A songbird of her generation, an accomplished entertainer for all time, Winn Kessey reflects on a lifetime of colourful creativity and a passion for performing.
At the tender age of 13, Winn took on her first artistic gig; singing at Sunday school. Little did she know then, she had opened a door into a bright and exciting future, a passion she would pursue for decades to come.
“From the start I just loved it so much,” Winn explained, riffling through an album filled with colourful memories.
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“I was taught to sing properly then, I was living in Canterbury, that was when I started to go to eisteddfods.
“Back then there was the Sydney eisteddfod, it was very well known, and I sang in that, I also started singing at weddings.”
The direction of Winn’s life took a turn when she was 16 and her father joined the army during WWII.
“After three months they discovered he has tuberculosis so he was discharged,” she said.
“That meant my mother had to get a job, so she started working at a shoe shop in Redfern.
“It was a very modern, lovely shop owned by David Jones.”
Winn recalls the day her mother came home from work and told her she had been offered a job at the shop.
“She worked there for quite a while, and someone must have told the boss my 16th birthday was coming up, so he told my mother there was a job there for me, and that was that.”
Winn worked hard and enjoyed learning the tricks of the trade, but never gave up her singing.
“Everything was smooth and going along nicely, and then I met a rugby boy,” she laughed.
“He was the love of my life, and a very good footballer too.”
Winn met her husband, a first grade rugby league player who was in the Newtown team, and the rest was history.
After first stumbling across the Great Lakes with a community theatre troupe, Winn was hooked on Forster.
“We used to come here every day for holidays for years and years,” she said.
“Then my children and their partners bought a nursery up here in Forster, iIt was fabulous!
“The next thing we knew we were living up here too, and we never left.”
Living in Forster, Winn had time to focus on her passion, singing.
“When we moved up here I joined the Twin Town Troubadours and have been here ever since,” she said.
“The whole creative process was something I loved, I used to make all my own outfits for performances.
“Now, I’ve lived here for 25 years, and my family has all lived here too,” she said.