Daughter of Richard and Dorothy Deane, Anne was born on March 14, 1915 at the family home at Deanshaven, on the eastern shore of Kootenay Lake, the fourth of seven children. Anne spent most of her childhood there, except for four years at a boarding school in England. She left Deanshaven on a more-or-less permanent basis in the mid-1930s to study French and orthopedic nursing in Switzerland. But she never lost her love for or connection to the Kootenays, returning again and again over the years, before finally settling in Riondel some
sixty years later and completing the last quarter century of her long life in its embrace.
But back to the beginning – upon the outbreak of war she fled the continent (with the sound of guns resounding in her ears) to take up a nursing post at the Royal Cripples Hospital in irmingham (itself the recipient of a direct hit from German bombs during her service).
There she met and married Job Hawkes, a recent Cambridge history graduate and Anglican minister. He took a job with the Flying Angel Mission, an international network of hostels that served as a home away from home for merchant seamen. This took them to the ports of Cardiff and Newport in Great Britain, and, in 1951, to Port-of-Spain in Trinidad.
Anne, arriving in the tropics from grey and war-torn Britain at the age of 36, found herself in paradise. Carnival, steel bands, beautiful beaches, crewing on luggers across the Caribbean, and falling in love with her camera (sadly, all her West Indian photos are lost) were high points in their five years on the island.
And then it was on to another five years on another island on the other side of the globe. Anne and Job, with their two sons, shipped to Australia in 1955 – leaving Port-of-Spain on Anne’s 40 th birthday. Their trip across the Pacific, with stops in Tahiti, Fiji and New Zealand added another chapter to her adventures.
Situated on the 40 th parallel and site of innumerable shipwrecks, King Island is home to ten times as many cattle as people and even more mutton-birds and crayfish. Job took up the position of vicar of the Anglican parish on this 60 kilometre-long windblown, but enormously fertile, outcrop in the middle of Bass Strait. They quickly became deeply engaged in the life of this tiny community. Anne became the chief organiser of their popular parish periodical, ‘Don’t Throw It Away’ – a phrase that encapsulates a significant element of Anne’s approach to life. She knew that everything had a potential further use, even if unapparent at the time.
In 1959, they moved to the parish of Ranelagh in the Huon Valley, Tasmania, at the time a world centre of the production of apples, hops and small fruit. Again Anne quickly adapted to, and embraced, a new community. The next few years saw changes as Job gradually transformed from Anglican minister to history lecturer.
In 1961, Anne did time as Matron of the University of Tasmania’s Christ College before, the following year, they moved to Melbourne were Job became the inaugural Anglican chaplain at what was then Australia’s newest university, Monash. Before long he was a full-time history lecturer as Anne continued her explorations of art and craft.
In 1968, now in their early 50s, Anne and Job’s version of the mid-life crisis was to embrace the hippie life, travelling first up and down Australia’s east coast and then North America from Alaska to the Yucatan in a Volkswagen camper van.
In 1970, they settled in Saint John, New Brunswick, where Job took up a position teaching history at the university. It was here that Anne blossomed as a painter, photographer and creative rugmaker. She exhibited her work, received many commissions and much praise.
They spent the next twenty years in Saint John – or at least that was their postal address. For they travelled far and wide – combining their regular camping explorations of North America’s national parks with many visits to the Kootenays and more than a few overseas journeys. One of these, in 1975, saw a 60 year-old Anne attending the London Art School.
Upon Job’s retirement in 1979, their travelling went up another notch. Anne got to have extended stays on the Kootenay Lake shores, they visited old friends in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Sweden and Britain and, in 1989, celebrated their 50 th wedding anniversary in Saint John by making, for a change, all their friends come to them.
In 1990, and now in their mid-seventies, Anne and Job moved to Riondel where Anne continued her arts and crafts activities while also applying her design talents to her backyard garden. Job passed away in 1998, leaving Anne to live alone which she embraced with her familiar enthusiasm, continuing to garden, dance, draw and paint. In 2002, at age 87, she made her last international trip, this time back to Melbourne. In October 2008, her sister and best friend Katharine died. In hindsight, this was probably the moment at which her gradual withdrawal from the day-to-day began. She had always insisted that her 99 th birthday would be her last, but despite her best efforts, she managed two more. In July and August this year she visited the eastern shore for that last time before, on November 4 th , making her final and peaceful departure.
It is impossible to adequately describe Anne’s contribution to the lives of those that came in contact with her, not least because she regarded herself as insignificant (I once told her a story of an Indian mystic who, after listening to a student tell how keen he was to make a mark on the world, responded by saying that he – the mystic – would be happy if he could, upon departing this earth, demonstrate that he had left no mark at all. Anne completely understood and shared this perspective). Her humility, her desire not to be a burden on others and her intuitive and deeply-held certainty that we are all just ephemeral particles in natural processes that pay no heed to individual achievements led her to consistently discount her own qualities.
Although there is no doubt that Anne was a talented artist, it was something she was uncomfortable acknowledging: rather, she saw herself as a maker – two strapping sons, an efficient and comfortable domestic environment, an adventurous partner for Job, rugs, photographs, paintings, drawings, clothes, gardens and lists (this piece would have been way less informative without access to her extraordinary documentation).
Perhaps Anne’s most fundamental relationship was with wood. She found, enhanced, scraped, sanded and oiled pieces of wood that she liked until they took on their own unique identities.
‘If coming back were an option, I’d return as a Tamarack’. Many of her friends and relations now treasure pieces of Anne’s handiwork as souvenirs of her remarkable life.
She loved to share – not just stuff and stories and food but techniques, tricks and skills. Her last project was to pass on to her granddaughter Lucy her skills and enthusiasm for making stuff.
Anne’s inventiveness, practicality, love of life, enthusiasm, independence, curiosity, and grace will be long celebrated by those with whom she shared her time on this planet.
Anne is survived by her sons Digger and Jonathan, grandchildren Blake and Lucy, daughters-in-law Barb and Suzie (and Ponch), one surviving sister, Barbara, and a huge extended family, most particularly her niece Sylvia who has been her rock for the last twenty years
“Have a good party for my wake” were her last words.
There will be a Celebration of Life in the summer at Deanshaven