Tribute makes Doris’s day
THE lives and accomplishments of residents have been brought into sharp focus by Arcare Hope Island's International Women's Day celebrations honouring Doris Gibbs OAM.
Lifestyle coordinator Allison Ferguson said the aged care facility had marked the day in different ways each year, but decided this year "what better way than to celebrate one of our own?"
"Because, oh my goodness, what these ladies have achieved!" Allison marvelled, adding it was likely to now be an ongoing practice.
Doris, for instance, with late husband Ivan, was a founder of Coomera Anglican College, and student leaders paid tribute to her at Arcare's IWD celebration.
Gold Coast City Councillor William Owen-Jones said Doris had been involved in the area since she and Ivan arrived in the mid-1950s, and had also been founders of Labrador Seniors, Labrador Kindergarten and the original Oxenford Pony Club.
One of the college's sports houses is named after the Gibbses, but that's not all, with Doris last year surprised and honoured by an Oxenford Park street being named Doris Gibbs Crt.
Both Doris and Ivan also have parks named in their honour: Doris Gibbs Park by the river at Marina Pde, Paradise Point, and Ivan Gibbs Wetland Reserve at Beenleigh.
Born in Victoria in 1929, Doris has led a many-faceted adult life as the mother of five, involved in church and charity, Girl Guides, running the family wrecking business, and supporting Ivan through Gold Coast Council and then state politics from 1967-1989.
Ivan had no hesitation in acknowledging the importance of her role, with his election slogan stating "Behind Every Great Man, There's A Doris".
But hers was not just a supporting role, she was also chairman of the National Party's Albert Women's Electorate Council. Those who knew her at the time described her as "cool, calm and collected, unflappable, always in good humour, a great organiser and held in very high esteem by those around her".
"Women influence their children a great deal - their outlook, their behaviour … but if a woman doesn't like staying home, then she should be allowed to work," Doris declared.
And while life has certainly slowed down for Doris since calling Arcare Hope Island home for the past five years, Allison described her as "one of those vivacious residents who is still always doing things with her groups and charities".
She said Doris was known for her "can do" attitude, sense of humour, being ready to burst into song and being in the mix (if not leading) Allison's lifestyle activities.