After more than three decades helping school children cross the road, lollipop lady Judith O’Keeffe has retired her stop sign.
The Wyndham Vale resident finished up at her post at the end of the last school year, 33 years after manning her first crossing at Woodville Primary School.
Within a couple of years she was moved to the Ballan Road crossing that serviced Iramoo Primary School and other surrounding schools. That become her permanent spot.
In her younger years, Mrs O’Keeffe was a nurse at the old Werribee hospital, while her husband was an ambulance officer. Once they started to have children, they found it difficult to juggle two demanding jobs and their growing brood, so Mrs O’Keeffe stopped her nursing duties.
When their youngest started school, she wanted to get back into the workforce and the lollipop position came up.
“Because it was part-time … you finished just after the kids finished school, so you could run them around,” she said. “It fitted in with family life. I enjoyed it … meeting the children and the mums, and the occasional dad.”
The 71-year-old said that with school starting up again last week, thoughts had turned to her former role.
“When we had that really hot weather before school had gone back, and I thought, ‘I’m glad I retired’,” she said. “When the weather was pleasant again, I missed the kids and getting out of the house. It will take a while to get used to, I think.”
Mrs O’Keeffe was farewelled with a morning tea.