Judy Exley – a Montville Treasure (1937 – 2023)

Judy Exley when she was District Commissioner, Scouting

Like many Montvillians, Judy retired to Montville.  In 1995 she and husband, Gordon, bought a home at Negus Road, an open planned house with generous decks on a large, sloping block which allowed them to pursue their passion for gardening. She loved her 28 years in Montville.


Judy was born in Leeds in 1937, and in her teens, she became a Scout Leader and her passion for and commitment to Scouting was born. Judy and Gordon married in 1959 and emigrated to Australia as ‘Ten Pound Poms’ under the post-war Assisted Passage Migration Scheme. After renting in Hawthorne and Geebung, they were finally in a position to buy a home in West Chermside in 1965.

There, they had three children: Beverly (1965), Paul (1966), and Russell (1970). It was there that Judy and her whole family became more active in the Scouting movement. She became District Commissioner, West Chermside District of the Queensland Scout Association; coordinated the 8th Australian Jamboree in Brisbane and assisted in running the 16th World Scouting Jamboree in Sydney. She was presented the Chief Scout Award for Meritorious Conduct before retiring from active roles in Scouting to become manager of the Scout Outdoor Centre in Baden Powel House.


One aspect of Judy’s Scouting legacy that every Montvillians on Western Avenue would recognise was her passion for walking. For years, she and Gordon would walk around 8 kilometres every morning along Western Avenue and down the Narrows and back. As a result, they were more than able to undertake the hike to the first camp in the Everest Section of the Sagarmatha National Park. Even when the Narrows Road became too steep for them, they continued to walk Western Avenue every morning and joined a group lobbying for the provision of footpaths along the road on safety grounds.

Montville Volunteer

Judy brought her appreciation of community and the management skills she had developed through Scouting to the Montville Community. Along with Gordon, she volunteered to deliver meals for Meals-on-Wheels along the Blackall Range. This lead naturally to her becoming a volunteer at Range Care. Then in 2009, when the Montville District of Neighbourhood Watch looked like closing from a lack of support, Judy agreed to become its Area Coordinator.

Neighbourhood Watch

With the help of secretaries, Lenore Tonks and later Jocelyn Bannister, she restructured the group, increasing 6 large Zones into 10 smaller, more manageable ones; recruited 10 Zone Coordinators who in turn recruited two or three ‘Blockies’. Neighbourhood Watch was now an organisation of almost 50 volunteers managed by Judy through quarterly meetings – a tribute to her organisational and management skills. Initially, their role was to welcome new residents, brief them on security measures and distribute local newsletters – The Village Crier and later, the Montville/Flaxton Happenings. Judy always had a smile and a contagious laugh that soon had new residents feeling like they had found a friend.

When the Montville/Flaxton Happenings closed in 2005, the loss of reliable local news was felt by a range of local groups including Neighbourhood Watch. In 2009, Judy approached the Montville Rural Fire Brigade to produce a joint quarterly newsletter with Neighbourhood Watch. This newsletter was printed free of charge by the office of local State Member, Andrew Powell. 3,200 copies were distributed through Neighbourhood Watch. Later, the Montville Village Association (MVA) was invited to include a regular column in the newsletter.


When Judy retired from Neighbourhood Watch management, she continued on as a ‘Blockie’ until failing health prevented this. Judy was a regular attendee of MVA meetings, actively supporting many of its community initiatives. She will be remembered for her initiative, leadership, friendship and dedication to the Montville community.

Doug Patterson