3 July 2023

Meet the service-driven guardian angels helping families pass Wagga's busiest street

| Jarryd Rowley
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two female crossing guards

Wendy Evans-Blondinau and Leanna Trower are the crossing guards who look after families on their way to two schools in Wagga’s Lake Albert Road each morning. Photo: Jarryd Rowley.

Getting out of bed and ready for work or school can be the hardest part of the day for some.

For some students of Wagga’s Sturt Public School and Sacred Heart Primary School, the process becomes even more difficult as they are required to cross the always-rustling Lake Albert Road, which is at its busiest before and after school.

Thankfully for the young students of the two schools, two women kitted out with bright fluorescent-yellow outfits and equipped with stop signs make a tricky part of each child’s morning a breeze.

Leanna Trower and Wendy Evans-Blondinau are the two crossing guards who brave the elements, rain, hail or shine, each morning to assure the children of both schools cross Lake Albert Road safely.

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“We are here every weekday from 8 am until 9:30 am and 3 until 4:30 in the afternoon,” Wendy said.

“We love our job and getting up each morning. Making sure kids can get across safely without too much trouble is part of the job.”

Each weekday morning you can find Leanna and Wendy enjoying themselves and having conversations with kids and parents, always with a smile on their faces, even at -2 degrees Celsius at 8 am.

“The past couple of weeks have been freezing,” Leanna said.

“Although it can be cold and it can be wet, it has to be done. Wendy and I do our best to make it as enjoyable as we can not only for ourselves but for those who are coming off buses or walking to school.”

The pair has become almost iconic in the Wagga community, as Lake Albert Road is one of the most-travelled streets in the region each morning. It has become a routine for travellers to pull up at the zebra crossing between the two schools.

“We [Leanna and Wendy] have built a good rapport with the community, especially parents,” Leanna said.

“They really appreciate that Transport NSW has worked with Sturt Public School to have us out here.

“Although it is a working zebra crossing continuously, it’s the peace of mind for families that during school times we are here and we are looking out for everyone who uses the crossing.”

Wendy said she enjoyed engaging with students on their way to and from school and building familiarity with families.

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“Often on the first day of the week, a lot of students look slow and tired. You see a fair few families who are in a rush, while others can be quite sluggish. There’s a real mix each morning,” she said.

“Although it is nice to have conversations with families and have a laugh, we do have a duty of care for people who use the crossing and we take that very seriously.”

Leanna has had more than ten years of working with Transport NSW, which has helped her with her duties as a crossing guard, while Wendy, whose husband also works with Transport NSW, has vast experience working at the crossing too.

“We feel quite looked after at the crossing,” Leanna said.

“Most people around town know there is a crossing here and prepare to stop once they see us or our signs make our way to the middle of the road. In saying that, it can be quite intimidating when a big truck pulls up with you standing there,” Leanna said with a grin.

The pair works each weekday of the school term and is always at the crossing ready to help. Next time you stop at the Lake Albert Road crossing, be sure to give Leanna and Wendy a wave.

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