The purpose of our First Friday Friendship group is to provide a friendly environment for friends to meet, enjoy conversation and company over tea or coffee, and to share information and news.

Each first Friday of the month we meet in the BUC Coffee Lounge at 1p and there is an interest spot followed by a time of sharing.

Anyone who would like to enjoy meeting with friends and acquaintances over afternoon tea is welcome. We have men and women from both the local and the church community (most are 60+ up to 90 years young).

Scones, jam and cream are provided and we have lots of fun with everyone taking part in setting up and then tidying afterwards.

Friendship, sharing and caring is what it’s all about.

Feel free to just come along and join in or contact Mary Thomas for more information.


Jessie Brown – a strong woman and a living legacy

For those of you that missed last Friday Friends, Dennis Chamberlain CEO of Kalyra spoke about the history of Jessie Brown which is not well known, yet there are landmarks all round the district from Kindergarten to Aged Care and also the streets in Belair named after trustees of her estate.  Mary Thomas has kindly offered her notes from the session as follows and also a book has been donated to the church library.

Jessie Brown was Jessie Wadells and hailed from Scotland. She married young aged 16 to a widower Mr Craigie also a Scot who had 2 surviving sons and so she stepped into a ready-made instant family of 2 stepsons.  At 18 she had a baby to Mr Craigie – another boy.

She remained in Adelaide with a baby son and young stepson when Craigie and his eldest son went to Hong Kong and left Jessie to wear the brunt of her husband’s poor business management.  Jessie followed her husband to Hong Kong with the children only to learn that Mr Craigie had died whilst she was sailing to be with him.  She also had to deal with the loss of her young son.

Jessie returned to Adelaide and settled back with her family Wadell at Mount Barker.  Eventually in her 30s she married another Scot, James Brown, a pastoralist who had land holdings on the Fleurieu Peninsula and the South East.  James died and left Jessie a widow again at age 64 and very wealthy.

Jessie died aged 66.  Her will reflected her determination and strong character as she did not leave any monies to males.  Instead the bulk of her estate was left in Trust in memory of her husband James Brown. Six (6) trustees administered the trust – familiar names were Adamson and Catherine Spence.

122 years later her will is still being enacted to provide good deeds for folk less fortunate.  The first land for the good of others was Estcourt House at Tennyson and then Kalyra for TB sufferers.  Kalyra means heath or shrubby undergrowth but now is a brand as a quality care for older people.  It is diverse with established aged care at Belair, McLaren Vale and Woodcroft.

Affordable housing for disadvantaged people has been another arm of the James Brown Trust.  The nearest is at Clovelly Park and is known as James and Jessie Brown cottages.  They are fully furnished 1 bedroom housing available to folk with no home at a low cost.  Duncan Norris coordinates this part of the James Brown Trust.

There are also respite and hospice facilities but now these have changed to accommodate government regulations.  With the closure of the hospital, the trustees with vision then developed the site to be what it is today a retirement village and also high care help.

Home care is available to Adelaide and Hills to keep the elderly at home.  It is means tested to allow people to have dignity in receiving care.

Community services are based at Belair and the services are tailored to persons needs from medications to meals to laundry.

Jessie Brown kindergarten was established on land from the trust on land donated by the Jessie Brown Trust.

Hospice is less visible as the aged care services improve and this level of care is available in all good aged care services.  Hospice is state funded while Aged care is federally funded.

(Notes taken by Mary Thomas during the FFF meeting of Friday, 6th March, 2015)