Noosa mourns loss of community doer
NOOSA knew Kay Fielden as the the feisty Wallace Park flying fox colony critic who successful lobbied for council action and threatened to launch a class action.
But those close to this active newspaper letter writer knew this was just another example of a life-long advocacy for causes close to her heart.
Her ardent campaign for a better deal for residents saw Kay use the impressive life skills obtained from careers in nursing, journalism and the law as well as being a mother of three.
Most people in Noosa do not know of the significant contribution Kay made during her life.
Kay was always a fighter, right through to the end after battling cancer for many years. She passed away peacefully on Sunday morning February 26.
One of the last things Kay did was to dictate the story of her life for publication as a small book for her grandchildren. Kay was born in Newcastle, NSW, in 1945 just at the end of the Second World War and, growing up, Kay ended up in hospital for six months with polio.
Kay went to Merriweather Public School and Newcastle Girls High. She won a scholarship to a Sydney Art School but later enrolled her in general nursing at Royal Newcastle Hospital. She won the ATNA Prize for Nursing for coming top in the state exams. It was there she met her doctor husband, Peter.
They married in 1967 and over the years spent time working as a team in Vietnam, Tonga and Darwin, caring for war victims and cyclone survivors.
Between 1969 and 1974 they had three children - Katherine, Belinda and Barton. While in Sydney, Kay ran for election to local council then in 1971 accepted a job as a journalist at the Telegraph working as a crime reporter.
In 1976, Peter died suddenly of a heart attack. Later Kay studied law at Macquarie University which was family friendly. During her studies she helped establish the Macquarie Legal Centre and eventually graduated with a BA in anthropology, politics and sociology in 1983 and a Bachelor of Law in 1985.
During this period Kay wrote a book, Socialism vs Marxism, and was instrumental in setting up women's health centres in Wyoming and Hervey Bay.
Kay's first job as a lawyer was with the Government Insurance Office at the NSW Supreme Court.
Kay met partner Maggie in 1999 and, while travelling around Australia, Kay discovered while staying at Peregian she had breast cancer. Her 17-year battle with cancer began. Maggie and Kay stayed in Noosa and she renewed her love of painting at Wallace House.
Kay's advice to her grandchildren was: "Contribute to your community as much as you can. There are always ways to help others."