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A career in helping others

Retirement Living Connectedness Positive Ageing Retirement Stories Volunteer
  • IRT Tarrawanna Gardens resident June Moore has plenty of career stories to share
  • Born in Devon, June grew up in England during World War II
  • June was a “bobby”, served in the Royal Air Force and also worked in child welfare
  • Today she volunteers with the Justice Advocacy Service
18 March 2022
IRT Tarrawanna Gardens resident June Moore.
“I have been led, pushed and sometimes dragged by the influence of different people in my lifetime.”
June Moore
IRT Tarrawanna Gardens resident

Physical Training Instructor in the Royal Air Force. Constable, Detective and Sergeant in the British Police Force. Regional Director of the NSW Department of Child Welfare. Court Mediator. Justice Advocacy Service Volunteer. IRT Tarrawanna Gardens resident June Moore has been busy.

“Gosh, it’s only now as I lay out my life I realise I’ve had so much fun!” laughs June.

June, aged 89, has spent most of her life helping others. “I don’t see helping as a deliberate act on my behalf. It’s the way I relate to people,” says June.

“My grandmother was a rather strong tyrant of a woman, however she would take in anybody who needed help. For the first seven years of my life I shared a bed with my brother because we had no room in the house due to boarders. Behind it all was this inclination to help people, and I think that’s where I got my tendency to help others.”

Born in Devon, England in 1932, June grew up in Plymouth in the midst of World War II. As a child, June would ride around on her bike to check on relatives following bombings on the town. “People were always so pleased to see us that they’d give us a penny or some goodies, so we profited quite well from that exercise,” laughs June.

At 19, June joined the Royal Air Force, holding posts in England and Germany when tension still existed between the two countries following the war. “British forces were less than welcome during this time, as there was still a lot of anger from British bombings in Germany, including Cologne where I was stationed,” says June.

June (centre) joined the Royal Air Force as a physical training officer.

After four years with the Air Force, June became a constable in the British Police Force. June patrolled the streets of East London on her own until 8pm, when another policewoman would join the night-time beat. “Policemen would carry ‘Johnny-wood’ truncheons in a long pocket down the outside of their trouser leg, but policewomen weren’t armed as we were considered to be at immediate risk if the offender snatched the truncheon from us,” says June.

“We were instructed not to go off the main streets, but we did because life was far more interesting down there!” says June.

June transferred to the force in Manchester, where she achieved a number of milestones including being promoted to Sergeant, entering Special Branch (responsible for matters of national security and intelligence), and becoming the first woman to join the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) there in its history.

“I’ll acknowledge I had to tread new ground as a woman, because when I joined women were only gradually being allowed into certain professions, and I needed the support of men that I worked with. It wasn’t always easy,” says June.

After 11 years in the “bobbies”, June was looking for a change and immigrated to Australia on a ship called the Fairsky through the Australian Government’s Assisted Migration Scheme. “The journey was full of sorrow. A lot of women really didn’t want to be there, and wanted to stay at home with their families,” recalls June.

Upon arrival in Melbourne, June travelled and worked throughout Victoria and NSW, including as a fruit canner in Kyabram until one day when the finger of June’s glove was ripped off by the canning machine while she was daydreaming. She quickly stuffed the piece of glove with fruit but as it travelled down the conveyor, women saw it and screamed and fainted, thinking it was a severed finger. “It’s the first time in my life I got sacked!” says June.

After arriving in Sydney, June reached out to a woman named Sylvia, who she had met on the Fairsky. “To escape the crowds on the ship, I would sneak up to the upper decks reserved for paying passengers. One night I was fortunate enough to meet Sylvia who offered to assist me find work if I was ever on the East Coast.”

It wasn’t long before Sylvia had helped June secure a job within the NSW Department of Housing and from there she transferred to the Department of Child Welfare helping at-risk children and their families, a career she pursued for the next 25 years.

June was promoted to Regional Director of the Hunter Area, and was the first woman “to go into the country, as they called it,” says June.

June is not one to sit still for too long.

Following retirement, she took up a post as a welfare officer in Kiribati, a nation of islands in the central Pacific Ocean. 

She also worked as a mediator in the NSW court system.

June now volunteers with the Justice Advocacy Service to support people with an intellectual disability who are appearing in Wollongong, Port Kembla and Sutherland Courts, with the occasional visit to Goulburn Court and Correctional Centre.

June's first beat as a constable in the British Police Force was patrolling the streets of East London.

“Our job is to accompany the person to court, check they’ve seen a solicitor, and to the best of our ability ensure they understand the outcome of the appearance,” explains June.

Reflecting on her career, June acknowledges her good fortune in meeting the right people at the right time, and hopes she can support others in the same way.

“I have been led, pushed and sometimes dragged by the influence of different people in my lifetime,” says June. “I’ve been so lucky. I meet a person like Sylvia whose help launched me into the next 25 years of my life.”

“I usually say to people if there is anything I can do to help you or yours, please give me the choice.”

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