ABOVE: Gladstone senior Lynn Dingley with Kalarni Ely (L) and Hayley Magaric (R). 
RIGHT: Lynn Dingley's 1999 CQUniversity Bachelor of Arts Graduation Day, with husband Graham.
Photo: Matt Taylor/Contributed
ABOVE: Gladstone senior Lynn Dingley with Kalarni Ely (L) and Hayley Magaric (R). RIGHT: Lynn Dingley's 1999 CQUniversity Bachelor of Arts Graduation Day, with husband Graham. Photo: Matt Taylor/Contributed Matt Taylor GLA270619PAST

Our Priceless Past: Story of Mrs Lynn Dingley

LYNNETTE Mary was born in Rockhampton, 13 July 1946, to parents Norma and Edward Howard.

She has one brother and two sisters, Keith, Margaret and Kay. Lynn lived on a sheep station south of Stonehenge with her family and did her schooling via Queensland School of the Air through the radio on her property, with her mother also teaching her. She attended St Joseph's Primary School and then The Range High School, Rockhampton. After working for Milroy Department Store, Lynn devoted her life to helping other people within her community, since the young age of 17 when she enrolled as a nursing student at the Rockhampton Base Hospital.

Graham and Lynn met at an old-time dance on a Saturday night, in 1967. She bought material in the morning, made the dress in the afternoon, wore it that night, and still has that dress. They had a long-distance relationship, seeing each other for about two months over the next two years. She married her one true love, Graham Dingley, on Boxing Day 1969, when he came back from the Air Force for three days over Christmas.

Graham was transferred from Rockhampton as a department manager with the opening of Big W in 1977. They moved to Gladstone, where they have lived for 42 years.

Lynn Dingley's 1999 CQUniversity Bachelor of Arts Graduation Day, with husband Graham.
Lynn Dingley's 1999 CQUniversity Bachelor of Arts Graduation Day, with husband Graham. Contributed

When Lynn was 50, she studied full-time at CQUniversity, graduating as their first graduate of the Gladstone Campus with a major in Welfare and a double major in Psychology. She started a counselling business, 'All Life Matters Counselling Services. We will come to you.' Together, Lynn and Graham travelled the district, providing couple to couple counselling, for free. This helped people with their mental health and relational issues, guiding them onto the right path by using baby steps. Lynn has made her phone available to clients 24/7. Devoted to the community, she found that volunteering for 13 different organisations at the same time was overworking herself. She stopped volunteering for some time, although continued as a blood donor.

In 2001 they travelled on an Around the World trip, as a reward for her studies, and while in New Orleans, they met a colleague who asked Graham to work at an alumina plant in Jamaica. In 2002, Graham worked while Lynn was asked to be a counsellor at a private school in Mandeville. Corruption and violence were rife. She counselled a three-year-old who'd been expelled from school for violence, wayward young girls and even a youthful "drug lord”, who became a diligent student, showing her power to motivate and connect with people.

Lynn's life has been full of adventure, and she has gathered an abundant amount of wisdom from the people around her and her experiences. In 2009, the friend now in Canada, again asked for Graham's help. They went to Canada for 12 months, on their third round the world tour. Recently, they travelled to India, invited by friends to attend their daughter's wedding.

Since Christmas last year, she has been in paid work as a carer, looking after people in their own homes. Lynn wishes to keep working at her current position, helping people for years to come. She enjoys writing and crocheting in her spare time.

Lynn and Graham have 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Lynn and Graham's wish for the future is to buy an electric car.