Kingaroy's Nola Newman, Greenview's Marian Schultz and Wondai's Alison Iszlaub enjoy a day out in 2011.
Kingaroy's Nola Newman, Greenview's Marian Schultz and Wondai's Alison Iszlaub enjoy a day out in 2011. Louise Cheer

'Go safely now, Alison': Remembering Wondai's first lady

FRIENDS and family had their chance to say their farewells to the former first lady of Wondai this week.

Alison Iszlaub, the wife of former Wondai mayor, the late Percy Iszlaub, passed away peacefully on Wednesday November 14, aged 82 years old.

Her daughter Jane Iszlaub said Alison would always tell them 'Go safely now' whenever the family were leaving after visiting her at Forest View residential care.

"It's now time for us to say, "Go safely now, Alison. What a woman. What a life," she said.

Alison Munro was born in the Camperdown Hospital on March 16, 1936.

She was the youngest of two children to Dave and Beth Munro, and attended Ipswich Girl's Grammar School as a boarder.

"She used to tell us lots of stories of her boarding school life, and when I went off to school she shared tips lie, "When you get a ladder in your stockings, colour it in with a marker so you don't get in trouble with the Housemistress," Jane said.

She received her nursing qualifications at the Royal Brisbane Hospital in 1957, and achieved her Midwifery Certificate at King George V Hospital two years later.

With ambitions of travelling, Alison worked as a nurse for a few years at a wide range of hospitals from Burleigh Heads to Melbourne, before heading overseas in 1963.

She nursed in Germany, Denmark and England, before embarking on a business venture with a friend involving a 36-seat diesel bus full of adventure-seeking Aussies.

The bus set forth across Europe to Afghanistan, India and then to Nepal, where she 'fell into a job' as Matron at a Nepalese hospital.

"Once, she was invited to dinner by a local family, and, as the guest of honour was presented with a sheep's eye which she soon realised she had to eat, lest she insult the family," Jane said.

"She used to say that she swallowed it in a single gulp, and that her throat hurt for days afterwards."

 

Jill Copeland and Alison Iszlaub admiring the artwork on display at the Wondai Art Gallery in November 2012.
Jill Copeland and Alison Iszlaub admiring the artwork on display at the Wondai Art Gallery in November 2012. Rowan Hunnam

Alison returned to Australia and worked as the acting Matron in Wondai, where her parents had chosen to retire.

"It was during this time that she met the dashing young farmer, Percy, on a blind date, set up, I believe by their mutual friend, Gloria Jesberg," Jane said.

Alison and Percy Iszlaub were married on October 18, 1968 and immediately purchased a 240-acre farm at Greenview.

"Although not before mum finished the laborious task of sewing hundreds of fabric daisies on her dress the night before due to her dressmaker's sudden illness," Jane said.

The family will miss her warm welcomes and offers of a cup of tea or glass of wine, to anyone who came to visit.

"I will miss odd things such as her Chicken in White Sauce and her incredibly sinful, yet so delicious, Banana Fritters, both of which she could whip up out of thin air," Jane said.

"I will always remember her formal dinners with perfectly set tables, the massive BBQ parties out at the farm, the people who would drip in for a quick coffee and who would end up staying for dinner."

Alison will always be remembered by her children Leigh and Jane, her grandchildren Harry, Wilson and Eliza and her brother Graham Munro.

Grandson Wilson said he will miss how much his grandmother loved the family.

"Even though she had dementia she never forgot any of us and never did what most people do -call me Harry," he said.

Grandchildren Harry and Eliza said they will treasure the memories of bowls of ice-cream and the stories shared over snacks.

"I will miss the fact that she always had the power to make people laugh, and best of all, be able to make treats and snacks out of thin air," Eliza said.

Alison's husband Percy passed away in February this year, but as the former mayor and first lady, they both shared a love for community.

"She told us towns need people, and people need the arts for their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing," Jane said.

"The Arts connect people, give them self-esteem, help them to express their feelings. If a town does not have creativity, it has no soul."

Friends and family celebrated Alison's life at St Mary's Anglican Church today.

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