Jul 29, 2022 | Community

Roslyn Olearhead, the sweetest lollipop in Brunswick

Author: John Bedney

Roslyn Olearhead - Brunswick Daily

Roslyn Olerhead is one of Brunswick’s local community heroes, I wrote this article to honour her story and her work. She and her husband, Alan, welcomed me at their home on a cold Wednesday morning to share tea and a few anecdotes from Roslyn’s life as a local school Crossing Supervisor.

From May 22 1991 until July 29 2022, Roslyn diligently worked helping kids to get across the road and into their classrooms safely at Brunswick South Primary School. For 31 years, she woke up early to leave home at 7:45am, she then arrived at her usual spot on Brunswick Road at 8:05am to make sure everything was ready before kids started showing up for their morning class at 8:40am.

Roslyn saw many generations of kids, including her own, walk along the school’s crossing and she wasn’t working alone. She supervised the road with Sue, her best friend. They both met at the Centre for Adult Education in the city. “I asked her ‘would you like a job?’ She said yeah so I asked my boss and she said yeah, and we’ve been friends ever since, no fights” she tells me. In the afternoons, the dynamic duo used to join forces for the second time of the day to make sure the school crossing was ready for children to return home safely.

“Sue is still working there… and she’s trying to beat my record!” Photo: Roslyn’s album

Not only did Roslyn take care of kids and parents alike, but she also looked after their dogs. “When the kids come along, their parents bring their dog and I give them a treat, a little doggie treat… I got three favourite ones, they come to my scooter and they sit down and wait for their little treat” .

Roslyn during her last day of work. Photo: Brunswick Daily

Brunswick South Primary School, Brunswick Road, and our suburb have changed a lot in the past 30 years. Roslyn witnessed many things happening in front of her eyes. Local traffic increased, cars’ sizes and brands changed, kids’ shoes modernised, and new technologies substituted old ones to improve the way we learn.

But no matter how much our world changed, Roslyn always made sure her job controlling the traffic lights, blowing her whistle to let families know it was safe to cross, and smiling at the kids became a constant reminder of safety, kindness, and trust.

Hand note from Roslyn’s album (kids’ signatures were edited to protect their identities).

Roslyn decided to retire two years before her wishes but her legacy lives on. Today, her daughter, Kerry, has taken over the job and she’s now teamed up with Sue to make sure kids and their families in Brunswick South Primary School continue to harmlessly navigate the crossing.

We thank Roslyn and Alan for opening their door and for sharing their story with us! Roslyn goes for a walk every day in Brunswick to exercise, so keep an eye open and if you run into her say hi, thank her for her work or return her the favour, and help her cross the road safely.

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