Carole Barbara Twist

Carole Barbara Twist (nee Maxwell), community creator, was born in Rozelle in 1944, the eldest of three children in a violent, joyless and impoverished family. While looking after her siblings, Carole attended several schools before the family settled in Ryde, where she developed her abilities as a runner. In 1962 she married Oliver Richard Twist. They had two children (Mark and Pheona) in quick time while Carole realised that she had married a gambler and a womaniser. Two aunts helped look after the babies while Carole worked as a hairdresser to pay ever-mounting bills.

Carole left Oliver in 1973, met her second husband, Brian, produced a daughter (Patrice) in 1975 and moved to Glebe. By the 1980s, she was clear-eyed, resourceful and skilled in helping other people. She became a powerful ally of Frank Sartor, campaigning to have him elected Lord Mayor, and supporting him in office. In 1990 she and Brian moved to Pyrmont where “I came into my own”, welcoming newcomers and helping them settle and socialise. One such was Robin Davies, creating the MustardSeed Church with Carole as an early parishioner. Among their successful initiatives (inspired by Glebe) were the Anzac Day Service in Union Square and Carols in the square. Completely original was the Op Shop which Carole established and managed for years. Other valuable initiatives include a monthly bus trip for seniors, and the Women’s Art Group.

Carole connects the people who came before “urban renewal” with those who have come later, feeding ideas in both directions, informed by her own experience and creativity and flavoured by her arrestingly direct style.