VALE NOELA STRATTON - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views
Local History


Even though our paths in life have not coincided at times, I have known Noela and her family for about 80 years going back to my primary school days. I remember well being taught by Noela’s father, Alby Charlton, at Manly State School; a time I will not expand on now.

The Charlton residence, on a large allotment situated behind the Masonic Hall fronting Walnut Street and backing on to Penfold Parade, allowed the keeping of poultry, pigeons and other pets, beneath a large hoop pine tree. In her youth, as one might say, Noela was quite a ‘Tom Boy’. She could be seen on many occasions perched high in that tree reading a book while enjoying the sights of the surroundings. On special occasions – Australia Day, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday, Christmas/New Year, visits from foreign dignitaries and special occasions of any type – a flag would be hoisted and would be seen fluttering from the top of the Charlton’s pine tree.

In 1945, with the end of WW2, this piece of material, 3-feet high and 6- feet long, (Union Jack, which Noela described as “My Flag”) was hoisted by her to fly majestically for all to see from the Charlton pine tree. The Australian flag did not become our official flag until 1953. Protocol dictated she should have referred to her flag as the Union flag. A talk given by Noela on 18 October 2012 titled My Flag tells of the antics she and her brother Eric involved themselves in that hoop pine tree, swinging from the branches. When the Australian flag was the one to be flown ,the old Union flag was showing its age.

As time went by Noela lived in London for two years. When home again, less attention was given to the tree. Noela’s leisure time changed to golf, water-skiing, surfing and boating. At the age of 37, a week before Noela married Ken Stratton, she climbed that hoop pine. This sadly for her was the last time she was able to climb the tree she so loved. Noela and Ken lived away from the district where they raised their two children, Peter and Carla.

Mrs Charlton, after her husband Alby’s death, sold the block of land on which the tree stood. A block of units was erected interfering with the many roots of the large pine. In about 1970 the tree was dying and had to be removed; the end of the tree, but not the end of the flag. The National Trust requested a Union Jack to fly during the 150th Anniversary Celebrations of Queensland’s Old Government House. Noela attended the celebrations on 6th May 2012 and whilst there donated ‘Her Flag’ to Old Government House.

It was not until the death of Ken’s mother, Elsie Stratton, that Ken and Noela returned to Wynnum to live at the Stratton home at 101 Carlton Terrace Manly, close to my residence at 110 Carlton Terrace.

The historical society welcomed Noela as a member in 1991 and she joined the committee in 1999. From 2000 to 2001 she took on the role of membership coordinator, and in 2002 and 2003 Noela was our president. From 2004 to 2010 she was back to handling the membership coordinator role. In 2010, Noela was awarded a Life Membership of the Wynnum Manly Historical Society Inc. Throughout the following years, Noela remained as a committee member. During this time Noela, with her cousin Averill, researched and wrote in depth the history of the Charlton family.

Noela also found time to be president of the Queensland Ambulance Historical Society and Museum. Her love of photography resulted in an accumulation of photographs of events.

Her failing health found her forced to leave her Carlton Terrace home to be a resident at the Prinz Willam nursing home at Birkdale on her 90th birthday.

One of our committed members of the Society, Noela Stratton, at the age of 91 passed away on the night of the 3rd of August 2021.

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