June Sutherland 02.06.1921 - 07.06.2017

Obituaries and Tributes

Schumann Opus 15, Scenes from childhood

This recording was played at June's funeral.

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Performed by Duncan Sutherland (Grandson)

Formidable matriarch

Mumzum with Sophie, May 2017
Phillipa, Sophie and Mumzum, May 2017
Sophie with Mumzum, May 2017

Me, Sophie and Mumzum, May 2017

The sadness I felt for Mumzum’s passing was seeing her towering capacity as an intellectual pass well before she did. After reconciling myself with that loss, her twilight was gorgeous. All I saw in this twilight was that she maintained her devilish sense of humour and a sweetness which was sometimes overwhelming.

She kept a keen appreciation for the beauty she saw in the world and her huge family she created “Is this one of mine?” was a sentence I heard often in relation to her gand and great grandchildren. So I feel no enormous sadness in Mumzum’s departure from this realm, it was conducted in such a distinctly Muzum-ish manner- with a dignified retreat and with the upmost grace, no doubt assisted by Rene, Kate and Janet. Read more ...

Meaning of Mumzum

June is called Mumzum

I will start, for those who have ever been confused by the name we have used for Mumzum for half a century, with the reason for that name. 50 years ago when I was first trying to address her I couldn't correctly pronounce how she was intruduced to me ... 'Mum's Mum'. And she's been Mumzum ever since to all of us.

She was always been the axle of the family, around which everything revolves and which supports everything as we move along.

There are others that are more eloquent than I and with more contact with Mumzum, so I will give only one thing from my memory. The memory that stays with me best was when I was at school in Wagga. I was living with Mumzum for Year 10. What sticks with me was walking to school with her; she was Head Of English at Wagga High, where they were trying to educate me. Read more ...

Epicentre of our family

June with some of her family

Growing up in Wagga, Athol St with Mumzum and Sandy was an everyday part of my life. The key in the door, the creaks in the floorboards, the smell, Mumzum in her study or at the table reading and Sandy in the kitchen. Weekend meals, the red Triumph, Tippie and Doglet. As a kid I lived it and it was just as life was. Easter and Christmas built on this and are still highlights for me. Uncles, aunties and cousins jamming into Athol St. Big sleepovers on the verandah, family visiting and drawn to the one place. Gathering around the fire that is Mumzum. As a kid those times were the best, I remember them fondly and I miss them. Happy happy times when I truely felt the love, familiarity and connection with my big, bold and beautiful extended family.

I left Wagga and family a long time ago, living away from its familiarity. Starting my own family and while remembering the extended clan it had become something largely seperate to my life. Read more ...

An educated and cultivated woman

June using her iPad

A thought to all my Sutherland family today as we farewell our matriarch. The mother of mothers, the mum of mum, our Mumzum. 96 and a couple of days, a huge life for a woman that brought into this world a huge family, an amazing family. She was educated and cultivated woman with an amazing sense of style and intellect. An intellect that as a young child I took for granted (hidden behind her crankiness and an argumentative nature). An intellect and an abundance of knowledge, particularly of history that made me feel very privileged to be part of her family.

Her home in Wagga Wagga was dark with the daylight hindered by a dense witchie garden, full of dark corners with objects of blue glass and small trinkets from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It was silk scarfs, walking sticks with elephant handles, art on walls by family members, the internet and computers (as all the cousins proudly declare our Mumzum was the first in our family with the net!) and an abundance of family talking loudly, huge bellowing laughs and a lot of shit stirring. Read more ...

In fond and respectful remembrance

June Sutherland, 23 December 2013

June was part of the fabric of my adolescence, as Rene and I became the fastest of friends in Wagga in the early 1970s; my most lucid memories of her are from this time and the years just after. They’re of days and nights at the Sutherland home at the Riverina Ag College, where we would roam blissfully wild over the countryside for hours and converge on the kitchen for meals now and then, and hunker down at night to talk art and music and what our lives might be. It was a wonder to me that June was a teacher as well as a mother of nine, and that this home was a place of such freedom and spontaneity and self-reliance for her kids. It was always a welcoming one, too. I remember her as an enigmatic presence to my unworldly teenage self; but equally, I remember my impressions of her as a woman of great taste and intellect – which only grew stronger as we all grew older, and as we young women in turn became adults and mothers. June’s was an unorthodox and extraordinary life for her time; it may not have been without difficulty or upset, but then untrammelled comfort does not a rich life make. Sincere condolences to Rene, Kate, Janet and all the family on her passing, and every blessing to June in spirit. Go to article ...

Diane Cook (Family friend)

Unique woman

On of my dearest friends departed this world recently, June Sutherland. June is such a unique woman and I learnt so much from her. How fortunate am I that you have been part of my life June. Thank you. You hold a very special shelf in my heart.

Catherine Brennan (Friend)

Very special lady

Mumzum with my daughters
Mumzum with one of my daughters
Mumzum with one of my daughters

Mumzum and the gals

One of the things that I love about being part of my family is also the same thing that drives me and others crazy. Honesty along with bombastic over talking manner can be completely intimidating. What I love about this is the feisty manner of conversation is assumption of equal interaction. That we all contain worth, we assume the other is an equal. The hard thing about this is that it can go wrong, we are all human. When this happens the blunt, bombastic, big personalities can clash and crumble. In our family we can thank our parents and grand parents for encouraging intelligence and strong opinion.

Mumzum drove me absolutely mental as a teenager. I could not see why others were so gushing about her, to admire a cantankerous distant lady who hardly acknowledged me at the high school we both went to every day. To be honest, it was difficult to be around her as an adolescent. Read more ...

Remembered clearly and fondly

Dear Irene, Kate, Sandy et al

Please accept my sincere condolences. I remember June very clearly and fondly. Her hospitality was always immaculate and generous, and she was clearly loved by her family. It was a privilege to have known her during my years in Wagga, and my late father Colin was delighted to have spoken at length with June regarding his time as an inaugural student of the late John Sutherland’s at the Wagga Ag College.

Warmest regards

Anthony Lawrence (Family friend)

Marvellous Woman

June Sutherland

Go on your way marvellous woman. We will get on with our lives as you always advised.

Kathleen Sutherland (Daughter)

Sincere Condolences

Fond memories of a lovely, wonderful lady. So sad to hear of Junes passing - She will be at peace with her old mate "Jungle" now.

Sincere Condolences and Sympathy to your Family - From Grahame Corey and Family, Tamworth.

Grahame Corey, Tamworth, New South Wales (Family friend)

One of my favourite teachers

My Sincere Condolences to the Family,

Mrs Sutherland was one of my favourite teachers at Mount Austin High School, may she rest in peace xoxo

Janice Manson (nee Derrick), Wagga Wagga , New South Wales (Former student)

Wild Geese

By Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Irene, Hannah and June

Daughter, Irene, granddaughter, Hannah and June at her 95th birthday party

You are free now to fly with those wild geese. We love you Mumzum more than words can say.

Irene Sutherland (daughter)

Ode to Mumzum

June Sutherland

I could write endless words about how Mumzum’s perfect mix of a fiery and unstoppable nature, intelligence and sharp wit made her the woman that has graced this world so unapologetically. However, what i am particularly thankful for is her undeniable ability to love, and love so fiercely. Sometimes, people in your life, ones who you have been so lucky to have known, shape a part of your identity so clearly you feel you could have never made sense without it. That what they have etched into your body and soul is a undefinable part of themselves, one that is so special and so beautiful you feel that you have an eternal connection to them. I picture so clearly the curve of Mumzum’s hands, an expressive beauty that speaks of a lifetime of writing, exploring, comforting and loving. These two soft, yet strong hands touched the hands of many, with each gentle placement upon another she offered herself in full to whoever needed her love the most.

Blessed be she who is both furious and magnificent. Read more ...

Death Is Nothing At All

By Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all. 
It does not count. 
I have only slipped away into the next room. 
Nothing has happened. 

Everything remains exactly as it was. 
I am I, and you are you, 
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. 
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. 

Call me by the old familiar name. 
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. 
Put no difference into your tone. 
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. 

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. 
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. 

Life means all that it ever meant. 
It is the same as it ever was. 
There is absolute and unbroken continuity. 
What is this death but a negligible accident? 

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 
somewhere very near, 
just round the corner. 

All is well. 
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. 
One brief moment and all will be as it was before. 
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Contributed by Sandy Sutherland (Son)

Indominable spirit

Our mother was known for her indominable spirit, as befits the child of two WWI veterans.

To her children, she was Mum, filling our lives, but only having that dimension. It was only as we grew to adulthood, that other facets of her nature became evident. These facets are represented by you who knew her as Cousin June, Aunt June, June or Mrs Sutherland.

Her life and spirit live on through her children, grand-children and great-grand-children.

Julia Freeman (Daughter)

Cultivated, refined and dignified woman

June Sutherland

The world has lost yet another of those wonderful fine eccentric individuals in June Sutherland. For those fortunate enough to know her, June lived life to the maximum, strengthened by the significant challenges that came her way. Her resilience and strong will meant that she extended herself in many directions in life and many people in the community have benefited by her example. She was a mother, a towering intellectual, a leader, a stirrer. But, most importantly, she was a cultivated, refined and dignified woman.

June Sutherland (née Murray) was born on 2 June 1921 in Bundaberg, Queensland, the only child of John Cade Murray, an agricultural scientist, and Alice Isabel (Kit) Dawson a nurse. Her parents were both World War I veterans, a fact that had a significant and direct impacted on June’s life. By the nature of their work after the war, and the scars of war suffered by her father, June’s childhood was characterised by the need to live away from her parents for long periods, an experience that helped her to shape her strong attitude to the importance of family ties as well as the ability to make do on her own.

June married John Ramsay Sutherland (1916-1982), the former Deputy Principal of Wagga Wagga Agricultural College on 7 May 1943 at St Pauls College, University of Sydney. They met while doing farm work as part of the land army. When she married John she made him promise that she could have five sons. They had nine children in 12 years, five sons and four daughters. In 1964 June also discovered she had a half-brother, Gerald Murray Naerger, born in Somerset England in 1919, and who passed away in 2006. Read more ...

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If you wish to contribute your loving memory of June, please email Irene, June's daughter as follows: info at junesutherland dot com dot au. She will endeavour to publish it as soon as possible.