In this issue we put a spotlight on Jamieson House resident, Iris Campbell, who recently marked her 98th birthday. Her daughter, Leonie Campbell gives us an insight into Iris’ interesting life thus far:
Iris Campbell was born on 30 September 1918 (while WWI still raged) to Sarah Alice and Alexander Morrison. She was an only child, brought up by her parents and her father’s identical twin brother who lived with them for the first 10 years of her life. Iris considered him like a second father. Like most people at the time, they rented homes and moved over 20 times around the Strathfield, Concord and Concord West areas of Sydney. In her mid-teens the family purchased a house – they were reportedly one of the first to do so in Concord West.
Iris first met her future husband, Colin Campbell, while they were children. Their houses were located directly behind each other. Iris remembers seeing him on the train to school when she qualified for the selective school, Fort Street High School. Being in high school during the depression meant that money was very tight; girls were offered three choices of career on leaving school – nursing, teaching or office work. Iris chose office work and was employed by EF Wilkes &Co, a white goods company in Castlereagh St, Sydney. Iris rose to become Head of the Commission Department, in charge of two younger female employees.
When WWII broke out, Colin volunteered in the Navy where he did electrical work, and then later finished his studies to become an electrical engineer; he was responsible for setting the compass on the Tribal Class destroyer, HMAS Arunta. Hearing he was about to be deployed, Iris and Colin quickly married on 4 December 1941, and had a three-day honeymoon at Katoomba. Colin had joined to fight at Pearl Harbour and later joined with the American forces. After the war they bought a block of land. Iris then started her long-time interest in drawing plans for houses. She actually designed and lived in three houses which were built to her specifications. All three houses are still standing today.
Iris and Colin had two children, Lindsay and Leonie and two granddaughters, Heather and Fiona. Iris came to Jamieson House in October 2012, as she needed more care. She is settled in her new home where she enjoys taking part in activities including listening to the piano and singing along to old war songs. Iris celebrated her 98th birthday last month with her family, carers, and fellow residents and is very grateful for the kind and caring people who look after her at Jamieson House.