Wednesday 9 March 2011

Michelle Murray - 'gentle soul' is lost from James Cook University family

Michelle Murray at James Cook University.

42-year-old Michelle Murray of Kuranda, was swept from her vehicle by flood waters on Sunday night in Kuranda.

At 7am Monday, her vehicle was discovered upturned in the fast flowing water near Fallon Road. Her body was located 11am yesterday.

Michelle Murray was involved in the Campus Shades programme, a peer support project to help students who have been sexually harassed, assaulted or experienced discrimination.

Michelle grew up in UK and studied psychcology. She was a friendly, and although some thought a bit of a loner, she loved kids and often looked after others children.

"She was sweet, and would help anyone," fellow JCU student and friend Stacey O'Brien told CairnsBlog. "Michelle had a little business where she imported and sold 'crappy' jewelry at the markets and to us at Uni when she was broke. We all have some earings. Nnot crappy but cheap."

"Michelle was fragile, but we all looked out for her."

Stacey remembers Michelle as a gentle soul.

"She was doing her PhD, and hung out in the Learning Centre under the libary," Stacey O'Brien recalls. "Although it is a workspace, it is also a social mixing space - mentors hang in there, and we get free cuppas to coax us, and help the lost souls that wander in. It's a great way to get to meet people outside our own degree. It's the heart of the whole Uni. This is how I got to know Michelle."

"She was chatty, chirpy and would always greet the new students, making them feel welcome," Stacey O'Brien says.

Michelle Murray was active in the social life at JCU. She was a Shades representative and was the MC at the annual pyschology Art Nueron competition in 2009.

"I remember one night late last year, we were all stressed and up to our ears in work in the learning centre," STacey O'Brien says. "We were all whinging and moaning. Michelle got everyone to throw in a few bucks and she went and got lots of lollies from the machine outside. She got bowls and mixed them all up and put them all around the tables. It cheered all the students up."

"Michelle also loved to get a cup of tea, tim tams, and have a ciggie and a chat out the front of the library."

"One thing not many people knew, is that she was a rather fine artist, but only ever painted character portraits," Stacey O'Brien says. "Her first degree was Arts. She rarely showed anyone her work."

One of her last posts on her Facebook page, is a link to support breast cancer awareness: "Raise awaremness and support for those who have been affected."

It was what she was all about," Janine Aitken remembers. "Michelle was always a listening ear for others at the learning centre.


Janine Aitken said...

Michelle was always in the Learning Centre bringing a bit of cheer and talking people into staying with their degrees when the going got tough, Michelle got us cuppa's & biscuts! RIP x

Billy Colless said...

The JCU students' association passed a motion at tonights student council sending condolences and mourning the campuses losses