Gilroy Wing header graphic

Shirley Dean

Shirley Jacobsen was born and raised in Wandin Valley. She trained as a nurse at Prince Alfred Hospital but was travelling in Europe when she discovered that she was pregnant by the local Wandin Valley vet, Jack Dean. She returned to the Valley and reluctantly married him. The marriage was less than a stellar success -- Jack was constantly belittling Shirley and treating her like dirt. They were divorced some time after their daughter Vicky was born and Jack moved to Sydney. Vicky had admired him until he returned to the Valley for a visit and she discovered what a chauvinistic pig he really was. He returned to Sydney and never visited again, not even for Vicky's wedding. After her divorce, Shirley went to work for old Dr. Clarke and his new partner, Dr. Elliott, at their clinic. She also occassionally helped out in the surgical theatre at the Wandin Valley Bush Hospital.

She and local cop Frank Gilroy were polar opposites in terms of likes and hobbies so she was more surpised than anyone when she gave in to his courtship (and her feelings) and agreed to marry him. She had a bout with cancer in 1982 (Frank gave her a 5-year diary while she was in the hospital as if to say to her "I know you'll still be here in 5 years"). After her recovery, she and Frank got married. They had their share of disagreements, as do any married couple, but their love was very strong and they were well matched, in spite of their differences.

She was editor of Molly's paper, "The Valley Voice" and manned the Helpline for a time. Shirley was into "new age" things like crystals, chanting, tarot, palmistry, ESP, etc., and could often be found meditating in her living room under an aluminum pyramid. She loved to visit Bali, India, and other exotic spots and frequently tried to convince Frank to do the same. She took up painting at one point and did a painting of Frank in the nude. The painting later turned up in the lady's loo at the club, with a discretely placed fig leaf that set off a bell whenever it was raised. She struggled to give up smoking and suffered nervous problems because of the stress of being a copper's wife. She could be counted on to join right in whenever Molly Jones had a cause to fight for -- the environment, animal rights, etc. Later on, she became a town councillor, winning on a platform that stressed community and environmental issues. She was instrumental in bringing about the downfall of Alf Muldoon, nefarious Shire President.

She periodically helped Father Moore at Xavier Refuge, a church refuge in Sydney, where she befriended several youths, including Gabriel Baker ("Gabe") who came to stay with her for a while. At Father Moore's request, Frank and Shirley agreed to become the guardians of Julian Ross (aka Luke), a young boy from the streets of King's Cross who was in trouble with the law (Frank became his probation officer). It was rough going at first but they grew to love him and they became a true family.

When Simon and Vicky moved to the States, Frank and Shirley inherited Simon's wombat, Fatso. Frank retired in 1992 and became the manager of the Wandin Valley RSL club. Shirley died in June 1992, when the chartered plane she was on went down in a storm while enroute from Burrigan to Brisbane. The Muldoon Wing, the old folks wing of the hospital, was renamed the Shirley Gilroy Memorial Wing in her memory.

Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

  small photo of Lorrae Desmond The role of Shirley Dean
was played by
Lorrae Desmond

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