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Joyce James

Born 1940, age 82

“Always respect your mother, and know that they’re there for you – and remember that older people still have a mind of their own!"

When walking around the Warrigal Lake Illawarra village, there aren’t many villagers who don’t know Joyce James. Her friendly demeanour and community-focused attitude make her popular with her neighbours, who look forward to their regular catch-ups in the common village spaces.

Joyce was born in Port Kembla in 1940, where she would also live until eventually moving following meeting her husband Colin. When they married in 1960, Joyce and Colin, remained in the Illawarra area and moved to Addison Avenue.

They had three children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Joyce feels immensely proud of all of them and says they are her greatest achievements.

Joyce has enjoyed many travel adventures throughout her life. Some of her happiest memories are travelling with her family in their caravan around Australia, as well as the time spent together on three overseas cruises.

After living in the Lake Illawarra area for 52 years, Joyce and Colin felt that the timing was right for them to move to Warrigal. However, Colin was quite unwell, and went into hospital just nine days after the move into the village, before passing away soon after. But after ten years of living at Warrigal Lake Illawarra, Joyce is still sure it was the right time for them to make the change.

Joyce has loved living at Warrigal, and describes her village as very friendly. "Moving here was the best thing that happened to me. I have a community here, and they're all friendly people," she said. She says it’s a great community, with a great support system and it’s very easy to make friends. Having the Warrigal community around her also makes her feel very safe.

Every morning, Joyce walks to the lake behind the village before sunrise, and sends her daughter a photo. It’s a great way for them to keep in touch daily, motivating Joyce to stretch her legs! She describes herself as a very happy person, and loves spending time with her budgie Sparkles.

Joyce’s contributions to her community, through her work as village treasurer and her efforts to bring her fellow villagers together for social events, have been invaluable. She has achieved so much for the Warrigal Lake Illawarra village, including getting a new fence, and organising social events for everyone. These social events include bus trips, BBQs, and morning teas, which all raise money for the community – their latest purchase was a TV for their hall so everyone could gather together to have movie nights.

If Joyce could pass any pearls of wisdom to her family, it would be to always respect your mother, and know that they’re there for you – and remember that older people still have a mind of their own!

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