The women many called “the Angel of Northbridge” passed away on June 1, 2014.
A Memorial Service for Elsie will be held at St Marks Church,
Tunks St, Northbridge on Sunday 15 June at 12.00 noon.
There will be an afternoon tea at her home at St Marks Church Hall, after the service.
For children who grew up in Northbridge in 1980 – 2010, most would have known Elsie either through scripture classes or chess coaching at the primary school, or as the “Great Recycler” of Northbridge, whose front porch was rarely empty of toys, clothes, books, furniture and household goods. These items were cleaned, repaired and distributed to charities, half-way houses, refuges for victims of domestic violence, aboriginal communities and many other worthy groups.
The Christmas excursion by the local pre-schoolers to Elsie’s house – to view the repaired toys before they were sent to new homes – was a highlight for many young children of our suburb.
All are welcome.
Enquiries please call Anna Bolton 9958 5556
Elsie Kaye – the Angel of Northbridge
(by Margaret Raby – The 202, February 2011, extract)
Elsie Kaye was born in February, 1919 and moved to Namoi Rd, Northbridge with her parents and two older brothers in 1930. She had lived in the same house ever since. Her brothers Eric and Ron eventually married and moved away. Elsie remained at home to care for her invalid mother while holding a full time job in the Australian Taxation Office. Her mother died in 1960 and Elsie then took care of her father who lived into his 90s.
Making soft toys
During her father’s final years his eyesight began to fail, so Elsie started to make soft toys for him to stuff, thereby giving him an interest.
That was the start of Elsie’s “toy collection”, which went on to become a huge endeavour. People all around brought toys, clothing, household goods, even furniture for Elsie (and helpers) to sort out and send off to various organisations and charity groups all over the world, including countries such as Africa, Fiji, Russia.
Elsie did a lot for the Aboriginal people in Redfern. She was well loved in that area where she would go by bus and train to visit and to find out how she could help. She also looked after the older people in her area of Northbridge and, although she was by then in her 70s, she would gather as many as possible into her home every Saturday evening to enjoy a home-cooked roast dinner. If any of the elderly folk could not get there due to illness she would take their dinner to them.
Elsie had a great sense of humour, always willing to laugh at herself. She had a strong Christian faith which had helped her through many sad events in her life. Elsie had been a staunch member of St Mark’s Church in Northbridge for many years. She also taught Scripture at St Mark’s kindergarten for a number of years.
Hampers at Christmas
Christmas was a busy time for Elsie and her helpers. The toys would be set out for different groups to come and choose whatever they wanted. She also made up food hampers with everything in them to make up a nice Christmas dinner for people who wouldn’t otherwise have one.
Shortly before Christmas the kindergarten children from St Mark’s would troop to Elsie’s house each with a gift to donate for children less fortunate than themselves. They would run through the house playing with every toy they could find and then would be treated to cake, ice-cream and soft drinks in Elsie’s back garden. This was an annual event enjoyed as much by Elsie as by the children.
Elsie had always put others before herself. Her whole life had been in the service of others. Elsie was much loved by her family and her many friends.
Elsie Margaret Kaye was awarded a prestigious Citizen of the Year award by Willoughby City Council in 1986.
In 1991, the Rotary Club of Northbridge awarded Elsie, the Rotary International’s highest honour, a “Paul Harris Fellowship”.