GRACIOUS LADY: Valerie Bondfield allowed visitors into Palgrove during various open gardens.
GRACIOUS LADY: Valerie Bondfield allowed visitors into Palgrove during various open gardens. Contributed

Farewelling Mrs Valerie Bondfield

VALERIE Bondfield lived a rich and full life with family and friends coming together recently to celebrate the Dalveen stalwart's many achievements.

The 87-year-old mother of four and grandmother of 10 passed away on July 14. She will be remembered as a strong-willed, hard-working country woman with an abundance of energy.

David Bondfield believed his mother had lived a full life. Valerie Bondfield (nee Garnock) was born July 28, 1930, at Kuringai on her family's cattle and sheep property near Bombala in southern NSW's Snowy River region.

Young Valerie Bondfield
Young Valerie Bondfield Contributed

She moved to the Granite Belt with the love of her life, the late Peter Bondfield, in 1953, where they managed and later owned property in Dalveen.

"At that time, it was quite a major move moving from southern New South Wales to Queensland,” third child David said.

"It was quite a lovely story, them having the opportunity to come to Queensland to manage a property and subsequently bought that property and developed it to being very well known.”

It was not the first time Valerie had been to the Granite Belt. Her mother, Helen, was the daughter of AFC Rogerson of Pikedale near Stanthorpe, where Valerie spent many holidays.

Valerie met Peter at the age of 21 playing polocrosse in Bombala.

Valerie and her late husband Peter Bondfield.
Valerie and her late husband Peter Bondfield. Contributed

A year later the pair were married at a Darling Point church in Sydney before starting their new life at "Palgrove” which became an internationally recognised name in the sheep and cattle industries.

As Peter became part of various organisations in the community, Valerie was never far behind.

They were involved with the Agricultural Show Society, the Apple and Grape, open gardens scheme and Pony Club.

Valerie riding side saddle
Valerie riding side saddle Contributed

"My father was always announcing, mum was always getting kids organised and ready,” David said.

"Mum was quite self-evasive but extremely strong.

"She was the glue that kept the family - in terms of she wasn't the front man but she always there making sure every detail was covered.

"She worked hard on the property but was always a lady and always gracious.

"But she always made sure no one was left in the cold.”

The Bondfield family at the Stanthorpe Show in 1968 (Valerie is second from the right).
The Bondfield family at the Stanthorpe Show in 1968 (Valerie is second from the right). Contributed

Valerie had a lifelong involvement in the show society in different sections including sheep, spinning and weaving, cooking and equestrian. She even helped judge in some sections.

On top of that she started up a craft shop on the property "Starthgarve” near Dalveen where she and a group of friends sold plaited leather belts, home-spun and hand-knitted jumpers, cowhides and homemade pottery, and remained a highway destination for more than 20 years.

"She was very proud - she never called them her achievements, but in her own ways she was extremely driven.

"She installed in all her family the sense of family, but also being the best in what you can be.

"She was very proud of her family and grandchildren.”

Valerie with her grandchildren.
Valerie with her grandchildren. Contributed

David believed his mother lived her life to the fullest.

"She could not fit any more into her life,” he said.

"She was very much loved by family, grandchildren and all those who knew her because she was so kind and giving.

"She left an impression on everyone who met her.

"It was certainly a life that could be well and truly celebrated when she passed away.”

Valerie Bondfield
Valerie Bondfield Contributed
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