News / Community

Retirement beckons for much-loved school crossing supervisor

Roslyn Olerhead has been a feature of the Brunswick South Primary School community for more than three decades

Roslyn Olerhead at work in one of her final days as a school crossing supervisor.

Mark Phillips
Monday, July 25, 2022

MOST mornings for 31 years, Roslyn Olerhead has been a cheery face greeting children as they arrive at Brunswick South Primary School.

Literally thousands of children have passed under her watchful gaze during her long stint as a crossing supervisor on busy Brunswick Road.

While Mrs Olerhead, 72, would like to continue in the role for a few more years, she says decreasing mobility – she relies on a motorised four-wheel scooter to get around – and a creaking body told her now is the time to retire. This Friday will be her last day.

“I planned to go on for two or three years more, but my knees are starting to give way and I don’t want to get run over,” she said.

“My son and daughter said ‘it’s time to quit now, Mum’.”

Mrs Olerhead is a popular figure at the school and will be given an official send off with a morning tea on Tuesday. As her retirement approaches, families from the school community have been showering her with farewell gifts.

Living close to the school in Piera Street, her connections to Brunswick South go back even further than her time as a crossing supervisor as both son Neil and daughter Kerry were students there in the 1980s.

Kerry will continue the family tradition by taking over Mrs Olerhead’s job at the school’s main entrance on the southern side of Brunswick Road.

Mrs Olerhead had no inkling she would be in the job this long when she first applied in 1990.

“There was a lady doing it before me and she was going to retire, and I was doing nothing at home and thought I would give it a go,” she said.

“And here I am still almost 32 years later.”

Over that period, she has seen several of the children she initially supervised grow up and become parents of students at the school today.

She has a friendly smile for every child and often dispenses lollipops and other treats for both students and dogs their parents bring along on their morning walk.

“I like to get out in the fresh air and enjoy talking to the kids, and I will miss seeing the kids and the doggies.”

Beginning at 8.05am each day, Mrs Olerhead admits cold mornings like those last week can be tough, but the pros of the job outweigh any cons. She works an hour in the morning and another hour from 3pm in the afternoon.

“I’m not going to miss the cold mornings and early starts, but I like to get out in the fresh air and enjoy talking to the kids, and I will miss seeing the kids and the doggies,” she said.

She has also formed a close friendship with fellow crossing supervisor Sue Egan, who has been doing the job for one year less than Mrs Olerhead on the northern side of Brunswick Road. The pair plan to continue catching up each week.

Mrs Olerhead said she will use her retirement to spend more time at home with her husband, Alan.