User Tools

Site Tools


Reta WILLIAMS nee GLARE (1926-2019)

see also:

  • her paintings and china painting:
  • her publications:
    • Sans Peur a genealogy of the Glare family published in 2002

Family tree

Early childhood


  • Until the age of 10yrs, she lived in a cottage in a swampy region of western Victoria called Wallacedale prone to winter flooding.
  • “The cottage was by a wonderful fruit orchard – apricots, apples, pears, cherries, plums of all kinds, gooseberries quinces a-plenty … and Rhode Island Red chooks and a pet lamb”


  • When she was 10yrs old, she and her family moved to Condah which was less prone to flooding and to a house with better facilities.
  • “Uncle Cecil added a laundry and built a copper boiler, concrete paths, that added much to mum’s convenience, and for dad, easy access for his transport business. He had a Shell petrol bowser installed. When I was 12, I gained my merit certificate, and a bus service was started to Hamilton High School. The bus driver used to ride a mini motor bike the 30 miles from Hamilton, taking the pupils from round Wallacedale and Branxholme – I was his first passenger.”
  • Graduated from Hamilton High School in 1940 with the “Leaving Certificate”
  • worked at Laidlaw's in Hamilton as general office work and telephonist.

Early adulthood

  • c1943, she picked grapes on the Cottrell farm in Red Cliffs, near Mildura alongside Italian civilian POWs (over 20% of Italians living in Australia were interned, and in 1943 were permitted to work on private farms to aid the food shortage1)) who were presumably interned at the POW camps near Renmark, or in Hay, NSW, and on the farm she be-friended a Sicilian POW, Angelo Gennaro who returned to Catania after the war, presumably in 1946 when most of the Italians were released from the camps, to run a clothing business.
  • Reta came to Melbourne in 1944 as a children's nurse.
  • She worked at the Beaconsfield Orphanage with her friend Cath Todd.
  • She met her future husband's mother who introduced her to her future husband when he returned from the 2nd World War, his mother died in 1947 before she could witness their marriage in 1948.

Married life

  • Reta married Jeffrey Archibald Ayton and although they considered buying land in the new suburb of Ringwood, the couple decided instead to live in his ageing father's house in Sunshine to assist with his deceased brother's family as well as look after his own father.
  • The couple went to Tasmania for their two week honeymoon.
  • In 1959, the family went on a caravan trip to Mildura and camped alongside the flooding Murray River
  • Jeff renovated the kitchen and installed an Everhot slow combustion wood stove which would also provide the only hot water heating for the house until a later electric booster HW system was installed
  • In 1960, work began on demolishing the sleeput and outdoor toilet and replacing it with a 3 square addition thanks to a neighbour, Mr Morley who was a builder
  • A long drought caused Jeff and his son Kevan to attempt to divine for and drill down for water in their backyard but had to stop at about 30' when they hit rock
  • In 1963, the family took the caravan and headed north to Queensland
  • Reta looked after her father-in-law until he was 96-97 yrs old and for a number of years after her husband had died from Hodgkin's disease in 1967.
  • Reta and Jeff had five children.


  • Following her husband's death she continue running his retail business in the Sunshine Market selling chocolates, nuts and haberdashery until retail pressures of the opening of Big Sam market in St Albans, and then Highpoint Shopping Centre and extended hours of retail trading forced her to leave that business and commence work in Myer at Highpoint as a saleswoman where she continued until her retirement.
  • She sold the old Holden and bought a new HR Holden Station Wagon in which she would load up with hessian bags full of almonds brought from El Dorado region in Victoria and from South Australia
  • She sold the large family canvas tent which filled a whole trailer to her neighbours, the Maclean family who took Gary and Jeffrey camping alongside the Glenmaggie River in Gippsland for a few days
  • Kevan, her brother David and a friend Robert Clark demolished the old garage and replaced it with a concrete floored double garage.
  • There were many who showed her kindness as she did her best to run this retail business including:
    • Bill Phillips, the “button man” 2)
    • David Kennedy, a warehouseman
    • Mr Swyer of Maxart
    • LW Towns accessories
    • Licorice Makers in Abbotsford
    • MacRobertsons who sold her reject chocolates and Easter Eggs
  • in 1975, she completed a telephonist course at Stott's College
  • in 1976, she completed a Typist's Course at Sunshine Technical School with a typing speed of 37wpm
  • in the late 1970's she started a side business from home printing business cards, wedding and greeting card stationery using a new foil based printer system

Second marriage

  • Reta would re-marry in 1980 and moved to a newly built house in Strathmore to start a new life as Reta Williams, wife of Leslie Williams.
  • Her new free time allowed her to take up art classes and learn oil, watercolour and china painting and she primarily focused on Australian landscapes and floral still lifes.
  • In 1985 and 1996 they embarked on their two “world tours” each lasting 4 months covering Europe, Turkey and Asia and took advantage of their time in the UK to research genealogy which became the basis of her published book Sans Peur which details her understanding of the Glare genealogy at a time before the internet was invented.
  • 1985 trip:
    • Norway to Germany, Rhine River, France - Lyon
    • Rome, Pompei, Florence, Venice, Dolomites, Switzerland Geneva, Lichtenstein
    • Greece - Athens, Hydra
    • Turkey
    • Kashmir and Himalayas en route to Phalgum, Mangalore, India
  • 1987: Trip to Cape York, Qld
  • 1988: her art works are displayed at the Royal Melbourne Show
  • 1996: completes an Australian College of Journalism Diploma
  • late 1996 trip:
    • Hong Kong - Guilin, Fubo, Li River boat ride, Guangzhou
    • Southern England - Devon, Cornwall, Exeter, Bruton, Norfolk, Horridge, Pangborne, London
    • Kenya - Nairobi, wildlife safari, Rift Valley, Lake Navash, Elimita
    • Mauritius - Pt Louis

The latter years

  • Their increasing debility forced them to sell their double story Strathmore house and move into a retirement unit in March 2012
  • During these years she remained mentally active, continued to use the computer and social media, keep her pot plants thriving, write to newspapers and politicians to give her advice, as well as solved cross word puzzles in the newspapers each day.
  • She was fortunate that she was able to remain relatively independent with the assistance of carers, and mobile until her death in Aug 2019
  • Her husband Les died in Nov 2013 after a short period in high level care.
genealogy/glare_reta.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/08 02:11 by gary1

Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki