Celebrating the life of Ailsa Maley

In December 1946, I attended my first Presbyterian Fellowship Association (PFA) Christmas-New Year Camp as part of the Subiaco Church PFA Group. Ailsa Maley (nee Lyons) was one of the three Lyons sisters who came from Scots Church Fremantle. Several Churches had groups of about 30 young people who mostly attended camps and other events including Scripture Union. Many people, including me, went on to become ordained and other leaders in the church.

I remember especially the Easter Camps because with Ailsa I became one of the leadership team. We progressed from being on the committee, to assistant leader and then leader – Ailsa and I did these in different years. This also included the high jinx, including midnight feasts in the hall where we all slept on the floor, or in tents that leaked as it “always rains” at Easter.

Ailsa married Bill Maley who was a ministry student, and they went to NSW to complete his studies. Bill was ordained in 1954. They served together in several places, including West Leederville, Northam, Peppermint Grove, Kalgoorlie, Bunbury and Busselton.

Ailsa has always been someone out there encouraging, pushing, and helping people in their leadership hopes. She was a great supporter of ecumenical groups including Wellspring, Focalare and Indigenous groups. She also attended many events whether overseas or in Australia. Of course, she was active on the local scene too.

Bill died in 1978 so Ailsa spent many ears in their dream retirement home in Dunsborough.

I kept in touch with Bill, Ailsa and the family over the years, and have enjoyed meeting up and working with her at Wellspring, the Council of Churches and Australian Church Women.

Ailsa passed away in early May. I give God thanks for all the experiences I have shared with Bill, Ailsa and their family.

Betty Matthews

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