A pinch of mischief

Smithton District Hospital’s Dianne Reeman (centre) has been farewelled by her colleagues including Sandra Kay (left) and Christene Clarkson after four decades at the local hospital. Picture: Ashleigh Force. 

Reflection. Known and loved for her teacake and scones, Dianne Reeman’s recipes will be cherished by her Smithton District Hospital colleagues as she enters her retirement this week.

Dianne started working at the region’s only hospital 40 years ago, on July 29, 1976.

Prior to this she had worked for six years in the kitchen at Oakley House – now known as GLO Ministries in Smithton.

Dianne’s colleagues describe her as a ‘Jack of all trades’ tending to many roles in the past four decades, having started out in the wards.

However most often Dianne could be found busily scooting around the kitchen preparing three course meals for patients, staff and the Meals on Wheels program from as early as 6.30am.

Outlasting eight bosses and surviving three renovations and one tornado, Dianne’s sense of humour, passion and love shows through in her cooking.

“I taught myself [to cook], with some help from the good old Central Cookery Book.”

Christene Clarkson, who has worked alongside Dianne for 30 years, says the pair have shared many amusing moments.

“I remember one day, she had made this beautiful sponge cake,” Christene recalls fondly.

“And when she took it out of the oven it just fell!

“She had used the wrong flour, we laughed about it for ages.”

Hearing Dianne reminisce on four decades worth of memories, she could be mistaken as the cause of much mischief.

“The first few years especially were a lot of fun. Remember when Doctor Lad was here,” she said turning to Christene. “We used to have lots of fun playing tricks on him!”

It is this easy going friendship that Dianne will miss.

“I’ll miss the company the most and you become attached to the old folks.

“Everybody sticks together, it’s a small area so everybody knows everybody and we all just bounce off each other,” she said before reluctantly adding: “And I suppose I will miss the work after a while. But I won’t miss getting up at 5.45am!”

Hanging up her hairnet and apron on Friday (October 19), Dianne is looking forward to enjoying time with her three grandchildren, Ruby, 6, Oliver, 4, and Indiana, 1.

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