Monday, 21 December 2015

Gabrielle Timbs

Gabrielle Timbs was the victim of polio at the young age of two or three and was confined to a wheelchair all of her life.

Gabrielle attended St Joseph’s Convent School (now St Paul’s) at Albion Park with one of her brothers pushing her to and from school. In later years her cousins from Rosetta Hill farm at Mount Terry would take her to and from school before making the journey home again.

From very early on Gabrielle was encouraged to sew and on leaving school she took classes at Wollongong Technical College, travelling there by train.

Gabrielle became a qualified dressmaker and worked from the family home Moculbo, Tongarra Road, Albion Park (now demolished). Initially Gabrielle did all of her sewing by hand before acquiring a hand operated machine.

Every year the Timbs family would spend six weeks in a cottage at Manly for the holidays and Gabrielle loved it. The family rode ferry’s and saw the latest shows and musicals.

Gabrielle moved to Manly permanently with her family in 1937 and set up a dressmaking school under the name Mena Brielle. She had up to 100 pupils at a time and conducted evening classes at home as well.

Gabrielle was an expert pattern drafter and could create patterns from simple photographs or drawings. Her skills were widely known and holiday makers would go to her for measurements and to have patterns drafted. These patterns were then posted to the clients home to be made and were always an excellent fit.

 Gabrielle retired from dressmaking when she was in her 70s. She died 17 October 1988 aged 86 years.

‘Journey Through Timbs’, Timbs Family Tree Incorporated, 1997.
Gabrielle Timbs 1902-1988.
Shellharbour Images, Shellharbour City Libraries.

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