Joan Althea Maughan (nee Henderson)
Joan Althea Maughan (nee Henderson)

Remembering Joan Maughan

JOAN Althea Maughan (nee Henderson) was born in Sydney on March 21, 1924, to Jessie and Jack Henderson.

She was the youngest of four with brothers Jack, Bill and Jeff all now deceased.

Joan's father was head builder for the Granger construction Company and the family came to the north coast when the company was contracted to build the Norco factories.

Her early years were spent on a small farm at Repentance Creek before the family moved to Lismore where her father was supervising the construction of the new Foley Brothers and Norco factories.

In 1939 the family moved to Seaview St, Byron Bay. At the outbreak of the Second World War Joan joined the Woman's Voluntary Aid Detachment (VADs).

In 1944 Joan married Brian Maughan and over the next 12 years the couple had four children, Frank, Donald, Ken and Kay.

In the 1952 the family bought Riley's Bakery on Johnson St and the family moved to the house behind the bakery.

Around 1966 they sold the business but continued to live in Jonson St until 1978 when they moved to the top end of Marvel St.

The couple were involved in the surf club and Joan was one of the founding members of the Byron Bay Surf Club's Women's Auxiliary.

When the Byron Bay Golf Club was being built during the 1950's Joan and her brother Jack were on the working committee and she continued her involvement becoming club captain for five years straight.

During the 1960s Joan and Brian were part of the community drive to build a swimming pool.

By 1976 Joan had become very involved in community work joining the United Hospital Auxiliary (UHA) working with them for the next 34 years. She was president of the UHA for eight of those years.

In 2010 she was honoured with Life Membership of the UHA of New South Wales.

In 1977 at the age of 53 Joan was elected onto the Byron Shire council and was involved in establishing the original public library, the Save the Goats on the Light House Hill campaign and the development of the Pacific Vista Estate.

In 1982 Joan was voted Woman of the Year, but it was also a tough time with her brother Jack dying of cancer followed two weeks later by her husband Brian who died suddenly from a stroke.

After winning the award, her son Donald remembers her saying, "Now that I have got this award I had better start earning it."

And earn it she did. By 1984 at the age of 60 she was president of the Hospital Auxiliary, chairperson of the Housing Committee, president of the Laurel Club, co-ordinator of the George Feros Nursing Home, member of the Historical Society committee and member of the Centenary Committee.

In addition she became bowling club captain and committee member and president and regional committee member of St Vincent De Paul.

"My mother loved Byron Bay and she not only talked the talk she also walked the walk when it came to serving her community," said Mr Maughan.

"She was an inspirational figure, her attitude alway was - if you live in a community you take part and work for the community as you can and where you can."

Joan Maughan spent the final two years of her life at the RSL Life Care facility in Suffolk Park, passing away on July 6, 2015.

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