Vale Janet Purton, a loved member of the Wongaburra family

THANKFUL: Janet Purton was no stranger to hard work but she was grateful to her physio team for helping her regain mobility after her stroke.
THANKFUL: Janet Purton was no stranger to hard work but she was grateful to her physio team for helping her regain mobility after her stroke.

WONGABURRA resident Janet Purton passed away on September 20 after what her family describes as a sometimes harsh but always selfless life.

Before her passing, Mrs Purton had requested friends and family donate money to the physio team at Wongaburra in lieu of flowers.

Her daughter Lorraine Gaunt said Mrs Purton had been very happy at Wongaburra, even though she had never wanted to live in a nursing home.

Ms Gaunt said her mother realised she needed daily assistance after suffering a stroke in 2017 and being left with no movement down her left side. 

“The staff at Wongaburra treated mum like family and she was always grateful to them,” she said.

“With so many horrific reports in the news about the aged care sector, mum would often say to me, ‘I’m so glad you found this place for me, everyone is so wonderful’.”

Mrs Purton was born Janet Sellens in 1940 in Hastings, England and moved to Australia in 1965 with her husband David Purton, eventually settling in Brisbane and having three children. 

STRONG: Mrs Purton lived through war, food rationing and the challenges of raising a family in a new country.

STRONG: Mrs Purton lived through war, food rationing and the challenges of raising a family in a new country.

When the family first moved out to the Lockyer valley they had no electricity, running water or flushing toilet. Mrs Purton used to gather firewood, chop firewood, cook on a camp fire and wash using a mangle washing machine. 

After the children finished school and left home, she busied herself by volunteering to teach English to adults at the local school. This was a task she was both very good at and really enjoyed. She was quite devastated when the program closed down.

Family was always an important part of Mrs Purton’s life and she was incredibly proud of all of her children and grandchildren. She always took an interest in everything her children did, and they were always happy to involve her in all their important events.

She loved all of her grandchildren and always wanted updates on what they were doing and would attend as many things as she could. When she moved to Wongaburra, the nursing home, last year, one of her first concerns was, how she would get to the ballet concerts. In 13 years, she had never missed one performance of her granddaughter dancing.

Ms Gaunt said her mother led a selfless life and her first concern was always for the welfare of others.

“She may have only been five foot two or as my dad always said, five foot two with eyes of blue, but you soon learned not to cross my mother,” she said.

“She may have always spoken her mind, but she also had the most wicked sense of humour and all who met her were immediately cast under spell. Life didn’t always deal her the best hand, but she always made the best of whatever life dealt her.”

Ms Gaunt said her mother had not expected much in the way of rehabilitation when she first arrived at Wongaburra but her greatest wish was to stand up and  walk again.

“The physio team at Wongaburra were up to the challenge and the progress mum made was amazing,” she said. 

“Mum asked that friends and relatives donate to the physio team at Wongaburra so they could get the equipment they needed to help residents who had suffered a stroke like she had.”

After the funeral on October 2 at Laidley Crematorium Ms Gaunt said the family donated about $550 to the team and would add a further $350 collected from family in the UK.

Mrs Purton is survived by sons Geoffrey and Allan, daughter Lorraine Gaunt and seven grandchildren.