Obituary, pioneering Condingup farmer Avon Wyllie remembered

Although she passed away on May 17, 2018, the memory of a trailblazing farmer and dedicated member of the Condingup community will not be forgotten.

Avon Wyllie was born on December 23, 1925 in Maryborough, Victoria, the youngest of Margaret and Charles Potter’s 10 children.

In the Second World War Avon enrolled in the Defence Department as a member of the Home Guard.

She patrolled the southern coast of Victoria for Japanese vessels and was sworn to secrecy about her activities.

During her time with the department she met war factory worker George Wyllie whom she married on Valentine’s Day in 1948.

The couple had five children, with 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren to come.

In 1959 the Wyllies saw an advertisement reading ‘go west young man’. 

The family of seven made the arduous journey over poorly developed roads and arrived in the Condingup area in 1960.

With American television host and Condingup landholder Ark Linkletter, Avon helped found the Linkletter School and served as an active member of the P and C.

The school started out in February 1961 with one teacher and nine pupils. It provided Condingup students an education until a government school was built in 1964. 

The Linkletter School served as a hub of community activity in the early 1960s.

Ministers from all religions and churchgoers from multiple faiths attended the same services at the school because there were so few people in the area.

Avon also helped to establish the Condingup Country Women’s Association.

She volunteered her time and resources to organisations such as Meals on Wheels and the Royal Flying Doctors. 

Avon believed in preserving local history and had an impressive rock collection which is now in the Esperance Museum. 

On February 2008, days before their 60th anniversary her husband George passed away.​

Her son Graeme remembered his mother’s grit and courage in his eulogy.

“Even today most women would shudder at going to the other side of the country away from family and friends to sit out in the middle of 3000 acres of scrub,” he said. 

“In 1965 she was sent to Perth for a major operation.

“The specialist afterwards told mum ‘that should give you another five years to live’.

“Yeah right, try 53 years more.

“That’s my mum.”