Three’s company – siblings reunited under the same roof at Montefiore Randwick

Siblings Maureen Segelov, Sam Kutner and Linda Rector are living under the same roof again for the first time in 70 years at Montefiore Randwick.

The last time siblings Sam Kutner OAM, Linda Rector and Maureen Segelov all lived together was in the family home in Brighton, England  in the 1940s, before they emigrated to Australia.

Now, over the past five years, all three have come together again living at Montefiore Randwick. The Kutner family moved to Sydney in the early 1950s as ‘10-pound Poms’. Maureen was the baby of the family at 12 years old, Linda was 16, while Sam and their eldest sister Helen (who passed away in her 50s) were in their 20s and already married, each travelling to Australia separately with their partners.

“We lived in Brighton, and our father, Mayer, ran a mirror manufacturing business in the East End,” says Linda, “but he wasn’t well and wanted to move to Sydney to be closer to his brother who was already here.”The sisters remember the move being a difficult one in their teens. “I was horribly homesick,” says Maureen. “When we arrived to stay with family in Maroubra, it was so different and wild. The taxi driver couldn’t get all the way up the rough road to the house.”

The death of their father less than a year after arriving in Australia was a huge blow for the family, but their mother, Minnie, decided they would stay. Sam and his wife Stella arrived after their father’s passing. “It was a bad time,” says Sam, “but Dr Fanny Reading [founder of the National Council of Jewish Women] took Mum under her wing. There was a lot of support from the community.”

Each of the siblings built busy, independent lives with their own families. Linda attended Sydney Girls High School and studied fine arts. She had three children and became a curator, naming her time working with renowned architect Harry Seidler as a highlight. “He had decided to dedicate Rose Seidler House, the first home he designed in Australia for his parents, as a living museum,” she says. “I helped restore it to its original condition.”

Maureen attended SCEGGS followed by business college, meeting her late husband John, a neurosurgeon, while working in hospital administration. “We met in an anaesthetics room, and I asked him if his patient was alive, which he didn’t like!” she recalls. They had two children, while Maureen helped in John’s practice and began investing in property. “I’ve been through a lot in my life, as have many. I think I managed so well as we had a wonderful marriage for 40 years.”

Sam and Stella had two daughters, and he pursued a career in engineering. In retirement, he joined TAD, a not-for-profit organisation creating personalised technology aids for people with disabilities. His inventions earned him an OAM and TV coverage, but Sam is most proud of the fact that two of the families he helped still visit him at Montefiore today.

Now, after moving in and out of each other’s lives for many years, they have come full circle and are living close to each other once more at Randwick. “Maureen and I eat together in the dining room, while Sam usually sits with the men,” says Linda. “I know the one person who would be happiest to see us together like this is our mother,” finishes Sam.