Wendy Lovejoy, who was a member of the founding generation of Echo people, died peacefully at her home in Ocean Shores on Saturday.
The only child of a carpenter named Frank Avery and his wife Sylvia, Wendy grew up in Carrum, a seaside suburb of Melbourne, and attended Prahran Art School. Like many of her fellow students, the psychedelic experiences of the era led her to question conventional wisdom and embark on a spiritual quest.
After a brief early marriage dissolved, she hit the road and in the summer of 1971 arrived in Sydney with her guitar, an open attitude and a passion to explore life’s meaning.
In a dilapidated Surry Hills terrace styled as an ‘ashram’ she found an answer to her quest. The teachings of the guru Maharaji, centred upon the practice of meditation, remained with her for the rest of her life.
In Surry Hills she met and married David Lovejoy, then general secretary of Maharaji’s organisation in Australia, and their first child, Hans, was born in 1972.
A daughter, Claire, followed in 1975, and later that year the family set off for England, her husband’s homeland, where she and David lived in the guru’s communes until the restructuring of his organisation.
In 1977 Wendy found herself back in Australia with a young family to look after. David got a job with a small publishing company, which required moving to Brisbane, and then lost the job, which required Wendy to help with the family finances.
Together they formed a graphic art company and Wendy went back to her first love, illustration, creating memorable covers for Queensland Arts Council publications.
In 1985 Wendy decided that Byron Shire was a healthier place than Brisbane to raise children, and the family moved here.
The next year, when David and Nicholas Shand decided to create a newspaper, Wendy supplied professional graphics for the baby Echo.
Throughout the early days, Wendy’s contribution was vital. In addition to defining the look of the paper and designing the ads, she gracefully agreed to a second mortgage on the family home when the fledgling publication needed additional finance.
This was extremely generous as she had designed the house herself, down to the smallest detail, and it was one of her dearest projects.
Wendy remained an ‘Echo drudge’ for most of the paper’s history, only ceasing work there a few years ago, long after her divorce from David. Subsequently she met and settled down happily with another Englishman, David Roupell.
Her music was important in the early stages of her life but as time went by she concentrated more on art, and produced exceptionally accomplished paintings, prints of which, signed ‘Wendy Blake’, are to be found in galleries and Echo offices.
In recent years the arrival of three grandchildren added greatly to Wendy’s life, and it is sad that her golden grandmother period was to be all too short. Fortunately, not long before she fell ill she paid a visit to Greece, a country for which she felt a deep affinity.
It gave her great joy to realise a long-held dream and skim across the water in a speedboat from Lefcas to Ithaca.
Wendy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just two months ago, and although that is a dangerous and intractable illness, no-one expected she would be taken from us so soon.
Those of us who knew her well will remember a loyal friend, a generous mother, a clever and humorous artist, a knowledgeable proponent of alternative medicine, a devoted follower of her spiritual path, and above all a woman of uncommon wit and beauty.
Wendy is survived by her partner David Roupell, children Hans and Claire, and grandchildren Sunny, Ivy and Emily. She was 67.
There will be a celebration of Wendy’s life at South Golden Beach Hall from 3pm on Sunday, December 28.
All are welcome.