Gerry en Minny van Wersch

1955

In 1955 vertrok het echtpaar Gerard van Wersch met zijn jonge bruid Maria Engelen naar Australië. Aan boord van de Sibajak namen zij beiden zwaaiend afscheid van Nederland, van broers en zussen, ouders en vrienden.

australie-terry Tijdens de reis naar het verre land, mocht het echtpaar, ondanks dat zij getrouwd waren, niet in één hut samen verblijven. Nee, de mannen moesten bij de mannen en de vrouwen bij de vrouwen.
Op de foto staat Maria met een tas in haar arm. Die tas zou 58 jaar, in 2013, tentoongesteld worden op een Immigration Exhibition in het verre Australië.
minnie-tasIn dat land werd Gerard omgedoopt tot Gerry en Maria werd Minny. Zij kregen vijf kinderen.

In 1955 Gerard van Wersch and his young bride left Holland for Australia. Both are seen waving goodbye to their loved ones. They sailed with the Sibajak. On board they were not allowed to stay in the same cabin. So the men would stay with the men, the women with the women. On the picture you see that Minnie is carrying a bag. The bag on the picture right is the same one that is resting on her arm in the photo, only 58 years later on display during a Immigration Exhibition.
In Australia Gerard was mentioned Gerry and Maria became Minny..

bron: hun dochter Mary-Lou Terry-van Wersch

1978

In het Limburgs Dagblad van 14 februari 1978 stond een artikel over Minny die vanuit Australië naar Simpelveld ging vanwege de gouden bruiloft van haar ouders. limb-dgbl-14021978

SIMPELVELD-“Sneeuw, heerlijke sneeuw”, Een nog jeugdig uitziende vrouw springt uitgelaten in de sneeuw rond en klapt in haar handen. tot vermaak van haar mede passagiers met wie zij het toestel uit Australië op luchthaven SchiphoI verlaten had. Minny van Wersch-Engelen keerde even later voor het eerst sinds ruim 23 jaar terug op het ouderlijk nest, de monumentale boerderij/molen “Bulkemshoeve” uit 1753 in Simpelveld om daar samen met haar ouders hun gouden bruiloft te vieren.

Nadat zij als 21 jarige, de agrariër Sjir van Wersch uit Hommerich (Mechelen) had getrouwd, emigreerde het paar naar Australië. Het kwam terecht in Benalla in de staat Victoria en daar woont het nog steeds. De gouden eieren die veel emigranten denken te vinden als ze emigreren. waren er niet Het was hard werken geblazen. Om het wonen in de ijzeren hutten van woonkampen te voorkomen, ging men bij de boer werken, die voor huizen voor het personeel zorg droeg. Na enkele jaren boerderij had Sjir het gezien. Hij ging op een grote graafmachine werken waarmee waterreservoirs werden aangelegd. Na weer enkele jaren kwam hij in een fabriek voor zaden, waar hij 11 jaar werkte en het tot ploegbaas bracht. Pas 3,5 jaar geleden hakte hij de knoop door en werd zelfstandig. Hij zit nu vooral in de wegenbouw. Zijn oudste zoon is aannemer van metselwerk en z’n drie dochters zitten op kantoor. Alleen de jongste Leo is nog thuis en verzorgt o.a. de beide prachtige windhonden Chips en Bow. Deze honden komen uit in rennen. Bijna iedere dag is er een wedstrijd, er wordt geweldig gewed. Een pup uit zo’n windhondennest kost rond de f 10.000.

Behalve in het huishouden waren Minny en de kinderen ook nog jaren aktief op de 18 hectaren land die het paar genomen had om kippen, ganzen en eenden te houden. Twaalf jaar geleden bouwde men een riant landhuis. Sjir wil een nog groter huis. Minny is tegen. Als men thuiskomt wordt hierover beslist. Dat duurt nog 7 weken.

Het buurmeisje van Minny in Simpelveld, Jeanny Brouwers, is ook haar “buurmeisje” in Australië. Ze komen geregeld bij elkaar op de koffie ofschoon zij toch nog zo’n 200 km van elkaar afwonen. Geen van de kinderen is nog getrouwd. Allen komen in het weekeinde naar huis ook over een afstand van ruim 200 km. De meisjes moeten wel naar de stad. In Benalla is geen werk voor hen. Minny: “Voor enkele jaren werd de vrouw nog erg achtergesteld bij de man vooral wat betaling betreft. Nu krijgen ze vrijwel hetzelfde als ze hetzelfde presteren”.

In 1955 vertrokken Gerard en een zwangere Minnie van Wersch-Engelen naar Australië waar zij in juni aankwamen. Gerard was de jongste van veertien kinderen. In Australië kregen zij vijf kinderen (op de foto links): Willie, Josie, Mary- Lou, Doreen en Leo. Gerard en Minnie kregen vijf kleinkinderen. Op de foto rechts:
Ben van Wersch (van Leo), Sarah en Luke Terry (van Mary-Lou), Chloe van Wersch (van Leo ) en Kirby Alexander (van Josie)
 In 1955 Gerard and (the pregnant) Minie van Wersch-Engelen left for Australia where they arrived juni 1955. Gerard came from a family of 14 children. In Australia they got five children. On the picture left: Willie, Josie, Mary-Lou, Doreen and Leo. Gerard and Minie got five grandchildren. O the picture right: Ben van Wersch (Leo’s son), Sarah Terry (Mary-Lou’s daughter), Luke Terry (Mary-Lou’s son), Chloe van Wersch (Leo’s daughter) and Kirby Alexander (Josie’s daughter).

Thanks to Mary-Lou Terry – van Wersch 

2010

Mary-Lou is top citizen
Mary-Lou Terry was announced as Benalla Rural City’s Citizen of the Year at the Australia  Day awards ceremony yesterday. Ms Terry was presented with the award by Mayor  Bill Hill during a ceremony at  the BPACC yesterday, with Young Citizen of  the Year Mitchell Stafford also being acknowledged. Mr Hill lauded the spirit of Benalla and district, saying the award winners and nominees represented a proud and confident community. “We all greatly appreciate the time and talent award winners and nominees have contributed for the good of others,” he said.”Our community could not achieve what it does without their outstanding efforts.”The Benalla Rural City Community Event Of the Year went to the Mick Rodger Act to D-Feet MND initiative, which last year raised more than $ 32.000 for research into Motor Neurone Disease with participation from about 1200 community member.

BENALLA RURAL CITY CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD:
MARY-LOU TERRY

Born in Benalla, Mary-Lou was educated at St Joseph’s Primary School and later attended Benalla High School. Apart from leaving Benalla as a 16 year old to work for several years in Melbourne, and a further two years travelling, Mary-Lou has remained a Benalla resident. To say Mary-Lou is parochial to Benalla is an understatement. Mary-Lou has been involved in too many aspects of Benalla to list. She is well known in the sporting community, particularly basketball, including playing, coaching and fostering the development of young players. Even now Mary-Lou can be seen playing basketball at the age of 50!
However, it is Mary-Lou’s volunteer work that is the primary reason for this award.
The past year alone Mary-Lou has been, and still is, involved in the following activities.
* Emergency Child Foster Care (Upper Murray Family Care):- This program cares for children from age 0-16 who for whatever reason find themselves without a roof to live under, or even just needing respite from their circumstances. Mary-Lou’s ongoing commitment to this program has seen a number of the children that have been under Mary-Lou’s care grow up and continue to maintain contact because Mary-Lou has inspired and motivated them to achieve more than may have been likely.
* Benalla Tourism Committee: – with a passion for tourism in the Benalla area, Mary-Lou has worked tirelessly to promote many levels of tourism for Benalla; including the recent Benalla Festival – providing the ‘famous’ Teddy Bear picnic and face painting.
* Benalla Lakeside Craft Market Committee: – The Benalla Lakeside Craft Market Committee is a not for-profit organisation that provides a monthly market in Benalla. The proceeds of the markets go to various charities and promotions for the Benalla area. Past recipients have included the Skate ‘n’ Jam and Balloon Night Glow events.

* Independent Person, Independent Third Person and YRIPP (Youth Referral and Independent Person Program):- This is a volunteer service provided to assist adults, children and people with a mental impairment when being interviewed or providing statements to police. It includes the provision of assistance, advocacy, and reassurance, within the court process. Since taking on this multi faceted role Mary-Lou has travelled to Shepparton, Benalla and Wangaratta on numerous occasions, often in the middle of the night to support people through this program.
Mary-Lou is a mother of two teenagers, one at Benalla College and the other at Bendigo University and amongst all her commitments still finds time for paid employment.
Mary-Lou Terry is an inspirational and motivated person. We acknowledge her passion for making Benalla a better place to live, and celebrate her many achievements in helping those that need support within our community.

bron: Benalla Ensign 27 january 2010

2011

mary lou davis - van wersch

Benalla’s Mary Lou Terry is our district’s sole recipient of the Order of Australia award for 2011.
Mary Lou said she thought twice when asked whether she would accept the award, before deciding it could be useful in raising awareness of the need for more local foster families.
‘‘There are other foster carers out there who have been doing this twice as long as I have,’’ she said. ‘‘They all deserve a medal.’’ Citizen of the Year for Benalla Rural City in 2010, Mary Lou has been an emergency foster carer for Upper Murray Family Care since 2004 and has been a member of the Foster Care Association of Victoria since 2005.
As well as her administrative role four days a week with Benalla Rural City, Mary Lou works as an volunteer ‘independent person’.
This means she is on call all hours to attend police stations from Shepparton to Wangaratta to act as an advocate to under-18-year-olds. She is also sometimes called on to act as an ‘independent third person’, to act as an advocate to those with an intellectual disability.

Mary Lou Terry was born to Dutch parents and grew up in the Reef Hills as the middle of five children. She attended St Joseph’s Primary School and Benalla High School before leaving for Melbourne at 16.
The natural mother of two and foster parent to many others, said her children, Sarah, 21, and Luke, 18, are her greatest achievement.
Her partner Robert – the long-suffering one, according to Ms Terry – has played an important role in foster care.
‘‘He is great with the kids – whether it’s kicking a footy or playing cricket, he enjoys playing with the little kids,’’ she said.
Patience and a great sense of humour are some of the attributes Mary Lou says make a good foster parent.
‘‘You are willing to offer your home to a person you haven’t even met before,’’ she said.
‘‘To provide a safe place for a child … all the things we take for granted.
‘‘It’s not all hard work there’s a lot of good stuff.’’
 
 bron: Benalla Ensign 15 juni 2011 

2014: Inmiddels getrouwd met Robert Davis.

De overheid van Australië schreef:

Mrs Mary-Lou TERRY, 
For service to young people as a foster carer.

Emergency Foster Carer, Upper Murray Family Care, since 2004. Member, The Foster Care Association of Victoria, since 2005.

Volunteer, Independent Person and Independent Third Person, the Youth Referral and Independent Person Program and Independent Third Person Program, since 2009.
Current Secretary, Benalla Lakeside Craft Market Committee; Executive Member, for 8 years. Member, Benalla Tourism Committee, since 2009.

Awards/recognition include:
Citizen of the Year, Benalla Rural City, 2010.

2016

Willie van Wersch

Willie Van Wersch was born and educated in Benalla and raised on a farm in the Reef Hills, moving into town at the age of nine. At 17 he moved to Melbourne to chase a career in basketball and worked in the building industry. After a short time, he moved back to Benalla and stared working as a bricklayer. He continued playing basketball and soccer. He is now a property developer and businessman with ongoing projects in and around Benalla. He is currently involved on the board of Winton Motor Raceway and Wangaratta Hotrod Association. He describes himself as hardworking and always committed to lifting the profile of Benalla and surrounding area. He says he attributes his success to simple common sense.

bron: Benalla Ensign, oktober 2016

Willie is daarnaast een fervent racer. Hij zit dan ook in de Benalla Auto Club. Daarnaast is hij ook councillor in de Gemeenteraad van Benalla.

Klik hier voor Gerard en Maria van Wersch-Engelen in de Kerkraadse Tak.
Klik hier voor zoon Willie van Wersch in de Kerkraadse Tak.
Klik hier voor dochter Mary-Lou Davis-van Wersch in de Kerkraadse Tak.

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