Avoiding High Speed Rail Links

Planned high speed rail links combined with a marvellous warm holiday in Australia motivated Wendy Johnson of Purnong, north of Mannum, to join her sister in the country down under.

Born in London, England, Wendy recalls moving to Kent, in southeast England, at the age of about four years, before emigrating as an adult to Australia.

Wendy is now living in Purnong, a small, picturesque river community, about a two-hour drive from Adelaide and a 15-minute drive from Mannum. Purnong is surrounded by farming properties and is well-known for growing and exporting onions and potatoes around the world. It is famous for its Dark Sky viewing platform, which overlooks the town – the town also features the narrowest crossing of the Murray River, with a free 24-hour ferry service on hand.

“We’ve been a part of the Tailem Bend community for years,” Wendy said. “I still travel to Tailem regularly to play Indoor Bowls with the girls at the Town Hall.”


Regularly meeting in the Tailem Bend Town Hall, Wendy Johnson of Purnong, is one of the many characters who gather to compete in the town’s friendly Indoor Bowls Competition.

Wendy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) years ago, but it hasn’t slowed her down. MS is an ailment that can affect the brain and spinal cord, triggering a wide range of probable symptoms, including difficulties with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation, or balance. Unfortunately, it is a lifelong condition that can cause serious disability, although it can occasionally be mild.

“Before my MS came along, I was a Murray Bridge Family Day Care child educator for five years - looking after preschool and school children from my home in Tailem Bend,” Wendy said. “I still keep busy, and I love my indoor bowls, I used to play before I worked for Family Day Care, but it got too hard to do when I had children in tow.”

Wendy, and her husband Trevor, were actively involved with their community, both were members of the Lions Club of Tailem Bend – Wendy, at one stage, was secretary and Trevor was President – both were also involved in the establishment of the local community gym.

“When I was diagnosed with MS, I gave Day Care away, I was scared I would fall over and hurt one of the kids,” Wendy said. “After a period of adjustment, I became a volunteer at the Tailem Community Centre - teaching mature aged students the computer.”

“I even when back to playing indoor bowls, but when we moved to Purnong, I didn’t volunteer in Tailem anymore, because of the distance for me to drive each week - so I gave it away”.


Always with a smile, Wendy Johnson of Purnong, takes her fundraising and indoor bowls very seriously, along with living life to the fullest.

“I love living in Purnong, I’m so lucky to have my husband Trevor - and the community is so supportive - if I need help, I only need to ask.”

Wendy is also supported by Murray Bridge based, Genuine Support Services Australia. (GSSA) “After questioning a caring friend who works for them, it became obvious - it was an easy decision to make use of their support.”

“It’s been fantastic, I plan to keep using their services of transport, home help, as well as the social support I receive from my regular Support Workers,” Wendy said. “I plan to remain in my own home, as active as I possibly can, for as long as I can with the help of the kind people of GSSA.”

Over the last three years, Wendy has been walking and raising awareness for MS, through the “May 50k Challenge”. For the last two years, Wendy and her teammate, Casandra Lazdins, have formed an alliance and call themselves “NONGBRA” a combination of the areas they live. “This year my goal is to raise over $300.00 and to walk 100km's in the month of May.”


Wendy Johnson of Purnong, playing her beloved indoor bowls and raising awareness of MS through the “50k in May Challenge.”

Wendy is a positive and motivated person, who knows that the money she raises contributes to life-changing research into the prevention and treatments of MS – one day she hopes they will find a cure for MS. Over the last three years Wendy has raised $3,401.96, “And it’s still climbing,” she says.

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