Barbara Wells was born in Smithton on September 23, 1959, the fifth child to Ray and Lucy Wells.
As her brothers and sisters – Ian, Daryl, Heather, Lynette and Gary – would say: she was a handful.
In fact, Heather recalls Barb always reckoned she was adopted.
Being the second youngest child, Barb thought it her duty to teach her baby brother Gary how to set up a roster of who’s doing the dishes and when. After constant arguing and no agreement Barb thought that smashing a plate over Gary’s head would solve the disagreement. It did, but not in Barb’s favour – she ended up the only one on the roster.
Barb spent her childhood days growing up on farms at Montagu, Scopus and Togari before moving to John Street.
She was educated at Smithton primary then high school.
Barb had a good attendance record at school, except for one day when staying with Daryl and Jean.
Barb woke up and said to Jean, “I feel dreadful, I don’t think I can make school”. So Jean tucked her up and pampered her. In the afternoon Barb was running around outside and Jean said, “Are you feeling better?”
As quick as a flash Barb replied, “Not really sick I just didn’t want to go – tricked ya!”
Barb was a fit and active youngster and enjoyed many sports including softball, hockey, badminton and basketball.
After leaving school Barb’s first job was at Joe and Mardi Billing’s milk bar and then on to Hugo’s Bakery, helping with the front of shop serving and assisting with the baking of pastries and slices; she loved cooking.
Being in the workforce created opportunities to meet people and a young mechanic took her eye. So much so that Barb married Christopher David Wells on November 24, 1979. ‘Bomber’ proved his worth, even to the extent of laying the last piece of carpet in the bedroom of their new home at 16 William Street on their wedding day, finishing at 3pm. The wedding was at 4.
What an inseparable pair they made. Being Miss Wells and becoming Mrs Wells created enormous complications for the banks and lenders alike.
Three beautiful daughters then arrived: Kate in Smithton, Jessica at Port Latta and Rebecca in Burnie. As Gary said to Barb, “Go for three more and you’ll end up in Hobart!”
As time went on the partners Colin, Mark and Leigh were welcomed to the family. And didn’t Barb love the grandchildren Connor, Kiera, Torah, Eli and Ella.
Barb also cared for and loved her nieces and nephews and their families.
Amongst all the fun times in Barb’s life she also endured some sad times, including the early passing of her mother Lucy and sister Lynette.
In her lifetime, Barb had many attributes and took on many different roles.
She was kind, caring, loving, a great cook, craft maker, ideas girl, businesswoman, secretary, chatterer, joker, prankster, partygoer, nurse, flower lover, community volunteer, babysitter, fantastic wife, mum and nan, helper, innovator, taxi driver and the list goes on.
Barb was a foundation member of the Rotaract Club and then she found she didn’t have time to be on any other committees because Bomber was on so many and she supported him, backing the saying that behind every good man there is an even better woman.
With Bomber’s involvement on committees such as Apex, Circular Head Community and Recreation Centre, Central Outdoor Area Management and Relay for Life, just to name a few, Barb’s tireless work behind the scenes was invaluable; her organising and catering skills came to the fore.
Barb was Bomber’s ‘right hand man’ especially in their milk delivery business. Bomber said she was a real good employee, although she did complain that Bomber took too long making deliveries as he talked too much on his rounds. Funnily, Bomber was often seen sitting waiting in the truck for Barb.
Barb was always active in the school community as parent help, assisting at athletic and swim carnivals, cross country events, wherever there was a need she put her hand up.
She was also heavily involved with the girls’ sporting activities, at hockey you would see her working in the canteen, always had the oranges ready at half time, there’d be a regular supply of bandaids and hairbands just in case and she could be heard cheering loudly on the sidelines.
Barb was a fantastic cook, she could turn a meal for two into a banquet for 20, her generosity was continually displayed by providing food for people experiencing tough times.
One of the greatest gifts Barb and Bomber gave the community was decorating their house and garden with lights at Christmas time. Thousands of lights adorn trees, fences, windows and the roof line. There, she was in the traditional elf suit handing out chocolates and lollies to anyone that came by.
Barb would make 500 chocolates during this time and also delivered the treats to Emmerton Park and Giggles Early Learning.