Anne ― A story of an Independent Lady ―

Anne A story of an Independent Lady

    *この聴き書きは「アン 〜なんでも自分で〜」の英語版です。

   Anne Margaret Halloran

Regional Cooperation and Integration
     The Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

     The Democratic Republic of East Timor

                         Kikigakist: Shimizu Masako

Born in New South Wales, Australia

ann1.jpg I was born in a town called  ” Wagga Wagga”  in New South Wales, Australia.

 I have been there until 16.  Now it is quite a large town, but when I was born it was rather a small place.  It’s a ruralcenter for a farming area in the south of New South Wales.  I suppose it would have been warmer than it would be in present Southern part where I live now. As for the climate, relatively mild in my memory but was very dry and with strong and dusty wind.  “Dust storm” was the strongest in my memory.  And I was quite young in those days.

The teachers’Family,indeed

 When I was very young, I realized that I came from a family of school teachers. As my parents were teachers and my father was the Principal 5 of 5 schools. Two of my sisters were teachers and myyoungest sister was a nurse.

 When it was a time that girls go in a few years before you leave schools and get married and having her family, most common career was teaching or nursing. But nursing was not interest for me. So I became a teacher.

 I started as a teacher’s assistant after graduating from school and before going to teachers training. school, I taught even Latin and French.

  When I started to teach at school, I taught every subject, because it was a very
small school with only two teachers and thirty students.  And occasionally we were called up to teach something else because there was a shortage in teachers.

 Later on I have been teaching at a school where I specialized in teaching English, History and Geography.

Choose what is better for you

Began to teach in New South Wales, and for around 5-6 years then went down to settle in Victoria, South of Australia.  I’d taken a holiday and I stayed.  I didn’t ever go back to live in New South Wales.
 I did not actually get married. I have chosen not to get married but I got one child.

 Plainly not, it was not something like community approved of, but it was what a matter to do, and I haven’t worried about it. Then I have chosen never to marry.

I did have relationships with this man for a very long time, but I didn’t want to have children further.  Sometimes it’s a problem.  I was very happy to have my son of course, but I sometimes say it was perfectly right for the first time. I didn’t have to do it again.  Since then I had no correspondence with the father of my son.

Wonderful days of teaching

 So teaching was my first career. Officially I started in 1959. And I did that until 1982. It’s a long time.  Now I meet some of my students with their children going to the same school where I last taught.

 Even in this country, I met one of students I taught.  I haven’t seen her since she was my student when she was fifteen. But we remembered each other again soon. We have become friends here. And while working she obtained Ph.D. and became the manager.

 I occasionally run into people who say ” I know you somewhere, right?.”  One of my students.

Yes, I am proud of my teaching experience and also students. They become friendly when we meet, and most of them are very very amazing women. I thought it was nice for my career having taught in girls school, so I didn’t want to teach in boys’.

To the new work at the public sector

I left teaching in 1982.  At that time my son was finishing.  As he was in his last stage at school, I thought I better let him give more freedom as far as time was concerned, I didn’t need to be around so much.  He was grown up and was going to leave town to go to University anyway.  I planned to change careers but didn’t quite know what I wanted to do.

For a while, I just worked in a quite different position from what I did while teaching and then I got into a public sector related.  I joined Victorian public service in May of 1983 and began working.

When I changed my work, I was so fortunate that things happened for me. The position became available that I applied for, and I began working in the industrial relations. That was a very good career step for me, as it gave me the knowledge that helped me go to the next stage of my career.

In 1999 I was invited by one of major hospitals in Victoria to apply to be the industrial relations manager at that hospital.That was my next career step.

As the hospital was still very closely linked with public service in Victoria, those
works gave me the range of very good context of public sector services, that’s very helpful.

 I dare say, you must be ambitious about to rise up, for your career. It is important not to be too cautious, just try. Leave it to God--That is my thinking of try.  If it doesn’t work at doing this, do something else.

My happy days of working

For the rest of my working life ---I left the hospital with the 10 years working in the field of industrial laws and industrial relations. Then I worked for the Catholic schools in Victoria that looked for the person in charge of human resources.

It was like a consultancy or advisory service for the Catholic schools for human resources functions.  Because they had small resources department,  I virtually worked for different systems to assist them about social functions.

And it involved lots of wonderful travel to every part of Victoria!  I was very happy to work with such a lot of travelling opportunities. The travel to the parts of Victoria that otherwise I would not have opportunity to visit.   It was interesting, very interesting work with people---with very interesting people, more than that, I could have  touring!

Trip –My favorite thing–

One of the other things along with the line is a passion of travelling to Europe.

I went to Europe for the first time with another teacher. She was a German teacher and we went to Switzerland for 3 weeks of study and 3 weeks of travel in Europe during  the long school holidays. We enjoyed what-do-you-call-it “home stay” there for 3 weeks and went to school with the family we stayed. We did that twice, in 1973 and in 1975. For me, that was the beginning of my travel, after that now I really in love with Europe.

My impression of the travel was that no much difference were in between countries. People, the individual people is the same, but they have own culture. Indeed cosmopolitan. Now I think my favorite place in the world is Italy, I really
like to go as far as I can, but there’s problem of money!

My son and I

ann3.jpgWhen my son was 16, I took him out of school and went to Europe and travelled for 3 months, in what they call “back packing” style.

I wanted to show him Europe through my eyes. And for me, there was great interest inhistory, the Roman and Greek history. We were fortunate to spend a lot of time visiting to various historical remains and works in terms of the Roman history in Italy and also in Greece.  Again a lot of the cultural background and history bases where we derived from. Again some understanding in an appreci- ation of that time.

My son is now in an occupation of health and safety manager, and up the current time his contract is with the Shell Oil Refinery in Geelong in Victoria. So he didn’t go into European culture. He went to something much more practical related.

Working in Timor Leste

ann4.jpgI came here for my first visit to see my niece in 2004 for  a holiday for a couple of weeks.  I just, I felt that I had a connection with people here that so nice.

They were so friendly welcoming and I really enjoyed my time here.

As I decided that when I retired, I would be volunteer somewhere for a while. In this term, I have been considering having discussion with a lawyer I knew who had been in Malawi.  And I knew another young lady who had been in India as a volunteer. They both talked to me the wonderful experiences they had had.

After my visit here I sought an opportunity and contacted with AVI: Australian Volunteers International.  And when I was asked for, in an interview I indicated that I’m particularly interested in Timor Leste and I was offered this position which was supposed to have started in 2006.

But a lot of trouble occurred at that time in this country. So they had to take all the volunteers out of the country. So my assignment was cancelled indefinitely at that time.

Then I was invited by a hospital that I worked previously to go back and they wanted me to stay on, but I didn’t want to. 

When the time came again, I came up here in 2008 and started my assignment with the National Society of the Red Cross for 18 months.

In February of 2011, I came again to Timor Leste to work as an advisor at Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

International society was very close---that was of my impression born in working with amazing people. 


 Everybody from the secretary general down through every level of staffs is just wonderful. I learned so much from them. It was like a part of large family.

If I study further

ann5.jpg If I study now--- well I have thought I would have to do something when I retire.

I have a thought of study. Not though I am a religious person but I am interested in other peoples’ religious thinking. And I have thought about studying Theology.

 Because it was just interesting for me why some people are deeply religious and others are anti-religious. Some people take a way to extremist at (what I think is) the negative way because of the religious believes. 

 I don’t understand why these --- the religious believes can make people act or think as they lead. So sometimes I think to try studying.

Theology, Philosophy and the mix. I might understand some of those things that multi-life people to live for.

Some people have a comfortable conversation with you without trying to convince you or to make you believe like all the people. Sometimes some people take very desperate methods to make others like a sort of violence, if you say, absolutely fanaticism. 

Therefore, sometimes I think when I retire, I might just to satisfy my curiosity, study Theology, Philosophy or combination to understand why people have no religious for this place or have religious for that place. But probably it’s impossible.

The fear of losing memory?  Forget it  

 As the brain is still working, we should keep it busy.

People sometimes are afraid of forgetting names or loosing things. But we have done it all our lives, only when we get older, we began to wonder if it is because of you are losing a memory.  Yet probably during all your life you are losing things already.  

You know I used to worry because I can’t remember people’s names.   I would always remember your face to see you again, but probably have no idea about what is your name.

In this term, it’s good when you work in an organization. As I returned to work in the hospital, there were still people there from 20 years before.  I recognized the faces but no names.  Fortunately they wear all name tag so you never have to ask anybody the name. It’s very good. It’s very handy. So I may wish that all the people in the world do have the name tattooed in their forehead.

Elders in Australia

What is happening in Australia recent years although there is a retirement age which, I think upper age of 65, people are now encouraged to stay on at work. There is no limit. You can stay on after that age. 

 I think it’s an appreciation of the facts that people with more ages at work have lot of experiences that would be shared with younger ages from different view.  So you get the balance of younger view and older view.

And more and more, now you see older people staying on, not necessarily full time at work, but working 2 or 3 days a week or some other each day. That’s
quite common thing in Australia now.

About the Role of Elders at home

I had three sisters so the family were six. But many families then had six or
more children. Today an average family has two children, different from a woman
in the past who would have children to look after for quite a long time. Two children only leads to very very few grand-children. Compared with a big family or a big extended family, now is very much smaller, and for older generation less things to do.

I myself didn’t look after my grand-children so well. For more than day or two in the weekend, I took care of them for their parent taking a break.  I have to say two was plenty. I wouldn’t have an energy to look after more than two.  And by the end of the week end I would be exhausted. 

Now that my grand-daughters are teenagers, we spend time with, during a school year and most of the week end, when I am back in Australia.  As they are studying or doing researches for their homework, they are very quiet.  It’s lovely to see them at my home, lovely to visit them.

Now I am very fortunate that my niece and her husband and their children are here. One is 5 and the other is 3.  And just they lovely. This is very good timing
to come near- by, and this is another reason to continue staying here.

I’m not good at asking for help

 I think the Australian travel more by car than by train/airplane and so do I. For
example, to go to the Northern city of Sydney which is the capital city of New south Wales from Melbourne, it’s about ten hours driving time, but one hour in a plane. I prefer driving to taking a plane, because I like to have a long travel.

If an accident happened?  I would try myself to solve it. I would like to be able to do myself. I’m very independent.   I’m not good at asking for help.

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