Community devastated by her passing

Stephanie Meredith (née Blake)
1 June 1961 – 5 June 2007

Stephanie Meredith was born at Balranald Hospital on 1 June 1961. She began her schooling at St Joseph’s in Balranald and after two years went over to Balranald Central School where she remained until she completed her HSC.

On leaving school, Stephanie worked as part of the domestic staff at the Balranald Hospital, filling in for everyone from the office workers to the cook. Later, she was made permanent on the wards, forming an attachment to the ‘oldies’, as she used to call them.

In the early 1980s Stephanie trained in Deniliquin as an Enrolled Nurse where she passed with distinction. On returning to Balranald she nursed an elderly gentleman for a few weeks on his property, before going back to work at Balranald Hospital.

This was Stephanie’s life. She loved being home, loved the town and loved the hospital. She worked well with her fellow nurses, always looking for ways to improve the lives of elderly patients.

Many times, as a special treat, Stephanie would bring patients home for afternoon tea after she had finished her shift, or home for Christmas dinner, if they had no family.

During this same period Stephanie travelled to America, Canada, Singapore, Bali and New Zealand. She loved different cultures and learning about the customs of other countries.

Stephanie also worked in Western Australia for 12 months but this was a little too far away from home, so she returned. She then went to Melbourne and did agency work before working as a division 2 nurse in the clinics and outpatients department at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She loved working with children.

It was during this time she met and married her husband Craig, and lived in Melbourne. Stephanie had two girls and they used to spend the holidays in Balranald visiting Stephanie’s Mum and Dad. On these visits she would fill in if Balranald Hospital was short staffed.

In 2005 Stephanie was diagnosed with a brain tumour. This was benign and was removed, but the operation left her with facial palsy and deafness in one ear. After many operations she had a BAHA implant which enabled her to hear.

Stephanie and her two beautiful girls were tragically killed in the Kerang Rail accident on June 5 when returning to Melbourne after a weekend visit to her parents in Balranald.

Stephanie was held in very high regard and was loved by all who knew her. The Balranald Hospital staff and the whole Balranald community felt total disbelief and devastation after this tragic accident.

Stephanie’s kind and gentle nature will be dearly missed by all the staff and patients at Balranald Hospital.
By Alicia Camin, EN and Jenny Blake,
RN & Branch President, Balranald Hospital