Williamstown’s Ella Bambery remembers the night World War II ended, singing Land of Hope and Glory in honour of the “mother country”.
Now, she has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours with a Medal of the Order of Australia for a life of service to the community of Williamstown and the western suburbs.
Mrs Bambery, 99, is a foundation member and served as president for 10 years of the Williamstown Legacy Widows Club.
During WWII, she was a member of The Concert Party, a troupe of entertainers who toured Victoria performing for convalescing servicemen at repatriation hospitals and personnel at internment and prisoner-of-war camps.
After the war, she joined Williamstown Little Theatre in 1949, where she served as a performer, committee member and treasurer until the 1980s.
She describes one of her most rewarding roles as being caring for patients.
Mrs Bambery has been a volunteer and phone counsellor with Mercy Palliative Care in the western region for 13 years, and has volunteered with Southern Cross nursing home at Newport and with Meals on Wheels.
“I loved the work and it enriched my life,” she said of her volunteering with palliative patients.
“I met the most courageous and beautiful people, and I got far more out of it than I put in to it.”
Mrs Bambery said she couldn’t believe she had been named in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.
“I really didn’t think I deserved it,” she said.
“Then I thought, Kylie Minogue gets it for her hot pants.”