Sunday, 29 May 2011


We've been melancholy at the Sow's Ear because Jason's Nana died last week. It has been a very sad time for our family - Nana has been a constant for all of Jason's life and now she is gone.

Isabel, or Belle as she was called by her many friends, was born in 1919 in the country town of Mitchell in Queensland.

The year of her birth was when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending Australia's involvement in World War I, Billy Hughes was elected as Prime Minister and King George V was the reigning monarch.

Belle was the youngest of five children. Her parents James and Elizabeth were of Scottish descent.

When she was in her 20s, Belle moved to the big smoke that was Brisbane. World War II had broken out and she took a job at Archerfield helping to repair the battle damaged war planes. She was our very own Rosie the Riveter - one of many women replacing the male workers who had answered the call to war.

Her dear brother James was killed while serving in New Guinea in 1942. Jason said she could never mention his name without tears of sadness.

Her role in the war effort must have been something she was deeply proud of, as the article below was framed and displayed in her lounge room alongside James' war portrait. Belle is pictured below right.

Grooming warplanes for the aerial offensive north of Australia is one of the big victory jobs in which women are playing an increasingly important role. It is just another example of the Australian-American co-operation, and these pictures taken at a big aircraft repair depot near Brisbane, show how Australian girls are assisting the Allied air forces to maintain their maximum strength in the air.

Japanese flak tore holes in the metal fuselage of this bombers it swept low over enemy positions. Misses Joan Elliott and Belle McCreath are removing the scars of war with the aid of metal panels and rivets. Soon it will be in action again. - The Courier Mail, 1944

In December 1945, Belle married Sid and two years later they had their only son (Jason's dad).

Belle's wedding notice

Sid and Isabel had an interesting life together. At one stage they had bought and managed a Turkish Bath business in Brisbane's Edward Street. 

Typically for Belle's generation, she was a stay-at-home wife who enjoyed gardening - she won the Courier Mail Gardening Competition three years in a row. Belle loved to cook and sew and she was involved with charity work, being a member on the Lady Mayoress' Committee for many years.

She was also the proud and indulging Nana to three grandsons.

After Sid died in the late 80s, Belle maintained an active life and had many friends. She loved to sing and was known to enjoy a drink or two. Although she never learnt to drive, Belle lived independently in her Spring Hill home until she broke her neck in a fall. 

Belle's house in Torrington Street, Spring Hill and the remnants of her adored garden.
Everyone thought that was the end of Belle, but she survived and recovered completely. Sadly, her failing vision and frailty meant she could no longer return to her beloved home of 58 years.

Despite the wonderful care she received at the nursing home during her three years there, she always mentioned, without fail, how much she missed her little home.

Belle's lounge room before the sale of her home.
Belle was a gentle, loving soul. She was the last of her siblings to pass away and she out-lived many of her  friends. There are not too many people of her generation left...

The day of her death was truly a sad, sad day.


  1. Oh that is so sad I am sorry to hear that.She sounds like a wonderful and very loved lady,What a shame her house isnt still in the family.

  2. Thanks for sharing Belle's gorgeous and interesting life. So sorry for your loss.

    Pam x

  3. What a rich and varied life she had. I think to have children and grandchildren and a garden to work in until the age of 92 would be a life most full and complete.melx

  4. My condolences to you all. It sounds like Belle will really be missed. How wonderful for Jason to be able to share so much of her life xx

  5. Condolences. She was obviously very much loved. x

  6. Oh so sad. What a wonderful lady. my deepest condolences to Jason and to you all, she sounds very well loved. This post is a lovely tribute to her.

  7. So so sad. So sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to someone much loved. Thoughts to you all, Tam x

  8. A lovely tribute Anita, such care and well detailed story of her life. I am sure you will all miss her. Condolences.

  9. Oh that is so sad for your family. We must ensure that we listen carefully to the stories and lessons of our elderly. Their life experiences will never compare to what we know.

    Heartfelt condolences to your family.

  10. That was a beautiful tribute and I'm sure that Belle must have felt truly blessed to have such a loving family.

  11. Hi!

    I really liked your blog! Sorry for ur loss! Its really sad! May God give u the strength to bear the pain!

    Do visit my blog at


  12. I loved seeing and reading a bit about Jason's Nana. You have written this really so so beautifully and have created a real sense of who Belle was. You have all not been far from my thoughts. xx Katherine

  13. I'm sorry to read your news, Anita. Belle sounds like a wonderful woman who lived a good life, an example to aspire to. May you always remember her with happiness.

  14. So sorry to hear of your loss Anita. May you all continue to remember her fondly. It sounds like she had a life worth living. xx

  15. So sorry about Jason's gorgeous Grandma. she sounded like a wonderful lady. Thinking of you all.

  16. I'm so sorry for your and Jason's loss. She sounds like a lovely person. xx

  17. Jason's Nana sounds like a lovely soul. You did her proud.

  18. How very sad for you all. I enjoyed reading about Isabel, her garden and life very much though.
    What a wonderful woman. x

  19. Hi,

    Our condolences to you and yours.

    My hubby just lost his Pop recently and it was a very sad time for us also.

    Keep Belle's memory alive by remembering her and sharing the stories with your children :)

    The Hamelin Family

  20. Anita, I'm so sorry for you all. Jason's Nana sounds as though she had so many stories to tell. That generation were so unique and spirited weren't they. You must all have so many fond memories to share. Take care. Amanda xx

  21. wow, what an amazing woman !
    RIP belle
    ~laura xx

  22. My thoughts have been you, Jason and your family the last few days (silly computer wouldn't let me comment till now).

  23. I'm so sorry to hear about Belle - she sounds like an amazing, brave woman and you wrote about her so beautifully. Love to your family xx

  24. I'm so sorry for your loss, she sounds like a wonderful, amazing woman. My Nanna died too, on the 19th May, at the grand age of 92.

    It's such a sad time, I can empathise with your family xo


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