When Brenda Woods answered the door at her daughter-in-law’s house, she expected to greet a pizza delivery driver but instead she came face-to-face with three of her brothers.
Michael, David and Barrie had hopped on planes from the United Kingdom and New Zealand and flown to Australia to surprise their sister for her 70th birthday. And surprise it was.
“I was stunned,” Brenda said.
“I knew I was having a party but I didn’t know my brothers were coming.
“I hadn’t seen my brothers in 16 years.”
Brenda’s old school friend from the UK, Pat Greaves, was also at the party and Brenda’s eldest child, Nicola, flew in from Darwin. They enjoyed a pamper morning then a meal in the afternoon.
Brenda was born in the UK on December 15, 1948 to Harold and Muriel Hogg. The family emigrated to South Africa in 1967 because Harold got a job as a fitter and turner for an aircraft factory, Atlas Aircrafts. Brenda’s eldest brother Raymond stayed behind because he had a job.
Brenda was 17 when the family moved to Boksburg, Transvaal, and had just finished school. She got a job at Atlas Aircrafts doing administration and stayed for about four years. She married her first husband in 1969 and they had a child, Nicola in the same year.
In June 1976, Brenda and Nicola emigrated to Australia when her application for a working visa was approved. At first, they lived in Sydney with her friend Pat who had emigrated to Australia a year before the Hoggs moved to South Africa.
I hadn’t seen my brothers in 16 years.Brenda Woods
Brenda had met her current husband Mike before they left for Australia but he was on his way to England. In the end, he followed the pair to Australia and Brenda married him on September 18, 1976.
Mike worked in correctional services in Sydney before they made the move to the Northern Territory.
“He applied for the Northern Territory police so we moved up there. He was working there for 12 years,” Brenda said.
The couple welcomed Jessica into the family in 1984, and Luke in 1985.
Mike was invalided out of the police force and in January 1991, the family moved to the Gold Coast. Brenda started working in administration at Griffith University in the school of nursing. She stayed there until she retired about 20 years later.
In the meantime, their children Luke and Jess had moved to Dalby and they followed in 2011. When the mines shut, Luke lost his job and ended up in Gunnedah, working on water bores for Whitehaven. He developed a patented tool and solution to clean bores and started ACS Equip in 2013.
In 2014, Brenda and Mike moved to Gunnedah to support Luke in his business and they can still be spotted around the new site in Allgayer Drive.
Brenda is also heavily involved with Northwest Church Gunnedah, teaching Sunday School and helping out with morning teas. She also spends plenty of time with her nine grandchildren.
Mike says Brenda is a “wonderful wife and mum”.