VALPIED, Dorothy Alice Yutha




Dorothy Alice Yutha Reaby born 2nd October 1921 at the Camberwell home of her parents.  Herbert and Dorothy Readby.  The family moved to Ballarat when Yutha was aged 4.

Yutha gained her Merit Certificate at Urquhart Street School, at 14 years of age and was employed at 'Moreshead's Haberdashery Store' in Bridge Street until she commenced nursing training in 1939.  Discovering nursing unsuitable for her health, she continued in retail until her marriage.

Yutha was introduced to singing and choirs when, as young girls, she and her cousins were encouraged to join the Dawson Street Baptist Church Choir to curtail a tendency to giggle in Church.  Later she was fortunate to become a pupil of the talented Mrs. Elsie Morison, opening up a life interest in singing.  This interest eventually led Yutha to be among those involved in the inception process of both the Ballarat Light Opera Company and the Lyric Theatre.  Joining the Y.M.C.A. choir in its early days, Yutha served as a Board Member for 9 years and President for 3 years.  She was also involved in the Ballarat Choral Society.  As a member of the City Baptist Church, she continued to take part in their choir and when it was suggested that musicals be staged to raise funds for a new Sunday School hall, she naturally became involved.  As well as participating in the singing she became Secretary for the shows.  Other singers and musicians joined the choir and in 3 years raised enough money for the building by presenting 'Waltz Time', 'Blossom Time' and Gilbert & Sullivan shows in the Lower Civic Hall.  The successful fundraising effort was followed by a decision that the group should continue on in its own right and this constituted the forming of the Ballarat Light Opera Company.

Yutha's interests covered not only the performing arts but also china painting and cake decorating, which she studied at 'Emily McPherson Collge' in Melbourne.  Cakes were successfully exhibited in Ballarat and Melbourne shows and Yutha taught Cake Decorating classes.  One highlight was a cake made and decorated as a replica of the City Baptist Church for their Centenary celebrations.

Yutha met a young Bill Valpied at the Choral Society when she was 18. They married at the Baptist Church, Dawson Street, Ballarat, on the 17th of August 1940 shortly before her 19 birthday.  Bill had several years earlier been encouraged to consider opening a retail fruit and vegetable business.  A perfectly positioned property became available on Sturt Street in close proximity to the tram terminus where shoppers caught a tram up the hill.  Bill would go on eventually to open several other businesses the same within Ballarat, thanks to the help of his father from a financial point of view.  After their marriage, they resided in the premises above Bill's fruit and vegetable business until 1942 when they moved to a more child-friendly residence at 509 Mair Street.  Seven children were born into the family and grew up at that address.  Barbara, Lorraine, Douglas, Bruce, Margaret, Alan, and Mary.  The family moved to 1418 Sturt Street around 1959 and later built a new home on Sims Street, Black Hill.

A very painful time for Bill, Yutha, and their family, was the untimely death of their second daughter, Lorraine, in December 1977 after losing a valiant battle with cancer.

A move to the Gold Coast in 1979 allowed Bill to enjoy playing bowls all year round.  In Queensland, Yutha's involvement with Burleigh Heads Uniting Church led to deaconess and choir commitments, as well as coordinating the church group's monthly bus tours.  She also visited cancer patients through the Queensland Cancer Council.  Talent with her hands was expressed through a craft group, where she developed special interests in the areas of quilting, folk art, dying of materials using natural plants, weaving, and watercolor and oil painting.

Bill passed away on 20th June 1996 and after 21 years of residing on the Gold Coast, Yutha returned to Ballarat in 2000.  Eventually settling at Midlands Retirement Village, prior to her death, Yutha enjoyed the singing afternoons, the Happy Hour mealtimes, and family visits.

Yutha died peacefully on the 12th of July 2014 in her 93rd year.  She was cremated at the Ballarat New Cemetery Crematorium and her ashes are located in the Garden of Memories Section 29 Rose 4.


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