Janelle was born into a loving family in Canberra. As the only daughter, with older brothers Colin and Ian, Janelle had a happy childhood. She was close to her mother, Dorothy and much loved by her father, John, who was a tall man delighted to have a little daughter.
As Janelle grew, her older brothers watched out for her and involved her in their games, particularly on the front verandah of their home. On many occasions when playing with a ball, the ball would eventually find its way down the driveway. When this happened Janelle would scream out and her brothers would drop what they were doing to run after the ball, sometimes with success!
Janelle grew up playing sports and developed a lovely singing voice at the Canberra City Uniting Church and as a member of the Woden Valley Youth Choir. She attended local primary and secondary schools, then began her tertiary education at the Canberra College of Advanced Education, now the University of Canberra.
As well as singing at the church, Janelle came to take an interest in its children, following in the footsteps of her mother, who sent birthday cards to children baptised there, and of her Auntie Gwen, who spent many years looking after the babies and toddlers in the kindergarten on Sundays. Janelle also assisted in the Junior Church, then later ran a Children’s Club for the primary school aged children on Friday evenings.
Teaching was an obvious career choice for Janelle. In 1988 she moved to Brisbane for a new approach to studying for her diploma in Primary Teaching with a focus on the Deaf. Janelle had a difficult first two years at school but with the help of her Supervisor she became very professional and wanted to excel in all that she did. She created special programs for deaf children, organised a youth group for after school activities and conducted the “deaf choir” at the local shows. As a result of her good skills and innovation, she was nominated for a special national teaching award and won that nomination. She was presented with the certificate in Adelaide.
As Janelle’s health began to decline, she always retained her sharp and organised mind. With the help of a dear friend, Janelle designed and made her own cotton clothes as these helped reduce her sensitivities to synthetic fabrics. Even when using her hands became difficult, Janelle never lost the ability to write with a really neat hand, which took incredible effort, but which must have been so easy to read by those that received her cards.
Janelle was fortunate to enjoy the next generation in her family. When her brother Ian and his wife Elizabeth had Ewan, Liam and Eilis, two sons and a daughter, as in her own family, she became a proud and devoted aunt, having learnt her “aunting” skills from Auntie Gwen. To see her nephews and niece growing up was a huge joy for Janelle. She loved the whole family always.
Janelle chose to remember The Shepherd Centre in her Will, an act of great kindness and generosity. Her gift will help to ensure that future generations of children with hearing loss have the support of The Shepherd Centre and the opportunity to reach their full potential in life.