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Anne and Robert Duffy


October 26, 1933 – November 9, 2023

Memorial Service Livestreamed


May 25, 2016

Dear Colleagues, Family, friends and all of us in ICA Australia would like to let you know of the death of Ann Stuart Duffy (nee Dunlop) on 9th November 2023, shortly after her 90th birthday, in Sanctuary Point (South Coast NSW).


Born on 26 October 1933 in the Sydney suburb of Cronulla by the ocean, Ann was an active member of her local church and as she grew, looked for new ways to put her beliefs into action. As Ann ventured into challenges posed by a post-war world, she was joined by Rob who shared her conviction. In 1956 they were married and together, despite their conventional appearance, continued to look for meaningful ways to act as people of faith in their local congregations.


A dynamic team in work and in life, Ann and Rob listened to the Spirit and dared to heed God’s call upon their lives. They sought to be a living demonstration of non-judgemental love.  In 1970, they joined the ICA with a mission to meaningfully share life’s abundant possibility with people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and circumstances, particularly the poor and marginalized, in Australia and overseas.


Ann embraced the opportunities the ICA offered and undertook many roles across the globe; from community engagement in Vogar Canada at Lake Manitoba to Nam Wai in Hong Kong to leading planning workshops (LENS) across Asia to development circuits along the east coast of America to a  “permeation” assignment in Sydney.


Ann’s commitment to a life of faith also saw her face many deep challenges; these included the inner conflict between being an active part in the ICA’s global mission for human development and her need to nurture her four children while living in intentional community.


Rob’s death in 2016, after almost 60 years of marriage, was also a time of deep struggle and her own deteriorating health followed. Despite this, Ann’s faith shone through and she was cared for by her children Paul, Linda and David, daughter-in-law Brenda as well as by her four grandsons. They all looked after her at home until the very end.


With many people here and around the world, we give thanks for Ann’s amazing completed life of awakening and service on behalf of all and for our common future. Donations can be made for Bush Heritage Australia. With admiration and gratitude,

          ~~  David Duffy and Maria Maguire



I love the line, “despite their conventional appearance” as we say farewell to Ann.  I can remember looking over at Ann and Rob and feeling reassured that “all this” was not just a crazy dream. Back in the day, I recall an article, called something like “There Are Saints Among Us”.  There may have been a little card, “The Saint”– book mark sized — a listing of qualities. Little did I know, right there only a few feet away . . . Ann, Sandy, Elaine . . . and the list goes on — and not just solitary individuals with an aura of holiness, but Ann and Rob, Sandy and Bob, Elaine and John  — being a presence in the midst of everything — taking on responsibilities, molding family and children, washing dishes. Those memories would be enough and then also listen to those intervening years and how their care went on and on.  Not characters from a book, people I / we have known, stood beside, sat beside, talked with,


Makes me want to sing . . .  I was thinking of “For All the Saints”, and then “Come all spirits roaming freely, Bind your will in common thrust, Stand beneath the gaze of neighbor, Ready to obey their trust” came to mind.  Though the line, “From Earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast. …. Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host” . . .    gets to me.  I STILL don’t have the poetry to fully replace the two-story universe (sigh) . . .

           ~~  Jim Wiegel


I will always remember Ann as the one person who listened with compassion when I needed it most. One conversation occasioning deep healling. Amazing grace🙏🧘🙏

               ~~ Judi White


There is such difficulty of reflecting on loss after loss. When I read just now about Ann Duffy, I find myself singing: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, They shall rise up on wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint…”  Or dance…I love that imagery. Despite our collective grief, what a joyful gathering in the great beyond.

          ~~ Sunny Walker,


For the dear Duffy family, We are so sad to learn of Ann’s passing.  We rejoice in the devoted life she had.  When we were working in Nam Wai, Ann and Rob were the Area priors in Hong Kong.  Both Ann and Rob were so helpful in our work in the village.  They nurtured us at the Nexus during the many events they hosted there.  Ann was grace and sophistication with strength and purpose.  “We celebrate her Being in history”. With grace, peace and love,

          ~~  Jack and Louise Ballard


Blessings and support. And enough love for all.

          ~~  Sarah Buss


Dear everyone, I would like to add a few lines about dearest Ann Duffy.  The Duffy, Oakley and Robins families were all part of the Ecumenical ministry team in Broken Hill. The Duffys were Presbyterian (like Jim and I ). The Robins and Oakleys were Methodist. ( Later in 1977, we all become members of the new Uniting Church in Australia.  A long and complex story how our Church was formed.


Ann and Rob and their family were part of the first Sydney Religious House in Australia. This Religious House was actually the Paddington Manse, the Church house in which the Bishop family lived.  Ann was a primary school teacher, and  yes, was an early ‘ Permeator’. Ann was also a person who always carefully weighed up the consequences and did not act without due consideration as to the effects of the decision she was making. I personally appreciated the way she challenged issues analytically. I remember most of all Ann’s  laugh, given as a sincere deep laugh, almost a low chuckle.


The early days were quite hard as we adjusted to missional family living. While the Duffys were living in this House, we invited some children from Mowanjum, a former Presbyterian Aboriginal Mission, to come and live with us.  These  children and our own bunches all attended the local Primary School where Ann taught some of them.  This required us to expand our living space, so we ended up with our children and some adults living in two Church houses on the same  block of  land.


Later, Ann and Rob were Area Priors of Area Edmonton before they moved to Chicago Centrum when Rob was assigned to the Panchayat. From there, they were assigned to Hong Kong where Ann and Rob worked across South East Asia before returning to the Sydney House. Eventually they returned to congregational ministry when Rob was appointed minister at Canowindra Uniting Church in western New South Wales. Grace and peace be yours,

          ~~  Isobel and  Jim Bishop


Isobel, thank you for prompting me to send reflections to our OE Community, beyond what I sent privately to David Duffy, our sons’ crib mate when the three of them were infants in 1970-71 in Paddington, NSW.


Joe and I arrived in Sydney with six-month old infants, straight from the 1970 Hong Kong ITI.  We four lived in the former dining room of the “Old Manse”, with David and Betsy Morton and their two little ones living upstairs, and you and Jim and many others dwelling in the “New Manse” just beyond the Church.


Ann was always a pillar of strength and wisdom for me, as a young mother.  She had raised three children before David was born, and had all kinds of advice to share with me re: when to shift from formula to boiled milk to fresh milk, and from strained foods to junior foods, etc.


In January 1971 when our sons, Ben and Jon, and Ann and Robb’s son David were under a year old, their parents — Joe, Marilyn, Rob and Ann — were all assigned to staff the Summer Program in Perth, on the other side of the continent.  Jeanette Stanfield was named as our children’s very competent and beloved guardian. Ann and I were assigned to design, staff and implement the Children’s Camp — just the two of us.  And we hopped on the bus that would carry us from Sydney to Perth, and began to recruit our staff.  Not having any idea of the theme, the songs, the curriculum, we recruited the best and brightest of those willing among the Spirit Movement in Australia at that time.  Among these were Julie Braithwaite, John Hutchinson, and other wonderful people whose names I cannot recall.  When we arrived we realized among our campers were children from Mowanjum, all of whom had dysentery.


Ann volunteered to work with the “littlees” as she called them. I and the rest of the staff were committed to working with the elementary/middle schoolers.  Our venue had a swimming pool, so the afternoon curriculum could be activities in the water.  Since I had taught school in Sydney for two semesters before taking on this summer camp project, I knew how seriously Australians take about swimming prowess.  The summer program was “magic.”


I could never have embraced my assignment to head up the Summer 1971 Perth Children’s Camp  without Ann Duffy as my partner.  I will love her wisdom, strength, and profound kindness forever.

          ~~   Mari Crocker