Our Priceless Past: The story of Mrs Helen Reeves
A QUOTE Helen Reeves lives by is "do unto others”. By her family, she is described as being a dear little girl. She describes herself as friendly, energetic and loving.
Helen, daughter of John and Bon McGree, was born in 1947 and grew up with five brothers - John, Maurice, Bruce, Craig and Mark.
Her father, Dr John McGree, delivered Mrs Reeves at their family home in Bramston St.
Their house, now gone, was located on the property where the Lincraft store is now. Growing up as the only girl in her family, apart from her mother, life was very interesting and challenging.
As a child, Mrs Reeves attended the Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, later attending All Hallows' Boarding School in Brisbane.
She was very studious as a child and her family was very musically oriented, leading her to become a music teacher as well as a maths teacher. There were about 5000 citizens in Gladstone at the time and she found everyone very friendly. Children could be out until dark, riding or walking with friends.
They always felt safe. People felt very free back then, even though money was scarce. Mrs Reeves told us of how she rode horses as a child and played a lot of sports, including tennis.
On the holidays, Mrs Reeves would go to her dad's office and work as the receptionist. She also sold phasey beans (which is a legume) to earn some money so she could afford to buy sweets.
In the December of 1976, Miss Helen McGree married Mr Jeffrey Reeves, after being engaged for eight months. The couple had met at the Gladstone Light Opera Society (GLOS), where Jeffrey was a stagehand and Helen was a singer.
Mrs Reeves described her husband as being loving and caring. At the age of 31, Mrs Reeves had her first child, Jeffrey, named after his father. Jeffrey is now married to Hayley. Her second child, Michael, is now married to Tonya.
Mrs Reeves taught at places such as Mackay, Chanel College in Gladstone and Gladstone State High School. At Gladstone State High School Mrs Reeves started the State High Concert Band. She then started the adult band "Encore”, which later won the Gladstone Eisteddfod.
Very talented musically, Mrs Reeves could play the piano. Not only was she a great teacher but she also taught State High's very own Mr Glen Hooley. Mrs Reeves played music with a group of people at the Taurus Steakhouse, which was a very popular venue at that time. She has always lived in Gladstone and believes that over the years Gladstone has expanded largely due to Queensland Alumina Ltd, being built in the 1960's.
Since their retirement in 2002, Mrs Reeves and her husband have travelled the world. They have six grandchildren, who all live in Brisbane. In her spare time Mrs Reeves enjoys playing mah-jong, bridge and golf, as well as going fishing.