Published in the Warrandyte DiaryJudy Green is a slight, softly spoken woman, known for her many community activities, who also happens to be the wife of Diary editor Cliff Green.
A qualified laboratory technologist, she has followed husband Cliff as far as the end of the rainbow – specifically, to the small rural town of Rainbow in the Mallee district, then Torrumbarry near Echuca before settling in Warrandyte.
Over their 54 years together, Judy has supported and assisted Cliff as a secretary, researcher and sounding board while managing to run a home and raise four children along the way. Together they have 11 grandchildren, the eldest of whom is 28 years old.
Soon after they were married Cliff took a job as a primary teacher in a one-teacher school in Rainbow. Judy, who grew up in Sandringham, describes living in the bush in 1959 as ‘quite tough’: “We did not have electricity – only a small generator and I did feel isolated.” But they got a taste of country life where the locals were very supportive.
There was no work for a laboratory technologist so Judy worked “odd jobs”, including cleaning the primary school and, although not a qualified teacher, even teaching maths and science at Rainbow High School as “they needed teachers”.
In 1969, Cliff took a job as a scriptwriter with Crawford Productions in Melbourne and Judy says, “We chose to live in Warrandyte because it was lovely and green and away from the city.” Judy also believes their time spent in the country had instilled a sense of community and they both became actively immersed in Warrandyte life.
Although she was too busy with family and community life to return to her work as a laboratory technologist, Judy says she only missed it occasionally over the years: “Funnily enough, it was whenever I saw someone in a lab coat on TV”.
Cliff, whose career is chronicled elsewhere in this issue, contributed much to the Warrandyte community as well as being actively engaged with various writing organisations. He says: “Judy put up with all of it. She was my sounding board and a great backstop to me all the time. If Judy raised doubts about anything I’d say, ‘I’m not changing that.’ But once I went away and thought about what she’d said, I always would.”
Judy also “loved to be involved,” especially with the tennis club where she was junior convenor for several years. She currently volunteers at the Warrandyte Historical Society, Community Garden and Friends of Warrandyte State Park. She also continues to play tennis and regularly minds two grandchildren.
Although Judy insists she is not a writer, she co-wrote Rallies by the River: a History of Warrandyte Tennis Club together with Keith Wilson, which is archived in the National Library of Australia. She has also contributed to the Diary, compiling the information column, ‘Out of the inbox’.
Although Cliff spent some time away from editing the Diary, according to Judy, he was always heavily involved. “It was his hobby and the Diary, as well as all the organisations and people around it, were very much part of our daily life – especially in the last ten years,” (since Cliff retired from scriptwriting).
Cliff says: “I would keep Judy up at night. When Diary deadlines loomed, I would wake her at 3am to sound out ideas.” He recalls: “I liked to tell people that I earned my living for 40 years as a fiction writer to which Judy would say, ‘stop saying that – people will think you make everything up.’ She was really a cross between a censor and a conscience.”
Although positive about the Diary, Judy admits it encroached on their social life, “We could never plan to do anything at the end of the month and everything revolved around deadlines.” She also acknowledges that it was a huge time commitment which equalled “one extra script a year.”
Happy they brought their kids up in Warrandyte, two of whom also settled here, Judy says she never felt isolated in Warrandyte and believes that although there have been changes, “it has retained its rural quality and community. There is just something about Warrandyte – Warrandyte changes people rather than the other way around.”
Judy says the Diary was always Cliff’s passion but in recent years, “He was stressed with having to produce it every single month.”
Referring to Cliff’s retirement as Diary editor as “bitter sweet” Judy explains, “It got too much but we will both miss it.” She says Cliff is confident to be handing the reigns over to Scott “who will rejuvenate it while keeping the community focus” and adds, “Cliff will just be walking down to the office earlier each month to get a copy.”