Regis Lutwyche recently received a letter of appreciation from Jeanette, sister of Merline Muldoon, a resident at Regis Lutwyche from June 2020 to 23 April 2021.

In her letter, Jeanette thanked the nursing team who treated Merline sensitively and gently.

“They were professional, most responsive, kind and thoughtful, always attending with a cheery demeanour,” said Jeanette.

“The maintenance staff, cleaners, food service personnel and Lifestyle team also interacted with my sister in a kind, helpful manner, which made her life easier,” said Jeanette. The clinical care nurse, Arjinder Kaur, liaised closely with the family at all times which gave them the security that Merline was always receiving the best care in Merline’s final days.

“We owe them all a debt of gratitude,” said Jeanette.

Regis Lutwyche is humbled by the words of appreciation from Jeanette. In this respect, we would like to highlight Merline’s service and contribution in education during her lifetime.

“Many of her close friends and past colleagues spoke about Merline’s achievements for education in Queensland, and also as a mentor to her staff and a dearly loved teacher by her students, many of whom were multicultural,” said Jeanette.

Merline Muldoon was born in 1935 in Mackay, Queensland. She was a colourful personage, loved life, and had no intention of ever giving up. At seventeen, after finishing high school, Merline had her first taste of teaching at Kelvin Grove Teachers’ College. A love of inspiring children meant Merline enjoyed her teaching career immensely. In 1964, Merline was appointed to the School of Air in Cloncurry. She flew all over the area on Flying Doctor clinical runs, to meet her students and understand at first hand their family situations.

Merline moved back to Brisbane and became the Principal of Windsor Infants School in 1967 and subsequently Principal of West End Infants School in 1972, where she established a breakfast service for the children who often missed out on breakfast. She also developed multicultural networks and support schemes for underprivileged children.

Merline’s final appointment was at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, where her teaching team often taught in the wards when the children were bed bound. During her appointment there, the Education Department decided the school should be closed and sent a representative to tell Merlin the news. She responded by showing the representative how the school operated and all the correspondence they had with hospital overseas asking for her advice on the program.

“I have no intention of closing this school. It does too much good work and is obviously of world class,” said the visiting gentleman’s final words to Merline.

Professor John of the Queensland Children Hospital, paid tribute to Merline, who was the former Principal of Hospital School at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane for 11 years, from 1984 to 1994.

“To be a teacher is one of the most significant of all professions. To be a long serving teacher of sick and injured children, and of young people with disabilities, is a calling above all praise,” said Professor John.

During her professional lifetime, Merline’s outstanding service and leadership was recognised by her peers. She was elected as a Fellow both of the Queensland Institute of Education Administrators and of the Australian College of Educational Administrators. The Queensland Teachers Union named one of the rooms at its head office in Brisbane “Merline Muldoon”, in her honour.

Merline holds a special place in the history and heritage of the Children’s Hospital in Queensland. Her memory also holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the thousands of children and their families who were privileged to be taught by her; in the teachers with whom she taught; and in the broader world of childhood education, whose status were advanced by her advocacy, service and leadership.

In their relationship as sisters, Jeanette and Merline shared a close bond despite their many differences and lively arguments. Jeanette said Merline had a heart of gold.

“Not many sisters would take their long service leave to entertain her two-year old nephew while I coped with a newborn baby,” said Jeanette. Merline also stepped into the breach when the inevitable family emergencies happened while Jeanette was working overseas.

“I loved Merlin all my heart. I will miss my big sister forever” said Jeanette.

Jeanette sums up about Regis Lutwyche – “Regis Lutwyche is the most pleasant aged care facility. From the cheery receptionists who always greet one by name with ready smiles, all personnel greet visiting families and friends positively, with a willingness to be of service. The modern, comfortable, airy design is calming and peaceful for both residents and visitors. One is justified in feeling confident to entrust dearly loved family members into your care.“

(Reproduced with permission from Jeanette H.)