The lady with the flower in her hair- Iris Campbell
Those of you who frequented the Airlie Beach Hotel for a beer from 1968-93, you were probably served by Iris. The lady with the hibiscus flowers behind her ear.
Iris was the perfect barmaid. She always remembered a man’s usual beer and kept an eye out on the local young lads at the night club.
It was just by chance that Iris ended up in Proserpine.
Born in Aramac, Iris Evelyn McPhie, ventured north from Sydney by train, road and boat to work at Daydream Island. Dreaming of a working life on a tropical island, she was disappointed to find the huts had dirt floors and not as luxurious as she had imagined.
Waiting for a train south from Proserpine Iris found she knew the proprietor of the Metropole Hotel and so began her life in Proserpine.
Iris married Archie Campbell in Atherton in 1946 and bought the West End Store, serving ice blocks, ice creams and providing a friendly service at their very popular corner store. Iris developed asthma and she and Archie moved to Airlie Beach.
Archie passed away in 1972 and later Ernest Cale (known locally as Wombat) became a wonderful supportive partner who she shared 30 yrs with till her passing in 2011.
Iris was known locally for her dress making skills and fancy work often submitting her needlework at the local Agricultural Show in Proserpine.
Iris and Wom were much loved by many. Iris was such a petite lady. One look from Iris and many a tradie or drinker was pulled into gear. Iris had her favourite chair at the bar and following retirement she and Wombat would be seen on a Saturday afternoon sitting having a cold Fosters or piccolo champagne with orange and sharing out her homemade sandwiches.
Iris was so loved and admired that when she was buried from St Catherine’s Church in Proserpine the church was overflowing.