When Lee turned 72 she fulfilled a long-held ambition of working with silver. She started with a course at the Ballarat University of the Third Age and now makes pendants and rings, which she sells at the Ararat Visitors Information Centre. Her work is impressive and she particularly loves working with stones.

Lee has always lived an adventurous life. Born in Adelaide, Lee trained as a teacher. This took her to Thailand, the first stint for two years in the mid-sixties and the second for 11 years in the seventies. She married and had two daughters, finishing her time in Bangkok as vice principal at a British school for expats.

Lee returned to Adelaide to teach in the New Arrivals program, working mainly with Khmer and Vietnamese refugees. She moved to Victoria in the late eighties, first teaching in a country primary school and later at the University of Ballarat teaching English as a Second Language to adult migrants and refugees. She says this was the best part of her career and she is still in touch with many of her former students.

Lee started volunteering while still working part-time – first at a local aged care facility and then at the Ararat Visitor Information Centre, where she’s been for the past eight years.

She retired three years ago when she turned 70 and signed up for U3A Ararat courses, where she’s been president and then secretary for the past three years. Lee loves that Ararat is an active community with lots of options for getting involved.

Lee’s long-term plan is to stay healthy and active. She wants to expand her jewellery business to local craft markets and to build up her catalogue of photos. And she’ll always be up for experiencing new places.

These stories celebrate the contributions and diversity of people who are part of the Victorian Seniors Festival.