Lumen - The University of Adelaide Magazine The University of Adelaide Australia
Lumen Summer 2017 Issue
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Meet our oldest volunteer

Nettie Davidson

Nettie Davidson

When Jeanette ‘Nettie’ Davidson’s husband passed away three years ago, she decided she wanted to keep his tradition of volunteering at the Waite Campus alive and stepped into his shoes.

Nettie is the University’s oldest volunteer, a very spritely 90 year old. She visits the Waite gardens once a week to prune the roses and weed the gardens, just as her husband Torben had done for 18 years before her.

Torben was an active volunteer when he passed away at 91 and Nettie remembers how much joy he got from volunteering.

“He used to come home and say, ‘they are so lovely, such a lovely group’,” says Nettie.
“Some months after he died I thought, ‘I need to take his place now’ and I have been coming here ever since.”

Torben had a long connection to the Waite as his father, Professor James Davidson, was the first Professor of Entomology at the campus.

With fond memories of picnics with her husband and grandchildren in the gardens, Nettie says she is happy to spend time volunteering in the beautiful surroundings.

“We are so fortunate to have the arboretum, why wouldn’t you want to volunteer in such a serene and beautiful place?” she says. “It’s amazing how many people don’t know it’s here.”

Now a great grandmother, when she’s not volunteering Nettie keeps herself busy with her family and weaving, calling herself a ‘crazy weaver’.

Her thoughts on the title of ‘oldest’ volunteer? “I don’t really feel like I’m 90 but I suppose it must be true!”

Story by Renée Capps


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