Elizabeth Bridget Raines (née Hake) passed away peacefully on Thursday 10 May 2018 at the age of 76 at Lithgow District Hospital. Libby, as she was affectionately referred to, was the daughter of Elizabeth Cecilia and Herbert Denys Hake. Elizabeth Hake was one of Tara’s most influential and dedicated visionaries and protagonists and Denys Hake was the intelligent Headmaster of The King’s School. Libby, as was the case with her parents, entered the educational scene and served as Nursing Sister in the Tara Boarding House from 1966 to 1971. Following her years at the Boarding House, Libby, together with her husband Keith, moved to Merry Garth at Mount Wilson. The word ‘garth’ is a Middle English (mid 14thC) term with Old Norse origins and means a small enclosed ground, yard or garden. This was the place where their courtship had first begun and where they created a tranquil garden, a garden for all visitors to the Mount Wilson region to enjoy. Together, they nurtured and expanded this garden for the next 35 years. Indeed, it was at Merry Garth that Libby’s love for plants and horticulture was kindled during her childhood, a love that continued throughout her life. Libby cultivated not only the garden itself but the entire community of Mount Wilson. She will always be remembered.
The Hakes enrolled their eldest daughter, Marianne into Miss Waugh’s School on Hassall Street. Libby was also enrolled into the School which at the time had been relocated to All Saints’ Parish Hall following Miss Waugh’s death in 1946. Libby’s memory of her time as a young student at All Saints’ recalled a time when a particular Tara ‘ritual’ involved Miss Menken escorting a chain of Tara students in what became known as the ‘crocodiles of children’ down Victoria Road to the church. (iii) This daily practice continued up to Ellangowan schooldays when it was ceased by Mrs Buck in the early 1950’s when she took office as Headmistress. During a period of instability that the school was experiencing in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Mrs Buck saw fit to cease this practice which had only burdened staff who, underpaid, often endured long daily journeys themselves to get to work.
Memories – Boarding House
In 1966, Libby returned to Tara, now as a staff member, joining the Boarding House as Nursing Sister until 1971. Sister Hake, as she was then known, immersed herself in the scene of boarding life. She was the one who nursed the girls through their illnesses, who shared their joys and sorrows, who took them to dental and doctor appointments and who accompanied them on excursions. Libby learnt all about their families, their homes and pets and “watched them grow into fine, young women.” (iv)
Lifetime commitment to Merry Garth
Libby’s passion for plants and horticulture began way back in her early childhood when her parents would take her and her siblings to Mount Wilson during summer holidays. Libby’s sister, Cecily provides a vivid account of the family’s time at their Mount Wilson cottage retreat. She recalls the family growing potatoes, gooseberries and rhubarb and playing in the bush with her sisters; making cubbies out of tree fern fronds and climbing along fallen logs and walking all over the mountain and down into the creek where yabbies were caught and brought home in a billy to be cooked and eaten. (v) It was here on the mountain that Libby and Keith first met while walking.
In the early 1960’s, the Hakes bought the cottage at Merry Garth and five acres of land. They also added a room onto the cottage, planted a few trees and fenced more of the clearing. (vi) In 1979, Libby and Keith, now married, moved to Merry Garth where they built a family home around the old cottage. Together they built a wonderful and beautiful garden with Libby tending to the small plants, bulbs and all the tiny alpine plants. During her time at Tara’s Boarding House, Libby was given the opportunity to do what she loved most, gardening. Libby planted many bulbs and through much dedicated teamwork, an attractive garden which included a plot of roses soon thrived in the grounds of the School. (vii)
Libby was a very active member of the community of Mount Wilson. She was Treasurer of the Mount Wilson Progress Association, and member of the First Responders group and Mount Wilson Historic Society as well as church warden for St George’s Anglican Church. Libby set up the Bush Care program at Mount Wilson and in 2013 became the recipient of the Golden Trowel Bushcare Legend Award. For all her work, Libby was awarded an OAM in 2006 for her ‘service to the community of Mount Wilson, particularly through a range of environmental, horticultural, civic and church activities.’ (viii)
Regarded as the ‘conscience of the mountain community’ and ‘an absolute stalwart of Mount Wilson’, Libby was well respected by police, ambulance officers and the local community of Mount Wilson. (ix,x) As both a former student and staff member of Tara, Libby’s work and contribution will forever be engraved in our School’s historical timeline. Living in the midst of God’s awesome creation, Libby found her refuge and sanctuary.
i Michael D. De B. Collins Persse. (1996). ‘Hake, Herbert Denys (1894-1975)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Available from http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hake-herbert-denys-10391/text18411
ii Hubbard, B. (1997). All Saints’ Survival Site. In: The Telling of a Tapestry. Tara Anglican School for Girls, North Parramatta, pp.115-116.
iii ibid. p. 119.
iv Hubbard, Chapter 10, pp. 194 -195.
v Halliday, A. (2018). Around the Mounts - In Memoriam: Libby Raines (p.6). The Mounts [Internet]. 2018, July (cited 2019 Feb 8). Available from: https://www.mtwilson.com.au/community-newsletters
vi The Community Website of Mount Wilson and Mount Irvine (2018). Merry Garth. Retrieved from https://www.mtwilson.com.au on 25 January 2019.
vii Hubbard, Chapter 9, p. 162.
viii Halliday, p. 8.
ix ibid. p. 8.
x The Government of New South Wales. Parliament of NSW. Legislative Assembly. (2018). Community Recognition Statements – Tribute to Libby Raines OAM (Hansard). Available from https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1323879322-102671