THERE is no better way of settling into a new town than to become quickly immersed into the community and Liz and Terry Letts embraced this concept when they moved to Esperance from Kalgoorlie in 1977. Arriving with two year old son, Simon, they bought a cleaning business which they re-named Letts Cleaning Service and immediately threw themselves into the community with the energy and vibrancy for which they became renowned.
Originally from Mooroopna, Victoria, the daughter of primary school teachers, Liz’s interests as a child included highland dancing and bushwalking and she represented the state in junior softball. Terry was born in Perth but when his mother died at a young age he and his brother moved to Geraldton to be closer to their father who worked in the north. Sports mad, Terry enjoyed the beaches, indulging in what became a lifelong interest in scuba diving.
When the family moved back to Perth Terry joined the Woolworths’ chain and it was when he transferred to Kalgoorlie with the company that he met Liz, a child care nurse. After marrying in 1977 and not wanting to return to Perth, Terry and Liz decided to venture to Esperance and were struck by the beauty of the beaches and the friendly people. Son Cory was born in 1978 and the boys attended Castletown Primary School and Esperance High School.
Fun loving and hard working Terry and Liz found many opportunities to share their talents. Both played hockey and squash and Terry coached and took on administrative roles in those sports. He was awarded a life membership of the Hockey Association in 1992. Liz’s softball skills were a gift to that sport locally and as well as teaching highland dancing, found she had a talent for writing. Blessed with a vivid imagination and a quirky sense of humour she began writing plays for her sons and after seeing a need for children’s theatre in the community formed the successful Le Petit Bijou company.
When the Letts family decided to leave town for the future of the boys they were greatly missed. They bought a garden nursery in Bunbury where Cory took up an apprenticeship in horticulture. He was able to develop his hockey ability by playing for Bunbury in the Perth League and was selected to play in Kuala Lumpur and South Africa. He travelled to New Zealand with the Australian country team and continues to represent the state country side while working for Worsley Alumina. Simon became an electrician and is environmentally conscious, belonging to a group who aim to care for the earth. He is musical and has ambitions to return to live in Esperance one day, when the opportunity arises.
Terry continued to play hockey and represented the state in Veteran’s competitions for many years. He also coached men’s and women’s teams and now, while working as a groundsman/gardener at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, is a coach for the school team.
While the men of the family thrived in Bunbury, Liz found the transition difficult and missed her friends and activities. Having worked as a medical receptionist in Esperance she continued that in Bunbury, as well as playing squash and directing junior theatre productions. Having recently turned 70, she continues to lead an active lifestyle and is looking forward to their first caravan trip.
Their decision to move away was very much a case of Esperance’s loss – Bunbury’ gain, but the family have happy memories of their years in the Bay of Isles and continue to maintain close contact with their Esperance friends.