Lois was born in Creswick in 1939, and she attended both Creswick State School and Ballarat High School.
She obtained the Secondary Teachers Certificate (Arts & Crafts) (known then as SAC) at the School of Mines Ballarat and then went on to study at Melbourne Teachers College, RMIT and Melbourne University from 1959-61
Barrie and Lois married in Ballarat in 1963.
Lois was a biochemistry technician at the Queen Victoria Hospital in 1957, a teacher of at Rainbow High School in 1962 and Nathalia High School from 1963-65. She did part time and emergency teaching during the 1970s into the late 1980s, together with part time work with Australian Bureau of Statistics during 1980s. She was Public Officer of the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria in the early 2000s.
She has retained a strong interest in matters forestry throughout her life and, indeed, she is a niece of Walter Zimmer.