Judith Isobel McLean (nee Quinn), 1937-2018
Judy Quinn was born on June 24, 1937 in Perth where she spent her childhood gaining a love of gardening and native flora from her mother and becoming a ballet dancer.
A family friend said “Judy lived an extraordinary life”.
She was variously a role model, a warrior, an activist, opinionated, feisty and sometimes a cantankerous curmudgeon. She certainly made her mark on society and the many people she met.
In 1955 she married Arthur McLean (deceased) and they had two daughters, Gina (deceased) and Tanya.
Judy was a committed communist. The family moved to East Germany in 1964 where she worked as a translator. They returned to Sydney in 1971.
As a feminist she was an active member of the Women’s Movement. Being concerned with the welfare of women, she was involved with the instigation and running of the Leichhardt Women’s Centre and later was, for five years, the first lay director of Family Planning NSW. In 1981 she spent a year in France to learn the language and that led to the formation, with a friend, of The Small Hotel Company which resulted in much overseas travel.
In 1997, she and the girls moved to Katoomba but a year later she had the pain of losing her daughter Gina to cancer.
With her love of the environment and native plants she soon found the volunteer group of Blue Mountains Wildplant Rescue Service (BMWRS). She worked there from 1998 until 2013 during which time she shared her knowledge and skills, mentoring volunteers and giving talks at schools and local communities. She variously held the roles of project manager, treasurer, administrative officer and public officer. When the founder of BMWRS, Mikla Lewis, moved from the Mountains in 2001 she said that she was reassured by the fact that the BMWRS was in Judy’s capable hands. Judy became well-known to many for her extensive knowledge of the Blue Mountains flora, her friendliness, and helping customers at street and market stalls and at the nursery in Oak Street, especially on Saturday mornings.
When she left the nursery in 2013 she lived quietly with her daughter and was the friendly lady who walked around Katoomba with her little black dog Jax.
Judy died peacefully in her sleep on Friday, November 21, 2018. She is survived by her brother in England and her daughter Tanya.
Judy was a staunch atheist and chose to donate her body to science. She was not one for for ceremony and therefore in keeping with her wishes there will be no funeral or memorial service. Instead there will be a wake, in true Irish tradition (she was a Quinn after all!), at the Gearin Hotel, Katoomba on Sunday, December 9 from 3pm. All who knew her are welcome.
Sincere thanks to the staff at Bodington Residential Aged Care who have looked after her so well during the last two years.