QUOTA pays tribute to the work of past member Pauline Cahill

QUOTA Pacific Coast members Di Egan and Margaret Cummings with the club’s donated coffee machine bearing a memorial to the late Pauline Cahill.

A MORNING tea was held recently to celebrate Pauline Cahill, a treasured member of QUOTA Pacific Coast who passed away in March 2023.

QUOTA hosted the tea at Shearwater Lodge with members of the Board attending to share memories.

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Welcoming guests, QUOTA’s Di Egan spoke about Pauline’s willingness and hard work as a quiet achiever.

“Pauline was an enthusiastic, hard worker, becoming involved in the club’s fundraising and community activities from the moment she joined us in 2012.

“She brought a quiet, calming influence at our meetings.

“We will miss her friendship,” said Di.

Warming the hearts of the gathered friends, Di introduced the new coffee machine bearing a citation recognising Pauline’s dedicated support to Shearwater Lodge.

QUOTA member Margaret Cummings had the idea for the club to donate something that is practical.

“Pauline was such a practical person,” said Di.

Recipient of the first coffee brewed by the machine was Pauline’s niece Nerida Holznagel who had travelled from her home in Glen Innes to be at the celebration.

Speaking at the morning tea, Nerida shared some memories of Pauline, her beloved Aunt.

Pauline started her nursing career straight out of high school at Sutherland District Hospital in Caringbah in 1966.

Graduating in 1969 she set sail to Canada on the ship Arcadia in January 1970 aged 21 to join her nursing friends.

“According to my uncle (Pauline’s brother, Philip Cahill), Australian nurses were highly prized internationally for applying their educational theory with hands-on training and had a reputation for being very capable and practical,” Nerida told News Of The Area.

Pauline completed her training towards the end of the ‘starch hat’ era which displayed a nurse’s qualification and experience.

“The stripes were hard earned.”

Pauline was adventurous and spent over a decade fearlessly nursing in the Arctic and SubArctic regions of Canada’s remote north west Territories including the Yukon.

“Inuvik was the coldest and farthest outpost she worked in with conditions in winter, averaging minus 20 degrees dropping at times to minus 40 degrees.

“Her role would involve flying into isolated Inuit outstations to treat patients or aerially transport remote residents back to Inuvik for care.”

She loved the challenge of the wild and harsh conditions and devoted herself to her work.

“Her remote experience exposed her to a variety of unique challenges and she developed into a dynamic and capable nurse prepared to calmly handle the unexpected demands.

“It was a lifestyle for her including looking after an orphaned baby polar bear for a time,” said Nerida.

Pauline returned to Australia in the early 80s when her father became ill after her parents retired to Nambucca Heads and she stayed on to become sister in charge of Emergency including Intensive Care at the former Coffs Harbour Base hospital.

In the 90s she completed further formal University accreditation before moving into overseeing international clinical trials relating to heart disease and became well respected in that field.

Pauline retired in 2011 after a rewarding 45-year full-time nursing career serving the Coffs Harbour community for nearly 30 of those years.

Pauline was a quiet achiever and formed deep and lasting friendships over many years.

In her retirement she continued to travel, play bridge, golf, support her beloved Sydney Swans, and was a dedicated volunteer with the Sawtell Lions Club and QUOTA and its service to Shearwater Lodge.


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