Face of Cottage

Andrew Mathieson
THOUSANDS of Geelong residents would already know Beverly Davies’ face even though they’ve never crossed paths.
The unassuming 60yearold has unwittingly stepped into Cat Cameron Ling’s breach this year as the face of Geelong’s most frequently used publication.
Beverly now cringes at her own image staring back from the front of the 2007 phone book.
She sometimes glances briefly but tries to look away.
“We have to keep our phone book in a drawer,” she chuckles.
The Mannerim resident was only too happy at first to promote Queenscliff’s Cottage by the Sea on the Yellow and White Pages cover.
Months later she posed for the balcony photo but only after believing the phone book would also feature several other charities.
“I still feel slightly embarrassed,” Beverly admits.
“It’s not something I feel really comfortable about but I see the benefit to the cottage: more recognition, more interest in the community and knowledge about us.”
Cottage by the Sea has provided relief care and welcome holidays for children recovering from illnesses since 1890.
The cottage bought land near the sea at Queenscliff and now has expanded to eight state branches.
A name change to break away from the antiquated Ministering Children’s League coincided with Beverly’s handson involvement a decade ago.
Her first job with the cottage was a reluctant role for the 1975 annual fair.
“One of my neighbours asked me whether I would mind baking some cakes,” Beverly recalls.
“That was a bit of a joke because no one thinks I can bake.”
Now she organises the fair for the third weekend of January every year and has been busy preparing for next month’s dinner dance and auction.
Beverly’s helping nature traces back to a small country school outside Hamilton.
One of only four grade six pupils, she was asked to teach the preps to help the only teacher.
“We weren’t even that much older than them,” Beverly grins, “but I just loved it.”
Beverly’s parents were fourthgeneration landowners, allowing her the privilege of boarding school. She went on to teach economics, accounting and legal studies.
Her first role as a naive teacher at a Melbourne girls’ high school was a rude awakening.
“It was in an area that drew on young people who were not particularly advantaged,” she remembers.
“The girls used to come to school all black and blue. I’d ask them whether they’d had another fall off their horse.
“I used to think they should take more care.”
The motheroffour is wiser nowadays but still prefers to talk more passionately about the children at the cottage than the publicity she has generated as Queenscliff branch president.
“Anyone could sit here and say they’ve done a lot for the cottage, really,” she concludes.

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