t have older people in their life,” explained Christine, who was greatly moved at the opportunity to be that for the children.

Christine is an incredible woman with an impressive career and dedication to her community. So much so, she could easily fill a book with her life story. She has been President of the Nambour Chamber of Commerce and an integral part of the Nambour community and, not only does she have so much love to give, she lived a great romance herself with her late husband.

“My first job was a doctor’s receptionist,” Christine remembered fondly.

“That’s where I met my husband, he’d been in New Guinea and had been attacked, so he had to get some work done. We met, and he asked me out. On our first date he leaned closer to me when we had coffee later and I said, ‘I don’t kiss on the first date’ and my friend said, ‘You won’t do any good with her!’ “We were married for 49 years.”

Not long after this he went back to New Guinea, Christine said. And his next move was the epic style romance you see in the movies.

“I was going on a trip overseas to Japan and whatever for Expo 70 and he asked where I was going to be, so I gave him the itinerary and he had a letter waiting for me at every single place.

“Then I was going on a trip with my mother and stepfather the following year and we were over in England and my stepfather had a heart attack. My mother came back through Ireland as she had family there, and I came back through Port Moresby. I said if you really love me you’ll be there.

“And he wasn’t supposed to be there, but he was. And he proposed at Port Moresby airport.”

Christine said they have “two wonderful sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law,and two granddaughters who have given me huge support and love over the years and especially since Noddy died. I will be forever grateful to them."

Christine has also shared some of her big heart and love with the town and people of Nambour over the years.

An early project was the then train station. “We applied to Clean Up Australia to clean up the railway station, we got the PCYC involved, the Chamber of Commerce, school captains and all the kids. And we gave it a good clean up.”

She also started a committee for safety houses, and was on the committee for ten years - she would even get dressed up as a safety house to promote the program!

“At one stage we had some stuff happening in Nambour and I thought, why can’t we get the concept of that, safety houses, and adapt that to businesses? And I called it Nambour Business Safe. They would get a little thing and put it up on their window.

“So, if you are walking up the street and something is going on. Or you feel unsafe, or someone is following you, you know you can go into that business and be safe.”

Christine also once started a Police Beat in Nambour.

“One Saturday I stood down at the Nambour Plaza at the bottom of the escalator and everyone that came through I talked to about getting a police beat in town. That morning I got 1,100 signatures,” she said.

Christine ended up with 3,500 signatures.

“Peter Wellington was in and he had to put it to parliament, which he did and we got an approval through. A letter came that said we could have two new policemen, but no police beat itself. We couldn’t have our own police beat place because the police station was too close and they couldn’t afford it at the time.

“And I thought, that’s not what we asked for, so I wrote back and thanked her for the police and I said but we really need a designated police beat.

“We have the railway station right there and people come and make a nuisance of themselves, and we have the methadone clinic right in town, and vagrancy and we need police to be on the street.

“I sent that off and sent a copy to Peter, and he contacted me back. I was invited to go to Parliament House!

“I was a bit scared as I’d never done that sort of stuff before, but if you believe in what you are doing, I know you will be okay.”

Christine ended up being successful in getting two fully dedicated police for Nambour.

You can’t help but leave a conversation with Christine a little awe struck at the many things she has done and the great dedication she has always had for people and her community. Living life with passion and love and giving back to your community is one of the richest ways we can live, she believes.

According to Christine, the secret to a happy community is simple.

“Get people to appreciate and love where they live. If they love where they live, they look after where they live.”

If any older women out there with some love and time to give are interested in being an adopted grandma at their own kindy, Christine is more than happy to have a chat with them and they can email her:



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