Remembering Brenda Triffitt

Brenda Triffitt.

CONTINUING the special series of articles by Steve Balmforth, remembering three local identities who have passed away in recent months: George Menzie, Noel Taylor and Brenda Triffitt.

Earlier this week we had the life story of George Menzie. Today’s feature recalls the life of Brenda Triffitt, to be followed by Noel Taylor over the weekend.

Brenda Elizabeth Triffitt (nee Rainbird)
16 July 1940 – 28 May 2019
Brenda was the eldest daughter of Tom and Daisy Rainbird. She grew up on the Glenleith property at Plenty with her brothers Gerald, Graeme, Wayne (deceased) and Stephen, and sister Kaylene.

Brenda attended the Plenty State School, the same “university” that her cousin the late George Menzie attended. It was here that she found her calling as a teacher and with her parents’ support she was sent to board in Hobart, where she attended Hobart High School. This was seen as a unique experience for a girl who had previously spent her all her life on a farm.

Brenda did extremely well at school and went on to study education at college in Launceston. She obtained her Tasmanian Teachers Certificate in 1958 and Bachelor of Education in 1984. As a primary school teacher, vice principal, and principal, she enjoyed a distinguished professional career that spanned some 55 years from 1959. She retired from teaching in 2014, aged a remarkable 74 years old.

Brenda and husband of nearly 60 years, Ian, were well known for their gardening prowess, having established Rosedown, a nationally recognised two-hectare English country garden specialising in heritage roses on the banks of the River Derwent at New Norfolk.

The Rainbird Clan on a trip down memory lane a few years ago
to the Glenleith property where they grew up. Brenda Triffitt is
second from right.

The couple joined Australia’s Open Gardens Scheme, which saw thousands of local, interstate and overseas people visit their garden on the outskirts of the town.

Rosedown has been featured on two occasions on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia with Peter Cundall and most recently with Costa Georgiadis last year.

Brenda always cherished family and belonging to family. She was extremely proud of her Rainbird–McMahon heritage. She and Ian were always full of pride for their three children Jacqueline, Jeff and Mark and their families, including seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Brenda was a valued member of the Derwent Valley community, not least for her role in educating three generations of local families. She supported Cancer Council Tasmania, the Red Cross, the Heart Foundation, St Matthew’s Anglican Church Guild and Vestry and The Flower Room co-op in Hobart. She also served as president of the Derwent Valley Probus Club until succumbing to illness.

“Brenda will always be fondly remembered with a bunch of freshly cut flowers in one hand and a potted plant in the other, and with a keen eye on her latest kitchen creation in the oven – a remarkable sister, friend and community leader,” her brother Stephen said.

Donations to cancer research were accepted at Brenda’s funeral service, which was held at St Matthew’s Anglican Church on June 3. Condolences to all her family and friends.


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