Vale Olive Penno
OLIVE PENNO - Much Loved Matriarch of Taradale
Taradale is mourning the passing of Olive Penno, the much loved Matriarch of Taradale - who passed away peacefully on Tuesday August 4th at RM Begg Aged Care in Kyneton, after a rich and active life of service to her community.
Olive celebrated her 90th Birthday in May 2018 with over 200 guests, but unfortunately her funeral will be restricted to just 10 mourners.
Childhood was happy, growing up as the third of seven sisters - Elsa Joy, Olive, Patricia, Gwenda, Heather and Jennifer. Sadly a little brother died in childhood. The family lived in the lovely old house above the courthouse in Faraday Street. Her father John Shaw was the Water Bailiff.
Olive attended Taradale Primary school at 4 years of age and went to Kyneton High School when she was only ten. After leaving High School Olive worked for a printing company in Melbourne as a typist and stenographer from 1944-1948 - but she always returned home on weekends - Taradale was her base.
Olive was 17 when she met her future husband - a local farmer Fred Penno - whose grandparents arrived from Cornwall in 1867 looking for gold. Fred was ten years older than Olive and they married six days after Olive’s 20th Birthday on a cold and blustery Melbourne day in 1948.
Olive and Fred had two sons. Trevor was born on Olive’s 21st birthday and was a well-known local musician. He sadly passed away 2 years ago.
David, a former Captain of the Taradale CFA and a life member, now lives in Bendigo. David has two daughters - Jacky in Canberra and Janelle in Melbourne, mother of treasured young grandson Lenny.
For over 70 years Olive belonged to nearly every organisation in Taradale – starting with the Taradale Ladies Progress Association soon after her marriage. She served on the committees of the Cemetery, Hall, Community Forum, Barkly Park, and Mineral Springs Festival. She was a founding member of the Taradale and Malmsbury Historical Groups, Kyneton Progress Association, Landcare, Kyneton Probus, Castlemaine View Club and Sutton Grange CWA.
At one stage she was an office bearer on 13 committees!
Olive served on the Taradale Primary School Committee when her boys were young and she still visited regularly to chat with the children. She was especially delighted with the school’s resurrection from two students six years ago to over one hundred today!
A regular churchgoer Olive cared for the grounds of the Anglican ‘Church on the Hill’, opposite her home until it was sold in 2013.
Twelve years ago she became a founding member of the Taradale Arts Group and sat at the door of every single Winter Ball for the past eight years - outlasting many a reveller late into the night!
She served on the Local Council in the Shire of Metcalfe for over eleven years - and received Citizen of the Year awards for Mt Alexander and Harcourt in 1996 – both on the same day! Olive had no idea that she had been nominated for these awards - but it is no small surprise - her contribution to the community over the decades has been immense and is truly impressive!
Olive loved Taradale and its people. She was a familiar sight driving around the backroads in her old Mercedes. Blessed with an encyclopaedic memory Olive was THE person who assisted hundreds of people researching family history. Olive made everyone welcome often personally visiting new residents with a cake. There were always multiple batches of cookies to share or give to others.
She welcomed new ideas but technologies floored her. An avid reader of daily newspapers Olive was always up to date on current affairs.
A beautifully worded greeting or letter of appreciation in immaculate handwriting on pretty paper or card would have been received by hundreds of people over the years, even up to a few months ago.
Olive was also very social, she loved visiting friends and places and dining out.
Olive once said “I like flowers more than food’. Roses were Olive’s absolute favourite and she loved to make large posies for friends.
When Olive went into care in March it was her garden and local activities she missed the most. Throughout the town and at her own expense Olive planted hundreds of daffodils and trees, many of which turn into the most glorious autumn colours, also she nurtured plants in the horse trough on Patterson’s Corner for over 30 years.
Olive will be much missed by her many friends in the local community and further afield. Her curiosity, remarkable memory and unfailing support to individuals and community groups has been the cornerstone of our cultural landscape.
As our Elder, Olive has shared her local knowledge with great generosity and welcomed newcomers to the region and nurtured many friendships spanning decades.
We hold her in our hearts and the community is already suggesting ways to honour her legacy.
Authors: Kate Osborne and Gay Buchanan
Photo: Andy Indrans Taradale