It is with great sadness that we advise friends of the Brookfield Show Cookery Section that Daphne Dowdle passed away peacefully on 20 October 2013, after a brief illness, at the age of 96.
Daphne was the long serving Chief Steward of the Cookery Pavilion at the Brookfield Show, and served in that capacity for 40 years. Her last year was 1998, and after that she continued as a Steward until two years ago, when her advancing years made it difficult to participate. Even so, she listened keenly to tales of the Show, and wanted full details of what had happened, and who had asked after her. A natural leader, she capably ran a large Show section with everything written by hand, and kept careful records and formidable standards. Despite this, she had a heart of gold, and loved seeing a lot of entries, and every year in recent times her first question about the Show to me was “but were the shelves in the Pavilion filled with exhibits?”
She was very ably succeeded in the role by Yanina Hughes, who had also worked closely with Daphne in the last few years of her role as Chief Steward. Daphne loved working with her large group of faithful Stewards, including old friends and what she called the “young ones”, who have now taken over running the Cookery Section. Under Daphne’s watchful eye, we dared not change much, as we knew that Daphne would sniff it out, and when change did come it was gradual, but her firm standards have been maintained and always will be.
Daphne’s particular love was the children who entered year after year, and she was so thrilled when they grew up, and their own children entered. Not having children of her own, she worked tirelessly for the community, through the Show Society, the Brookfield CWA and the Kenmore Uniting Church, ensuring that it was a better place for every one else’s children, and has left an enduring legacy which will never be surpassed.
On a personal note, Daphne was a much loved friend to us all, and we will all miss her very much. Daphne taught me everything I know about Show cooking, and like countless others, I was blessed to have her in my life, and that of my family. At 96, she bridged with ease the post-war era of austerity through to the present time, and never tired of passing on her many years of accumulated wisdom to anyone who asked. We are much the poorer for her passing.