One of Wanneroo’s favourite daughters, Lola Gibbs, passes aged 88

Lola Gibbs.
Lola Gibbs.

ON Friday June 1, Wanneroo lost one of its favourite daughters when Lola Gibbs died after a sudden battle with cancer.

She was 88.

After meeting her future husband Ken Gibbs at a Wanneroo dance in 1950, Lola and Ken were married in the Perth Wesley Church, on October 13 1951.

They were to have six children, Leonie, Michelle, John, Leonard and Andrea; in July 1957 they lost a baby son.

The young couple started their married life together by leasing a small plot of Yanchep swampland for 10 shillings a week and growing vegetables.

Ken supplemented the family income by securing part time work at Yanchep Park.

Sadly, Ken died in 2010, after 59 years of happily married life.

However, their main home, which was named after Ken’s father, appears as ‘The Aubrey Gibbs Home’ on the City of Wanneroo register of Heritage Places.

Work on the house started in 1919, and despite some mishaps it was completed in 1921.

Part of the main ceiling beams were salvaged from the ship Alex T Brown, which ran aground a little south of Wreck Point in 1917.

In 2002, Lola’s lifetime of community service and involvement was acknowledged by the City of Wanneroo, when she was presented with her 50 Year Plaque at the Annual Pioneer Luncheon.

Lola has served on many committees and helped her community in many ways, including driving the Yanchep School Bus 32 years, picking up children from outlying areas and taking them to the Yanchep Primary School.

On one occasion a young girl was accompanied by her mother and grandmother to see her safely on her first ride on Lola’s school bus.

The little girl was apprehensive about catching such a big bus but was comforted by her mother.

“You will be safe on this bus, as Mrs Gibbs is very nice and drives very carefully,” the mother said.

“She used to drive me to school, when I was young.”

The Grandmother added, “Mrs Gibbs used to drive grandma to school, too.”

On another occasion during a violent storm, Lola’s bus was suddenly confronted by a shed whipped up by a mini cyclone and thrown across the road, narrowly missing her bus.

Lola was a charter member of the Wanneroo Historical Society and served many years on the society’s main committee, including one formed by her daughter Leonie, in the early 1990s to research the 10th Light Horse’s Wanneroo coastal patrols and history during World War II.

Because of the committee’s work, a recommendation to the Wanneroo council, supported by the Federal Government, saw the Wanneroo 10th Light Horse Commemorative Trail established by 2004 and opened by Wanneroo mayor Jon Kelly.

Lola, Ken and Leonie played significant roles in the research.

Lola also served on the Gloucester Lodge Museum Committee and spent many years a guide at the Cockman House Museum.

Lola and her close friend Iris Harris started the 1st Yanchep Cubs and Scouts.

At her funeral service Lola’s daughter Andrea said Lola was the first person she and her siblings ever trusted, the first person they ever loved, and someone who offered them many pearls of wisdom.

“If we were having a bad day and complaining Mum would say, ‘We need to go to Bunnings’.”

Lola Gibbs will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

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