Loma Denshire died peacefully on 19 December, 2021 at the age of 96. Daughters Sally and Jayne reflect on the legacy of Loma’s community involvement.
Long-time resident Loma Denshire contributed to community cohesion and wellbeing for more than two generations, setting up Dingle Dell Pre-kindergarten and then advising on early childhood services. Neighbours and relations turned to her for support and advice and she was active on working bees for Osborne Park Kindergarten, Scouts and various Progress Association committees. And Loma was a model for Elizabeth Fern Dress Shop at evening fashion parades to raise funds for the Scouts and the Kindergarten.
The daughter of Malvenia (Molly) and Herman and sister of Warwick, Loma Peters grew up in Neutral Bay and attended NSGHS. Loma Peters met Harry Denshire of Mosman playing tennis and they married in 1952. They made a home in Osborne Park for their four children: Sally-Anne, Warwick, Jayne and Matthew who all went to Lane Cove Public. Loma and Harry were keen home gardeners, entering camellias and gladioli in the annual Flower Show at Osborne Park and supplying Miss Parks’ Florist at Waverton and The King Green Grocer with pumpkins. Loma and Harry would play tennis on Sundays at Osborne Park and the family would holiday at Currawong on Pittwater.
Loma opened Dingle Dell pre-kindergarten at Osborne Park in 1966, initially for families working at the ABC at nearby Gore Hill. This was visionary for the times as the Centre was to focus on children who were 18 months to two-and-a-half years old – a first. Her youngest child Matthew was her first pupil, being 16 months old when Dingle Dell opened. Later Loma and Elsa Ford founded a support group for care and help for unmarried mothers (CHUMS) and successfully campaigned in Canberra for a pension for single mothers.
Loma completed a Child Care Certificate at North Sydney College of TAFE and, later, a Graduate Diploma in Social Ecology at UWS. Following the death of her husband, Harry, in 1976, Loma secured full-time positions as a Family Day Care Coordinator in Eastwood and Waitara. She was interviewed in the media about the status of childcare services and helped shape the face of Family Day Care in its early days. With Cr Ros Baxter, Loma advised on setting up Kindy Cove Child Care Centre and Possums’ Corner Long Day Care Centre with director Sandra Cheeseman. Grandchildren Tim and Holly were among the first intake.
Retiring in 1992 Loma joined the art group of artist Eva Barry at the Desiderius Orban studio in Northwood and exhibited locally. In 1996, following the accidental death of Matthew, she downsized to 8/18 Fourth Avenue around the corner from the family home in Second Ave. The villas received their own 266 bus stop right outside. Loma’s petition, showing many residents on both sides of the street were older, moved the stop from down in the dip to the crest of the hill.
She maintained long-term interests in ageing and positive mental health and was one of the founding members of the Institute of Group Leaders, having facilitated Healthy Lifestyle Programs, teaching relaxation, conflict resolution and communication skills with NSW Health at Pallister in Greenwich. She was a member of Adventures in Relaxation (AIR), a self-education group of retired health promotion leaders.
Always active in her community, Loma sat on the board of Lane Cove Community Aid during the 1990s and was honored with a Lane Cove Council award for community service. Loma continued to facilitate discussion groups for U3A Lane Cove well into her 80s. A celebration of Loma’s remarkable life was held on Saturday 30 April, 2022 at Lane Cove Community Hub.
Vale Loma Denshire