Heather Mutimer Women’s Honour Roll
The Hepburn Shire Council holds an annual Civic Function to celebrate International Women’s Day.
At the Council’s inaugural Women’s Day Celebration in 2005 the Women’s Honour Roll was launched and each year names are added.
The roll provides the forum to acknowledge women who have made a difference.
By acknowledging these women, past and present, they become role models for generations to come.
The Roll and today’s event celebrates the strength, courage and contribution of women from the region and encourages the stories to be told of these extraordinary-ordinary women.
“The individual contribution Kit makes Trentham and its facilities, can be best measured by the high personal esteem she carries in the community but the biggest reward for Kit is being able to witness other people’s happiness.”
Having grown up in Trentham, Kit Manning was one of the first women in this small country town to begin to show how the actions of one woman, can pave the way for the women of the future. After the population of Trentham had dwindled and many community groups began to fold, Kit was the person to take control and raise money to resurrect many of these important groups.
During the 1980s, her involvement in the rebuild of the Trentham football club proved how her dedication in bringing together many women from the community, created the beginning of great things for this small country town. These incredible women raised money through cake stalls every Saturday, over many, many months and this alone was enough to purchase jumpers, equipment and many other items to go with the rebuild of the club. Kit has also had a large input in the functioning of the Trentham Mechanics institute being the hall organiser and house keeper, as well as often taking bookings. She organises women from the Combined Churches or in the community, to help prepare meals for events to be catered by the Mechanics institute and was instrumental in the establishment of the Trentham Kindergarten and continued to work there until she retired at the age of 62. Still to this day, you will often see her getting involved and giving support to children’s functions and events.
“Jenny has made vast contributions to reducing gender inequality and disadvantage. She has shown incredible passion towards making Australia a fairer place for women.”
Jenny Beacham knows that a determined woman will often ﬁnd a way to ﬁx something that doesn’t seem fair. As a school teacher in the 60s and 70s, Jenny knew how important equal access to quality education played in giving people better social and economic prosperity. The poorer outcomes and gaps however she saw between rural versus city; females versus males; public versus private, and pupils living with racial or other disadvantage strongly motivated Jenny. It was a culturally significant time for women like Jenny to push back hard on existing power structures. Jenny knew the value of female networks to strengthen that push towards structural and cultural changes. During the 1980s to mid 90s, Jenny fully immersed herself in politics with roles including being: an electoral ofﬁcer for Joan Kirner, (Victoria’s first female Premier); an ALP organiser; a dynamic partner as Lady Mayoress; a senior advisor for then Premier Kirner; a State Secretary of the Victorian ALP; and a political candidate. Jenny sought political office and despite not winning, Jenny continued working behind the scenes, to advance the status of women. Jenny still provides mentorship for female candidates – particularly rural and indigenous ones.
“The loyalty, tenacity and generosity that Jenny shows are qualities that have been admired by many others and have helped her be able to make so many significant changes for women.”
Candy Broad grew up during the feminist social changes of the 1960’s and 70’s which was one of the main influences on her decision to pave her way into a career around improving gender equity and social and environmental justice. Candy has been a long term Hepburn Shire resident but has had a number of significant achievements contributing to public life. From an early age, she understood the need for a long-term network of likeminded females to support and influence each other in effecting change. From 1993 to 1999 Candy campaigned women’s rights within the ALP, working as an assistant of the National Secretary. She played a significant role in the 1994 introduction of the ALP’s affirmative action scheme, aiming to have women pre-selected in 35 percent of winnable seats. During 1996 she became a founding member of Emily’s List Australia, a campaign designed to increase the number of women MP’s in our state, territory and federal Parliaments. Candy worked with women such as Kay Setches and Joan Kirner, building support for the women in Victoria, gradually spreading the changes nationally. Arguably one of Candy’s biggest achievements to date, is the Abortion Law Reform Bill that she proposed into Parliament in 2008. The bill passed overwhelmingly on a conscience vote by members of all parties. Effectively this lead to the decriminalisation of abortion and improvement of women’s health.
“During the 1960s, Elsie’s work left an indelible mark on the Daylesford community in the form of the West St Centenary Flats.”
Elsie Miller, nee Fleischer, was born in Yandoit on the 21st of September 1894 and grew up at Glenlyon where she later taught at the State School. In 1939 she joined the Daylesford Ladies Benevolent Society of which she was a member for 36 years and served on the committee for most of them. The DLBS was set up in 1863 to relieve the needs of the poor, particularly females in Daylesford and surrounding districts by supplying them with food, clothing and necessities. On August 23rd 1968, the Daylesford Advocate reported that it was the drive and commitment of Elsie Miller that allowed the Society to further its long term dream of affordable housing in the 1960s, 70 years after the first housing venture, the Jubilee Flats in East St. To do this she actively sought help from local politicians to retain land in West Street that had been reserved for the Benevolent Asylum. While it had been the desire of all members to provide housing for women in Daylesford, it was Elsie who seized the moment and made that dream a reality. Several accommodation units were built after Elsie used every bit of her time and energy to secure the agreement for them to be built. As Secretary of the Benevolent Society, Elsie managed the change in the constitution of the society to enable it to be registered as a charitable body with the Hospital and Charities Commission, ensuring eligibility for Government funding which provided better resources for women residing in the Daylesford district.
Gale was a second mother to a generation of children. They’ll boast about her stellar hugs, her guiding voice and bottomless love.
Educating and empowering children was Gale’s greatest strength. The result is a generation of children passing on her wisdom, work ethic and love. That is what makes our community strong.
Daylesford was lucky to be gifted with Gale Orford…a woman who gave everything she had for her community and its children.
Julie Elizabeth lngleby was born in 1944 and her first home was a Nissan Hut in Camp Pell, a disused army camp in Parkville, Victoria which housed around 3000 people who a had been displaced by inner city slum reclamation.
She studied Fine Art at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology on a teaching bursary and supported herself as a cleaner, a photographic colourist and a detailer of trucks- any work that suited her studying. After graduation she paid back her bursary as she didn’t want to be forced into teaching before she was ready.
She married at 18 and had two children and as a family they travelled extensively in Europe over a number of years where she enjoyed seeing the works she had studied, exploring galleries and museums and immersing herself and her family in different cultures noticing in particular how women were treated in different cultures.
She became and organier in the teachers ‘ union but resigned to return to the classroom as her major love was teaching, particularly those who didn’t fit into traditional schools . She strongly supported the educational innovation of specially written comic books and strips in schools to encourage non-readers to read. She wrote and published extensively in the genre.
Her Master’s thesis in 1985 “Action Research and the Politics of Change in Working Class Schools” emphasised the novel notion of individual student needs and was to become a blueprint for many Departmental schools. Her PHD thesis “Advanced Educational Theory and Community Development” satisfied two faculties and earned her two PHDs. Again this was a practical working document that was made available to schools.
In death she was still innovating as the first person to be buried in a shroud in our local cemetery . Her reason? It was more environmentally acceptable.
Her rough-hewn headstone reads: Julie Elizabeth lngleby ‘Woman Mother Comrade’
Abstract – Citation written by Marjorie Atkinson
In more than two decades restoring and operating one of the region’s most spectacular tourist attractions, Lavandula, Carol White has quietly and determinedly shown how to build a thriving enterprise and has inspired a community. She inspires as an example to women by her successful business.
Converting a dream into reality, persistence and determination paid off for Tina.
Tina is also committed to young and emerging artists and supports various schools and community groups conducting workshops and fundraising projects. She has been an inspiration and mentor for young women.
Michelle’s contribution to the advancement of women is an inclusive and empowering role, through the founding and funding of the Sidinda Health Clinic in rural Zimbabwe.
Through the clinic Michelle has centred initiatives for women’s health, social advancement and employment. Additionally, Michelle’s leadership has been able to create relationships between the Zimbabwean women and local Clunes residents.
Alla’s unswerving vision created an Australian food and getaway attraction that has clearly played a ground breaking role in Hepburn Shire history.
Celebrated internationally as the single most influential individual in the region’s reputation as a fine food destination, few have achieved more to shape the face of Australian regional dining. Alla remains pivotal to creating a demand for local produce in this region. Her leadership as a woman in a highly competitive industry is legendary.
Catherine (Kit) Trewhella (Posthumous)
Kit was born in 1896, one of 6 children growing up in a shepherds hut in Blue Mount, just out of Trentham. She lived her adult life in the Trentham area apart from a few years in Melbourne working for Johns and Waygood and learning drafting.
Her father William was an engineer, responsible for inventing what is known as “Trewhella Jacks”, an implement initially used in the tree milling industry to remove tree stumps. He and his brother set up the Trewhella foundry in Trentham to manufacture these jacks and Kit worked most of her adult life here. Both Kit’s father and Grandfather Benjamin, a farmer, Justice of the Peace, Councillor, Trentham Masonic Lodge founder and educator, were role models for her. Her mother died when she was young.
Elizabeth Hepburn (posthumous)
Born in 1805 Elizabeth Combes (Hepburn) was the child of Thomas and Anne Combes. She was baptised at the parish church of Cowley, and on 17 May 1830 at the age of 25 (or 24) married John Hepburn at St Anne, Limehouse.
An opportunity was presented to Hepburn to captain a steamship between Sydney and the Hunter River in New South Wales which he eagerly took up. Elizabeth Hepburn travelled from London to Australia in 1837. Elizabeth Hepburn did the trip from London to Sydney with two young children.
They travelled for three long months from the settled districts of New South Wales to the area now called Smeaton where they settled.
More than just the first white woman in the district, Elizabeth Hepburn played an important role in the establishment of a farming community in the Hepburn district. Elizabeth Hepburn also took a special interest in the welfare of aboriginal women.
As a woman with pioneering experience she would have played an important role as a mentor and friend. Her presence in the male dominated squattocracy would have been welcomed by many, but most especially by the women who settled in the district.
Susan Dennett (Su)
Community leader Su Dennett was cited for constantly offering encouragement for women and their families to work towards an ecologically sustainable self-sufficient life.
Su Dennett is a local elder, teacher, publisher, and sustainability mentor. She is described as “a tireless worker towards a fairer and safer community and as a stalwart when it comes to social justice, especially concerning the rights of women and enabling better opportunities for local women and their families to access healthy food”.
Su is a fierce campaigner for environmental justice and is considered both a local and global pioneer of the permaculture movement. Su’s life has been dedicated to how we can better work to achieve harmony with the land and with each other. Su co-founded Hepburn Relocalisation Network in 2005, which regularly hosts information sessions, workshops and film nights focussed on sustainability and the associated skills required to pragmatically implement sustainable living modes within our shire.
These skills range from her extensive knowledge in animal husbandry, organic gardening, harvesting, preserving, ecological restoration, all things that Su shares daily with her community. Her work in networking local families to local farm produce has enabled many local families to eat best practice agricultural food at affordable prices. This has helped grow the burgeoning community food system, a system that recognises food miles as an enormous contributor to climate change, and Su has worked closely with community gardeners to further expand a local and just food economy. Su has been an active member of Council’s sustainability group, and worked with Council and fellow community participants to establish the Shire’s Energy Descent Action Plan, a first of its kind in Australia.
73 year-old Tulku-Rose worked for many years in Hepburn Shire as a teacher, and as a successful business woman. She was commended for advancing the status of women both here and overseas.
Among her numerous and significant contributions, Tulku- Rose has volunteered her time and skills to assist the plight of women and girls in South Africa, Kenya, locally in Daylesford, and other places for many years.
Tulku Rose is well known in Hepburn. As a pioneer, she was the first ordained female minister in the region, as a person of compassion, opening doors to women for meditation and counselling and starting a nursing mothers meditation group, and as a ‘can-do’ person, with friends, she started the Central Highlands AIDS Support Group.
She recognised the poor status of women in South Africa and worked to provide them with sustainable employment and business opportunities through Emily Jordan House, and organised the donation of sewing machines to a girls’ school.
Tulku-Rose has been described as “a force for great good in the Daylesford/Hepburn Springs Community and a wonderful example of service above self.”
Susan Maree Waters
Sue Waters has lived in Spargo Creek and worked in the Hepburn Shire for eleven years, both as a volunteer and in paid work. Sue has been with the Leonards Hill Fire Brigade for eleven years, and became 1st Lieutenant before being elected Captain for five years—the first female Captain of the Brigade. On stepping down as Captain, she is now 2nd Lieutenant in a training officer’s position. She has also been a volunteer with the SES for two years. After three months she was made a team leader, a position she now holds through her voluntary work.
Sue has played important roles in enabling these organisations to provide their vital services to the community. In taking on the leadership roles she has filled in the once male-dominated organisations of the CFA and SES. Sue has been a powerful and successful role model for local women to follow. She has thus assisted in opening up service in these organisations to other women, helping to break down the stereotypical perception amongst men and women of what a woman’s role as a volunteer in a rural Shire should be.
She has also worked at Littles as a bus driver for the past ten and a half years, being the only female bus driver for about the first six years. In being a female bus driver, she has also been a role model for others to follow into previously male- dominated paid work. Some years ago, Sue encouraged another woman to apply and she is now a bus driver with Littles. Sue has been a member of the Korweinguboora Recreations Reserve Committee. She was also a first aid volunteer for the Daylesford football and netball players for three years. In her personal life, Sue and her husband have created a truly equal partnership, sharing all parenting tasks and domestic chores, including cooking—a women’s liberation dream—and a situation which has enabled her, as a woman with a growing family, to make her own unique contribution to life outside the home.
Valmai Heap (Posthumous)
In 1983 Valmai Heap of the Yorta Yorta people became the first woman appointed as CEO of the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (B&DAC;). Her appointment constituted a significant advancement in the status of women. It affirmed women’s entitlement to hold a level of office once the preserve of males and (given an all male board of directors as the appointing body) demonstrated male recognition of women’s abilities to handle diverse organisational demands in adverse circumstances.
Importantly, it meant greater inclusion of women in shaping their community’s development, and inspired them to dream of, and reach for, opportunities previously denied them. Valmai’s leadership strength lay in her ability to listen and communicate. She understood the importance of consultation to good leadership. This allowed her to act as a conduit for identifying social and cultural issues important to both effective workplace relations and bearing on the direction of the cooperative’s development. She gave support and identified opportunities for women. Valmai led through compassion and by example, but also through practical action on the issues of Koorie culture and education, and domestic violence. Valmai initiated and developed opportunities to reconnect with traditional skills and culture, to become effective Koori educators, and to access effective support for domestic violence victims.
Valmai’s appointment as CEO opened the way for a fresh approach to issues detrimental to both workplace relations and the daily life of the Co-op’s clientele; issues either submerged due to disregard (e.g. women’s health and domestic violence) or seen as the province of women in traditional culture (e.g. educating the young). Increased permission and space to address such issues arguably disposed to significant benefits for the individual women involved in the Co-op (as direct participants or as clients) and their families. Such is the basis for building personal and collective confidence, and valuable social capital that benefits everyone. She worked closely with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, raising awareness of women’s health issues, and identified opportunities for women to develop as artists. The change heralded by Valmai’s pioneering steps as the first woman CEO in B&DAC; is confirmed in the composition of today’s B&DAC; Board of Directors: four women and three men directors. Her efforts to promote Koori culture, education and access to support for domestic violence victims—while rudimentary—can be seen as seeds for the expanded range of services offered by B&DAC; today. Originally established to provide services in health, welfare and housing, its services now include art, culture, education, and social wellbeing. Valmai’s legacy entwines with the fruitful efforts of the many who shared and nurtured the vision of a better future for her community and culture. The Val Heap Trust fund is part of that legacy. Valmai’s contributions in regards to contributing creative, unique or innovative ideas and initiatives are best apprehended in her cultural heritage work. In 1988 she became the first Koori appointed by Museum Victoria: the inaugural position of Coordinator, aboriginal Training. In this role Valmai initiated projects and strategies which effectively promoted recognition of the role of women and shaped opinion within the Victorian Aboriginal community and beyond. It was Valmai’s dream that a “Keeping Place” (museum) should be established in Ballarat. This was eventually done and owes a debt to Valmai.
Julieanne Regan was born in Melbourne and later lived in Brunswick and Coburg where she did community work with the homeless and youth unemployed. She came to the Hepburn Shire in 1991 with her son Kit.
Some of her many achievements reflect her interest in the arts and the environment, e.g. the art installation and garden at the Daylesford Library and recycling waste management projects. Others reflect her high ethical values, passion, drive, and commitment to social justice and gender equality. These include her founding at local level humanitarian organisations such as OXFAM and the East Timor ‘Bobonaro Friendship Group.”. It also includes her dogged and unflagging pursuit of ‘good governance’ and accountability by our local government leaders, bureaucrats and other community organisations. Julieanne is most proud of her commitment to attending council meetings at a time when there was apathy after amalgamation. During this time she would often be the only member of the public in attendance. She challenged and questioned despite lack of support from others at these meetings. In her own words “I was a thorn in their side”. Julieanne hopes she has provided opportunities for women to challenge and question Council. Equally important to Julieanne was her lobbying to raise the awareness in Council of the need for child care to enable women with young children to participate in council activities and decision-making.
All these achievements helped to advance the status of women, enabling them to expand their lives, and demonstrate her leadership qualities.
Like all country children even at an early age Rhonda Smith displayed qualities of leadership, responsibility, willingness to give, and an easy get to know you personality, all of which have continued to this day.
Rhonda has involved herself in a great deal. She has been involved in the Dean CFA from 1985-2007 earning a 30 year service badge for contributing both as a Communications Officer and a member. She has also been a member of the Newlyn Community Complex, the Rocky Lead Landcare Group Inc., the Daylesford Highlands Gathering Society and is the founding member of the Daylesford Spa C.W.A.— Night Branch. Rhonda is involved heavily with the secretary of the Australian Ploughing Competitions and Australian Representative on the World Committee, where she has done herself great pride as one of only three women on the World Board together with 27 males. She is very proud to hold this position for 13 years in a male dominated sport. As partner to David Smith during his 14 years of Local Government service, three of which were as Mayor of the Shire, she has always been willing to be available to her community. Rhonda hopes that she has helped to give women confidence that they can achieve any public position should they put their name forward or hand up.
Mrs Margaret Giles, daughter, wife, mother, friend, community member, committee member and board member. A woman who is caring, compassionate, strong, professional, passionate and a leader. The countless hours of support and dedication she has given to her family, business and community over the years show the strength of this remarkable woman.
Margaret is now retired and operates Rossmore Cottage, a B&B; which she tends to with pride and ensures that all of her guests receive the highest of care and are introduced to the wonderful history and future of the town she loves so dearly. Margaret, an energetic mother to three and proud grandmother to four, was primary carer for her husband Neville until he died recently after a battle with cancer. Margaret’s experience includes a varied career in nursing, a long term small business owner, eight years as a careers advisor/employment officer in Daylesford, the only female Commissioner for the Amalgamated Shires of Creswick, Clunes, Talbot, Daylesford, Glenlyon and numerous committee and board positions Margaret possesses such a wealth of experience and knowledge, which she eagerly shares with women to encourage their involvement in their communities.
One of Margaret’s many achievements is the inception of a Magic Pudding Playground Working Group; a group of young mothers engaged and passionate about building a unique playground in Creswick. The Playground is to be a site of the Creswick of the Lindsay Arts Trail project which aims to promote Creswick as a tourism destination. Margaret is an honest, hard working, passionate woman who deserves to be recognised for her tireless work within the Creswick community and Hepburn Shire.
Sally Lea McRae
At present, the information that has been provided to Council on Sally Lea McRae is being finalised and will be updated as soon as possible.
Winifred Marigold Elliot (Meg)
Along her life’s journey Meg’s feisty, forthright and independent personality has enabled her to achieve great things and to survive in the tough environment in which she has lived and worked.
Meg Elliott was born Winifred Marigold Graham on 1st March 1938. She was one of seven children from a humble, hardworking and tough Daylesford family of pioneering stock. Meg was educated in Daylesford. When her family moved to Warragul she trained as a Secretary. It was here that Meg met and married Tom Elliott and they moved to Croydon and had two children. As a working mother during the 1960’s, Meg had various jobs which included driving taxis and delivering bread. In the 1970’s Meg returned to Daylesford; a single mother with her 13 year old daughter Phyllis, and settled at Coomoora. With the help of Phyllis she ran a small farm – baling hay, fencing, driving farm machinery and chain sawing wood, chopping and carting wood. Her older cousin, Joyce, was in awe of Meg’s skills and confidence as she carried out the ‘work of men’.
She also trained and qualified as a meat inspector becoming Victoria’s first female meat inspector. Working in a tough and male – dominated industry was not without its challenges and obstacles. She described these to a group of over 200 women at a ‘Women In Action’ Seminar around 1990 at the Daylesford Town Hall. Meg became active in local politics and community life. In the 1980’s she became a Councillor with the then Daylesford and Glenlyon Shire. She became the Shire’s second female Mayor and would serve two terms as Mayor (1989-1990). These were tumultuous times in Victorian Local Government leading up to forced amalgamations. As Mayor she also became a Justice of the Peace (J.P).
It was around this time Meg’s struggle with rheumatoid arthritis began. But, despite her increasing disability, she retained her independence and activity in community life. She used her skills and knowledge gained as a Councillor for the benefit of community causes e.g. Daylesford & District Action Group (DDAG), Senior Citizens, Hepburn Community Access Group and VCAT planning appeals. Meg was instrumental in lobbying for disability access to public places and spaces e.g. the Daylesford Town Hall and street spaces. In 2009 Meg suffered a serious stroke and sadly was unable to return to her much – loved home overlooking Slum Dam in Daylesford. She moved to a nursing home in Benalla where her daughter and family live.
Kath Brown was born in Trentham and has lived there all her life. She has always been a “battler,” raising a large family of ten boys and several of her grandchildren. Despite these family commitments, Kath has done outstanding community service, particularly on the Trentham Swimming Pool Committee and the Trentham Fire Brigade.
While her children were growing up, she was involved mainly in sporting activities. For many years she was a volunteer with Trentham Junior Football team, and for approximately 20 years she did voluntary work with Trentham Swimming Pool Committee. In order to do the latter, she took a course in Melbourne to learn about pool operation and maintenance. Her work at the swimming pool only stopped when management of the pool was handed over to the YMCA. At a time when its future was often in doubt, her work kept the swimming pool open and demonstrated what a valuable asset it is to the community, especially for children.
Kath Brown has also been involved in the Trentham Fire Brigade sine the 1980s. From 25 October 1983 until it disbanded on 26 September 2000, she was Secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary, raising money to buy essential supplies and equipment. From 7 October 1995 until 30 June 2002, she was also secretary of the Brigade, so for five years she was Secretary for both organizations simultaneously. In April 1990 she became a full member of the Brigade, and from July 1990 Communications Officer. She has been Communications Officer during all the major local fire emergencies, including Ash Wednesday, and in nearly 19 years has only taken one, short holiday. She has been a pioneer woman in the Trentham Brigade, leading by example.
Lisa Jane Gervasoni
Lisa is a dedicated member of the community who uses her skills and expertise to the benefit of those around her and to encourage the protection of local community and heritage assets. Lisa has utilized her professional skills as a town planner to help the local community, both in a voluntary and professional capacity.
Lisa’s local involvement was triggered by the introduction of the new format planning schemes across Victoria, a task she was involved with at the State level. This led to her taking leave to‘re- write’ the draft Hepburn Planning Scheme, and her version was described by the independent panel as the best example they had seen.
Lisa is a former member of the Hepburn Football Club Committee, and has provided an example to young females, showing them that they can have an important role in local sports management. Her involvement in the Club included preparing a successful funding application for the Hepburn Football Club multipurpose room.
Lisa’s work in the area of heritage, planning and urban design had been integral in preserving significant sites, especially the Hepburn Pool.
Lisa has also volunteered as a coach for primary and secondary students in numeracy and literacy.
Kathy Elizabeth Watt
Education is the field in which Kathy Watt has expanded, broadened and developed the lives of members of the community. She has been a constant in the life of the Daylesford community and Primary School for over thirty-five years. Her aim in education is to give her students confidence, skills, stability and empowerment.
Kathy builds links between students and the community. Lessons from “Town Outings” teach students about behavior, friendliness and mutual respect. She also builds links between parents and the school, and between people in the school community. She is described by a former Principal as the glue that keeps the team together. Past students, parents and staff describe her as a fun loving teacher who calmly and patiently trains independent learners.
As part of the Daylesford Primary School Early Years Team, Kathy worked on an exciting research project that resulted in improved delivery of Literacy Programs, and improved student results from those programs. She has worked as a Reading Recovery Teacher to assist the progress of students experiencing difficulty with reading.
Kathy Watt has quietly supported many families through difficult times and adjustment periods. She claims thousands of readers and well-rounded citizens have been her proudest contribution to the local community.
Margaret Laurus Grenfell (Posthumous)
Margaret Grenfell devoted her life to her family and fellow citizens in the Clunes community. Her lifetime involvement with the Clunes area has contributed to it becoming a better place to live.
She was a natural leader, yet was able to fully involve all members of groups and organisations. During her 90-year involvement with the Presbyterian Church, she was the first woman appointed to her Church’s Board of Management. She was also the first female member of the Clunes Hospital Board of Management, a position which she held for over 20 years. Her community involvement included service with the Red Cross, the Clunes Horticultural Society, Clunes Museum and the Agricultural Show Committee. She was the founding member of the Clunes Agricultural Society Ladies Committee.
Through her involvement with the Presbyterian Church, she was part of the Board that allowed Wesley College to building on the Church’s land. Margaret was an effective negotiator and communicator during the initial phase of the Wesley project. In later years, even when over 90 years of age, she was very involved with the Wesley students and shared her local, historical knowledge with them.
Patricia Ann Tinetti (Trish)
Trish Tinetti is a major achiever who prefers a low public profile. Her tireless efforts have helped improve local agriculture, farm management and sustainability, education, emergency services, the arts and culture as well as indigenous affairs and the annual Swiss Italian celebrations.
Her work for the disabled and families of Vietnam Veterans and her support of charitable causes and community health and well-being have provided valuable assistance to countless people in the community.
Trish married pioneer descendant Ian Tinetti and has raised four children out at Shepherd’s Flat. There as a family they have created Cricket Willow: a sustainable willow plantation, workshop where hand crafted cricket bats are made from the willows, museum of cricket memorabilia, sporting complex and tourist attraction. During her adult life Trish has spent 35 years working for St Vincent de Paul and district nursing, with special emphasis on the needs and wellbeing of older women. Through an Outreach program she visits older widowed women to help them through loneliness, depression and coping with the death of loved ones.
In addition to working with the local Funeral Director and the Church to assist widows coping with bereavement, Trish has worked with Dr. Greg Malcher on Men’s Health and was a driving force in obtaining the Gold Health Card for Vietnam Veterans.
Climate change and decreasing water supplies have long been concerns for Trish. She and Ian were amongst the first in the district to acknowledge the benefits of recycled water and use it at Cricket Willow. Trish Tinetti is a great role model for the young mothers of today and an inspiration to the whole community. She now sees climate change and the decline of the farming community as her greatest challenge of the future.
Mary Catherine Walsh
Mary Morgan of Railway Farm, Trentham, was born in County Rosscommon. It was after working there and in England that her adventurous spirit was attracted to an advertisement that led her to a job in Kyneton. In 1958 she arrived in Australia aboard the Fairsea as a “£10 Pom”.
In her 25 years with Kyneton Hospital she worked as staff member and midwife before being invited to take the role as Matron. Instrumental in the hospital’s growth and development she was an active member of the Trentham Bush Nursing Hospital Committee.
She met Tom Walsh at a St Mary’s country dance but not ready to settle down she first went to outback Australia where she worked for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Cloncurry. They finally married and although Mary and Tom had nine children within 12 years, Mary still found time to serve the community.
Mary Walsh is acknowledged as a born leader and an inspiring role model within the medical profession, the church and the community. Compassionate, understanding and with a love of life, her 50 years of nursing has led her on many paths, possibly her most appreciated being in palliative care.
Not only has she helped her patients during their last days but has counselled and helped their loved ones cope with their grief and has provided spiritual and cultural support to all those in need.
Mary has provided an ongoing welcome and encouragement to strangers in the local community, particularly women of foreign cultures. She has helped them to find friends and employment and adjust to life in country Australia. There is a lighter side to Mary Walsh. Catch up with her at the Trentham Hotel where she regularly attends with husband Tom as MC at Irish nights on the fourth Friday of very month.
When born in Creswick in 1924, Marj Harris was a fourth generation Creswick girl. Her father was a well known hairdresser and her mother the local baker of ‘Harris’ legendary pies and pasties’.
Brought up at 32 Albert Street, Marj helped in the shop, went to Creswick State School, became involved with the Victoria Street Methodist Church Sunday School and the local tennis Club. An avid swimmer, she gained her Bronze Medallion for swimming, diving and life-saving and, at age 15, received a “Valour Award” for rescuing a man.
With the outbreak of World War II, Marj and friends formed the “Creswick Girls Patriotic Younger Set” to raise comfort funds for soldiers overseas. She later joined the Australian Women’s Army Service: AWAS. In March 1945, still in uniform, Marj married Don White, who was serving in the RAAF. They had four children and during the 1950s Marj became involved not just with raising a family but with the building of the Scout and RSL Halls, catering for the RSL Auxiliary and establishing the toddler’s pool at Calambeen Park.
Of her many achievements her major one could be considered the founding of the preschool centre in St John’s Hall in 1959 and her four years as foundation secretary.
To supplement the family income she became a journalist for the Ballarat Courier for nine years providing continuous Creswick news, and wrote articles for the RSL Magazine Mufti.
In 1978 Don’s health collapsed and, at the age of 55 she had to become Carer and learnt to drive. Then, tragically, she had to face the death of two sons in war service: Neill died in 1981 and Don in 1983.
Despite her loss she continued to work tirelessly for the community and became the Coordinator of the wreath making project for Anzac and Remembrance.
Susan Marguerite Gunningham (Posthumous)
She was such a quiet, selfless person that the depth of the amazing work of the woman now referred to as “the Glue that held the Glenlyon community together” was not recognised until after her death.
Born during World War ll Susan carved out an accountancy career for herself and was one of the first women to work in a senior position for the Australian Tax Office. Married in 1978 she moved to Glenlyon in 1983 and it was here that she became part of a community she loved and where she nursed her husband through a long illness.
Unable to work full time and also be a Carer, Susan found time to put her accountancy skills to work helping Glenlyon’s Sports Club, Pony Club and Progress Association.
Sue’s quiet acts of altruism and self sacrifice included daily acts of humanity in supporting the elderly, the disabled and neighbours in need.
She was determined to assist members of the community to remain living at home by providing transport to medical and hospital appointments and assistance with shopping.
Her little green car became “the local bus for anyone in need of transport.”
It was the hundreds of little things she did that added up to a major contribution: babysitting for families in need, flowers from her garden for the church, collecting mail, walking numerous dogs for their owners, looking after pets if people were away, helping in a garden, delivering Meals on Wheels, welcoming a newcomer to the district.
She would not accept payment for any of her community work, even though she was of limited income and often unwell herself and never complained about her own hardships.
Sue died far too young in 2007 at the age of 65. The community are still coming to terms with their loss and wish to honour her decades of caring for them.
Deaconess Georgina Marines Harvey (Posthumous)
Born in Yarraville in 1910, Georgina was the daughter of Mary Jane Iverson of Ballarat and Robert Marines Harvey who came from Ireland.
In 1940 she was ordained as a Church of England Deaconess and from that day until her death at the age of 96 she spent her life in the service of God and his people. Described by some as ‘saintly’, all her adult life Deaconess Harvey’s main purpose was to look after those in need of care, compassion, counselling, respite or spiritual advice.
In 1961 this caring woman moved to the Daylesford Parish and Hepburn Shire and in that year with her friend, Deaconess Mavis Rogers, established the Pilgrims Respite Home as a holiday venue for Melbourne mothers and children who needed a break they could not afford.
Her church work included presiding over church services, establishing a bible study group, providing Pastoral care and Outreach services to Lumeah Lodge Aged Care and working with members of the Ladies Guild. The Deaconess helped to improve the lot of women by tackling matters of gender equity and equality and worked towards the ordination of women.
As is the Christian way, the Deaconess reached out to the wider community. She set up a community of women singers who sang for pleasure and to give joy to the elderly. Her love of nature led her to establish the annual Daffodil Show at St Matthew’s Anglican Church and a garden of fresh vegetables shared with those in need. She also assisted women to learn the skills of administration, public speaking and fund raising. It has been said of her: “As a Deaconess, working for God, the light she shone on the world, is also called a State of Grace. This grace provided an inspiration to those in need.”
Elizabeth Sewell (Posthumous)
Credited with being the first white woman to live in Creswick, Elizabeth Falla was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1833, the daughter of Robert Falla (1801-1860) and his wife Elizabeth Neill (1803-1876). Falla, his wife Elizabeth and children Robert, Alexander, Mary, Elizabeth, Ellen and Andrew left for Australia on 13 June 1849 on board the Tasman but spent two months in quarantine in Plymouth when cholera broke out amongst the passengers.
Descendant Noel Webb discovered that whilst in Plymouth the family was accused of stealing sugar from another passenger, were charged and sentenced, their punishment to pump water from the galley for a week. The Fallas arrived in Geelong in October 1849 and within a year Elizabeth was working in service on properties in the Ararat district.
Towards the end of 1851 she returned to her parents in Geelong where she met and married Jonah Andrew Sewell (1828-1892). Gold had been discovered in the Ballarat area and Sewell wanted to go to the Ovens diggings with Cousin Richard Tyson so Elizabeth joined them and they set off via Ballarat and Creswick. When their horses were stolen they were stranded in Creswick and so began a hard life on the diggings. While there they met Captain Hepburn and her husband later worked for him.
Elizabeth lived to have her experiences recorded in 1912 giving a valuable insight into the early life of Creswick. It is this record that allows us to understand the incredible hardships of life in the goldfields and how ordinary women lived lonely, extraordinary lives, of life and death on the diggings, having children without medical help and creating family homes under canvas. Elizabeth died in 1915 and her descendants are proud of her pioneering spirit while Creswick historians are delighted to have a record of the 1850s.
Phyllis Pollard started up the famous Creswick Brass Band bringing music to the town like never before. By doing so she was a forerunner for the liberation movement as she lead with an idea which she saw through to be a great success. She was aged 37 at the time the band was formed.
Fifty six years later she is still encouraging budding musicians and has formed partnerships far and wide through the band with other organisations in the town and around the Shire.
One of her main intentions in forming the band was for equal opportunity for women to be involved and this has taken place very successfully with women as directors and conductors of the band and many female band members going on to pursue a musical career.
She took care of every aspect of the band including keeping it equipped with instruments, uniforms and ensuring performances were at the highest level. She encouraged everyone to join and not being able to read or play music was never seen to be an obstacle. People joined and quickly learned to play even if they had no prior music knowledge or interest.
To ensure the band’s ongoing success she also organised the fund raising including bingo nights and even catered for wedding and functions to raise money. The Band is known state wide with appearances including the 2001 Federation Celebrations where the Band played in Swanson Street, Melbourne. Phyllis was raised in Red Hill and as the eldest of nine did most of the cooking and housework. She was schooled by correspondence and then helped her father on the farm. She married and had six children and she ensured their education included music lessons.
As a mother, grandmother and great-grand mother and great-great-grand mother her input into family and the community has been nothing less than incredible.
Along with the Band she was involved in many aspects of community but most of all she is known as founder, patron, benefactor, fan, supporter and band-mother of the Creswick Brass Band.
Artist Kathie Hollis is a long term, committed and enthusiastic community volunteer and as well as this her spectacular artwork has permanently changed the outlook of Trentham forever. Her many celebrated artworks include landscapes, streetscapes, murals and botanical illustrations.
Her work includes the well-known historical Trentham Town Square mural depicting local history and the Trentham Railway Forest Walk artwork, (commissioned by the Hepburn Shire Council), Trentham Primary School mural and the Trentham streetscape drawing used in the 2005 Centenary celebrations.
Her work in recent times has included the bush scene paintings and assisting with other backdrops used for the Trentham Community Play, Through the Mist.
Her artwork is featured throughout the town including the Mechanics Institute, primary school, and kindergarten.
Her scientific artwork has been used in specific illustrations in the Australian Government Department of Arts, Heritage and Environment for the Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.
Her love for children has led to the self esteem of many being increased as Kathie always encourages children to do their best and Kathie has mentored many children with an interest in art.
Her volunteer work in the community is extensive including working as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, St George’s Anglican Church, Neighbourhood Centre, Friends of Trentham Falls, Girl Guides and Pony Club.
Lou Newman represented the Clunes surrounding communities by becoming involved in local government as a Councillor and Mayor and her leadership empowered other women to be involved in local government and other roles.
She was first elected to the Shire of Talbot and Clunes and later to the Hepburn Shire Council where she became the first female Councillor for two terms and first female Mayor. Lou recorded many achievements and set an example for the need of women in local government to provide a balance and bring their own skills and qualities to the table. She has and continues to be active in the community and this has included working with the Wesley College teaching students to cook, involving members of the community. This works by each student house having a member of the community to come in and teach the students to prepare their own meals and the helpers are then invited back the following week for a meal prepared by the students.
Lou’s dedication to the community and women has included Executive Member and Public Officer of ALGWA and, public officer of National Council of Women. She has also been and continues to be involved in many local groups including Clunes Agricultural Show, Clunes Pre School Group, Red Cross, Regional Library Service, Hepburn Shire Heritage Committee, Central Highlands Water and Clunes Community Centre.
Lou was successful in a community bid to gain more money for local roads and providing the town with infrastructure and employment through the initiation of two new industries, a bakery in 2001 and a steel fabrication works in 2002.
Alice Foley (posthumous)
During her lifetime Alice Foley was always willing to take on the leadership role as president, chairperson or general organiser of any event or committee she was involved in.
Her excellent memory and local knowledge was invaluable and she readily offered this information. Having lived in the Clunes area for over 60 years she had much to offer and was involved in numerous town and school reunions. Dating back to the 1950’s when many migrants were arriving to the area Alice was actively involved in finding the newcomers accommodation and employment and sponsored several families. She remained lifelong friends with many of the families even after they left the area.
Alice was a teacher and married a Clunes farmer, settling in Clunes in 1943. It wasn’t long before she became involved in the local area and many of its organisations.
As a member of the Catholic Women’s League and became a state delegate and treasurer and fought tirelessly for the abolition of Probate Tax for farmers following the death of a male partner. She had seen too many widows forced to sell the family farm in order to pay this tax.
In the 1960’s she became the first woman elected to the Clunes Primary School Committee and later the same at the Maryborough High School Council.
She always encouraged other women to do the same and become a spokesperson on women’s issues. Alice was much loved for her ability to treat everyone as equal, and never criticise. She always looked for the good attributes in others. Alice raised a family of six children on the farm despite not coming from a rural background herself, and Alice was an excellent mother.
Alice loved swimming and was the instructor for the Learn to swim program at the Clunes Pool and she taught three generations from some families the skill of swimming. Alice continued swimming herself until the age of 80. She also loved knitting and crochet and loved to enter her craft in the local show and sometimes in the Royal Melbourne Show, with much success.
Alice was a member of numerous local groups and organisations including education, welfare and sporting clubs. In 1993 Alice was awarded the Shire of Talbot and Clunes Citizen of the Year award for her community work.
Maude Glover-Fleay (posthumous)
Maude Glover-Fleay , known as the Girl from Sulky Gully, lived life leading by example and what a fine example she set. This wonderful woman had an unrivalled zest for life, excellent sense of humour and an abundance of perseverance and she will long be remembered as an exceptional artist.
Her love of art, which began at the tender age of three, could not be dampened despite the expectation that women were destined for a life of domestic duty.
She never wavered from her desire to become an artist and she went on to become a successful artist and an art teacher and taught for 10 years at the Daylesford School of Mines, after attending the Melbourne National Gallery Art School.
Maude was dedicated to her career and her motto was ‘if you want to achieve, just persevere until you do.’ She taught many women to strive to the same opportunities as available to men and not to let gender, or anything for that matter to be a deterrent or hindrance. Maude lived in an era where women were seen as having no place in the art world, yet she achieved high accolades throughout her career including many successful exhibitions and many awards.
She married and had three children and she continued her art career throughout. She created a large collection of drawings and paintings in water colour and oils and her work included portraits and still life but particularly Australian flora and fauna and landscapes.
The collection is uniquely Australian. She did not paint by commission making it clear she needed to have a passion for whatever it was she chose to paint and would say ‘I please myself as to where and how I paint. Her style was distinctly her own and she would say ‘it might not suit the art critics but it suits my friends!
Maude battled lack of funds to pay for her studies and material but it was not an obstacle that prevented her from achieving her goals.
On her death Maude bequested finance to the Victorian College of the Arts for bursary for art students and to the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery for a memorial trust fund the bulk of her paintings were left to her son David Fleay of Healsville Sanctuary Fame, to be kept together for all time.
Rev Jeanne Dara DeMurashkin (posthumous)
In her three decades of work as a spiritual leader and teacher Reverand Jeanne Dara DeMurashkin, better known by her spiritual name, Ananda Tara Shan provided strong and inspirational leadership and was dedicated to spiritual education and service for peace and the helping of humanity and the Earth.
Her work in this field began in Denmark in 1975 and she emigrated in 1982 moving to Daylesford in 1991. She established three spiritual organisations and founded two churches all which have the goal of educating people to work together in peace and harmony for the good of others and the earth.
The spiritual tradition for which she stood for was Theosophy which acknowledges that there is truth in all faiths and all can be learned from. She invited people of all faiths to work together for peace, out of the goodness of the heart and for the good of all.
Ananda encouraged this through her teaching and writing and established a mediation system and healing system. She dedicated herself and her time to individuals, the community and the world. Her teachings and ideas were practical and she led by example whether it be raising her children or working in the community.
Ananda made sure that women had roles of responsibility within her spiritual organisations as it concerned her that in many religious traditions, women did not have the opportunity to take key roles. She was also an advocate for women and men to have equal key roles in all areas of life including taking care of the family and children. She taught that every person has a special key role in life to fufill.
Ananda encouraged environmentally sustainable living and building the church in Daylesford, the Sanctuary of the Heart, out of rammed earth using solar panels for electricity.
The work of the Theosophical Fellowship which Ananda established is dedicated to bringing about peace and healing of humanity and the earth. Ananda established bases in the Hepburn Shire including Daylesford and Glenlyon and affiliated centres, based on her work, are located in Melbourne, Canberra, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway and Denmark. Many visitors come to the Hepburn Shire to study in the establishments she created.
Her legacy will continue as she left thousands of texts and audio recordings and the Theosophical Society is preparing Ananda’s extensive work for publication
Elizabeth Palmer Northcott
Not only is Elizabeth Northcott referred to affectionately as ‘The Grand Lady of Creswick’, this 94 year old unofficial historian of Creswick has been nominated as “Personality of the Month” in the District News.
Elizabeth Northcott is held in high esteem for the store of wisdom and knowledge of the town and its people and is living proof that age is no barrier to contributing to a town she loves.
Elizabeth was born in Creswick on 29th December 1911, the second daughter in a family of four. She attended Creswick State School, No 122, and Ballarat High, completing her education in 1930 during the Depression years. She went on to work in her father’s newsagency and in 1935, part of her role was to register births, deaths and marriages in the town. From this grew her consuming interest in historical research and genealogy, assisting people from all over Australia and internationally in tracing family data.
Elizabeth has had an ongoing commitment to many local organisations in Creswick over the past 35 years, which include:
- Ballarat Business & Professional Womens’ Club— 27 years member, (10 years as Sec.)
- Girl Guides – 5 years
- Creswick Historical Museum – 35 years
- Victoria Street Sunday School – 3 years
- Active Blind Institute – local committee
- Meals On Wheels
Elizabeth recalls scrubbing the huge Victoria Street Sunday School floor on hands and knees twice a year and also started on the first day of service of Meals On Wheels in Creswick.
Elizabeth contributed enormously to the historical research of the Creswick Museum & Gold Battery, and wrote a total of 75, “100 years ago’ columns for the Creswick District News.
Elizabeth Northcott has been a business woman in Albert Street, Creswick all of her working life. She is thought of within her community as a quiet achiever with an astute intellect, keen sense of humour, unflagging enthusiasm and great energy given to the progress of the Creswick community, with no thought of recognition for herself. She is fiercely independent, enjoys good health and enjoys making friends and helping others wherever possible.
Commenting on the future of Creswick, Elizabeth is appalled when she reads of the huge amounts spent on consultants for various works …… she remembers the civic fathers and committed citizens of the past who made Creswick township great, even on its stringent budgets.
Elizabeth Palmer Northcott is recognised as a living treasure in Creswick.
Alice Robertson, known affectionately as Mrs Robbie in the Trentham and Lyonville communities, is honoured for 60 years of unfailing community service, and education & training.
A widely known and loved person, Alice gave a commitment to education at a time when married women weren’t allowed to teach. She progressed from Teachers College to Lyonville Primary School in 1945 where she taught students to honour fair play and taught them a sense of justice.
The Robertson family moved to Trentham in 1964 with their 3 daughters and Alice re-entered teaching as an emergency teacher at Trentham Primary School in 1965 as well as being involved in the Mothers’ Club, including a stint as Treasurer and fitting in a canteen roster at Daylesford for her older girls. Seven years of emergency teaching were followed by 8 years of full time teaching from 1971. Her high ideals became the norm and as the Trentham School librarian, is remembered by many students as an important influence in their lives.
Alice Robertson has always encouraged people to become community minded. She has been a quiet leader, others following her love of literature, education, the church and community.
Alice has been a member of the Uniting Care Church, as an elder in the Ladies Guild, a religious education instructor both within her church and at primary school. She has been involved in school care programs and one fellow church member describes Alice “as always early, always ready and willing and tremendously loyal”.
A member of the Country Womens’ Association (CWA), Alice won awards as a knitter; renowned for her fruit cake, jam making and preparation of small cakes and delights. Many of the community fundraising events have done very well when raffling Mrs Robbie’s cakes. Alice has also taught handiwork on behalf of the CWA.
A host of organisations have seen Alice’s commitment and involvement. These include: Trentham Hospital, the Hospital Auxiliary, Meals On Wheels, Lions Club catering and fundraising, Bingo calling and visiting Day Care residents. At Easter time, Mrs Robbie and a grandchild dressed up in bunny ears would deliver chocolate eggs to each room in the hostel.
One event held every year on behalf of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind is the ‘Spud Lunch’ where everything on the menu is made from potato; even the chocolate cake! This gives Alice another chance to bake up a storm, and has been a great influence for everyone involved, spanning all generations.
Within her community, Alice is thought of as a caring and sharing person with a strong determination to succeed along with a quietness and humility which have lead many of her community efforts. She has been sustained in a loving marriage and has reared three lovely daughters.
Pearl Millane (posthumous)
Born in Warrnambool in 1933, Pearl and her family arrived in Creswick in 1975. Many of Pearl’s activities were an inspiration to women but her election to Creswick Shire Council is particularly noteworthy.
Pearl Millane was only the third woman to be elected to a Victorian council in 1986. She was returned as a councillor in 1988 and continued to represent her electorate until 1990. In 1989/90 she became the Shire’s first woman President.
During her time as a Councillor, Pearl was given an award by the Shire of Creswick “for her outstanding services, commitment and betterment to the Shire of Creswick”.
Pearl was also committed to continuing education and its liberating role in women’s lives and in 1975 joined the Creswick Continuing Education Group, a forerunner of the Creswick Community Centre which Pearl was committed to throughout the whole of her life in Creswick.
The Centre hosted the nine day photographic exhibition on “Raw Earth Architecture”. There were a lot of mud brick buildings being erected within the Shire when an invitation to host this travelling exhibition was extended to Cr Millane. Many organisations including the French Government, the Earth Building Forum of Sydney and the Victorian Ministry of Housing included tours of mud brick houses in the region as examples of this form of earth architecture.
After her retirement from local government in 1993 and Council life, Pearl continued to encourage women to stand for Council, to gain knowledge and experience in this important community role.
Pearl Millane was instrumental in commemorating the 1882 Centenary of the Australasia Mine Disaster. She was Secretary of the New Australasian Centenary Commemoration Committee. Sir John Holland from the History Advisory Council of Victoria wrote “A great deal of the success of the commemoration at Creswick was undoubtedly due to Pearl’s competence, persistence and cheerful leadership”.
Much of the conservation of many of the Creswick Museum & Gold Battery’s valuable paintings were administered by Pearl Millane where she was seen as an eminently practical person, rationalising storage and work areas, improving displays, cataloguing of museum items and initiating a weekly working bee which still runs today.
Fulfilling three terms as a Councillor in local government, serving the Shire of Creswick was all done while managing a bringing up a family.
Pearl Amelia Millane died in 1994.
Grace Bremner (posthumous)
Grace Eugene Muriel Bremner, born in 1919, was a woman who was thought of as a fine example of thinking globally but acting locally. It is said about Grace that she was a warm, passionate person, a woman of substance and inspiration who hated injustice. She gave her love, compassion, trust and understanding to all who needed it.
One of Grace’s prime motivations was her support of family values and her door was always open, particularly to women in difficult family situations, taking on the role of a social worker in the community. She promoted independence for women and treated children with the same respect as adults.
Grace Bremner was ahead of her time in the organisations she supported, including sponsoring a child in India 35 years ago.
Grace was a self educated woman, completing her matriculation in adulthood. She wrote, painted and was a knowledgeable gardener, completing a course in eucalyptus identification. She was also an independent thinker, accepting of others beliefs; she thought spiritual development was important and she embraced Buddhist meditation and thinking.
Grace befriended people who were marginalised, isolated and underprivileged. She was an animal rights activist and was known to confront people who were mistreating their animals. She raised awareness and others’ consciousness of animal welfare issues and became a vegetarian after witnessing animals treated poorly whilst in transport.
Always the matriarch of the family, Grace fostered strong family cohesion, which she encouraged all of her children to achieve. She was courageous and never afraid of making unpopular decisions or actions. In the outline of her contributions, one theme seems to run through – her tremendous encouragement of all around her to succeed and take charge of their lives. Grace’s life can be viewed as dropping a pebble in still water and the ripples created, moving outwards. There is an ever widening circle of effect and the outcome of the ripples is not always known. She sowed many seeds with individuals and indicated opportunities with kind words and actions and her experience of life. She had a great sense of humour and was a great yarn spinner. Her calmness and clarity guided people to work on building and maintaining relationships. She leaves a great legacy.
Grace Eugene Muriel Bremner died in 2005. During her life she was involved with many organisations, holding office in many of the below listed groups and giving of her time generously:
- Business and Professional Women’s Club
- Red Cross
- Greenpeace Creswick
- Field Naturalists
- Daylesford Drama Group
- NIMALS Australia
- Christ Church Guild
- Daylesford Book Club
- Human Society
- Diggers Club
- Blind Christian Mission
- Neighbourhood Watch
- Meals On Wheels
- Beauty Without Cruelty
- Coalition Against Duck Shooting
- Lyonville Hall Committee
- Lepers Groups in India
- Local Heritage Groups CWA
- Victorian Women’s Trust Health Services Support Group
Sarah Whiteley (posthumous)
Born 1903 – Died 1988 Sarah Eulalie Whiteley was known as Lalie by those who knew her. Lalie Whiteley was born at a time when, as Renee Geyer sings, “it’s a man’s world” and politics was thought to be the domain of men. Lalie grew up in this era and would have been one of the first women to push the boundaries in a world dominated by men.
From the pages of Daylesford’s The Advocate on Friday 2nd December 1960 – Another Page in Council History where it is quoted “Woman’s Softening Influence Will Be There”. “After one hundred and one years of activity, the Borough Council has admitted one of the gentler sexes to its ranks”
The Advocate questioned: “will a woman’s restraining influence lead the Council along a path of quiet activity, or will Councillors expect Cr Mrs Whitely to be “one of the boys” and join them in their (at times) acrimonious debates”. Cr Whiteley was notable for “her wide knowledge of local needs, gained through association with several organisations working for the betterment of the community. Mrs Whitely should be an acquisition to the Council and with her woman’s viewpoint, may give a lead in legislation of a useful nature”.
Among many of Lalie’s achievements she was a Justice of the Peace and also acted as a magistrate. She was also on the Daylesford Hospital Board from 1956 and the President of the Board in 1971/72. In 1970 she was elected as a President of the Daylesford & District Trotting Association, the only trotting association in Australia with a female President, a position she held until 1978/79.
Lalie Whiteley contributed to Daylesford’s burgeoning tourism industry, working at Whiteley’s garage during 1938 where she also took telephone bookings for Daylesford Guest Houses, a precursor to the Daylesford region’s modern day accommodation booking services.
During the early 1940’s Lalie became the first aid lady for the town’s woollen mills and in 1952 worked at Albert Motors, her brother Harry Dwan’s business (now known as Savage Tyre Services).
In 1956 when the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women opened a branch in Daylesford, Lalie became their first President.
Sarah Eulalie Whiteley died in 1988.
Margaret Cross (posthumous)
Margaret May Cross is honoured for her roles as journalist, writer, needlewoman and historian. Margaret (affectionately known as Maggie) was born in Geelong in 1857 and moved to Daylesford with her parents and baby brother when she was only two years of age.
In an age when it was considered that a ‘woman’s place was in the home’ Margaret Cross was surprisingly liberated. With her brother Andrew Cross, she was co-owner of the Daylesford Herald, until it combined with The Advocate. It is said of Maggie that she possessed a ‘wonderful journalistic sense’ and was a prolific writer, having written a number of books.
A mark of her generosity of spirit was the fact that the proceeds from the sale of one of her books, written after WW1, was donated to assist returning soldiers. She also won many prizes in London for the various essays she had written.
With her death in 1948, Margaret May Cross’s obituary in Daylesford’s The Advocate records that ‘another link with the early days of the Daylesford district has been severed’.
Margaret was also a keen student of history and familiarised herself with a wealth of interesting facts concerning the early days of the district, ‘her knowledge of local events from late in the 19th century up to recent years was extensive’.
The Advocate also reports that ‘tapestry’ was another art in which Miss Cross delighted. She took up needlework at the age of 12 and won many prizes in Melbourne and London with wonderful works produced from her nimble fingers. Apparently Maggie worked her tapestries for up to half an hour before and after school every day. The result were tapestries of such excellent quality, many of which Maggie gave to family and friends. It is said that some of these tapestries had a biblical theme. In a quiet moment of rebellion however, she was heard to wish that “her fingers would drop off”.
The Daylesford Museum currently have more than one example of Margaret’s work, along with her typewriter which is also exhibited.
Margaret also taught music and shorthand and hundreds of Daylesford and district residents can testify to her efficient and skilful training in these disciplines.
Church and charitable works occupied much of Maggie’s time and in her quiet, retiring manner, as did a vast amount of good for organisations and individuals within the district.
Maggie must have been very bright because once again, quoting from her obituary, it is noted that “Her wealth of knowledge was always ready to be used for any cause she felt worthy and many articles and letters appeared in the pages of the paper under the signature of M.M. Cross. Her opinions were always given due consideration; a tribute to the height of regard in which she was held by all sections of the community”.
Thelma Annear (posthumous)
It would be easy to picture a mother lion fighting fiercely to defend one of her cubs when speaking about Thelma Joan Annear.
When Thelma’s son Ivan contracted meningitis at the age of two and was left profoundly deaf, she fought for his needs in an age when disability had a different meaning than it has today. She founded and was the first President of the Mothers’ Club at Ewing House School for the Deaf, which Ivan attended.
Thelma overcame the difficulties which came with the education of a profoundly deaf child, even standing up to bureaurocrats who tried to stop him from travelling on the school bus from Clunes to Ballarat, a stance which paved the way for other children in the same circumstances.
A long time resident of Clunes, Thelma contributed to her community in a number of other ways as well. She was an inaugural member of the Clunes Tourist and Development Association and was Treasurer until June 1996.
Thelma was a key player in the success of various projects undertaken by the Association, such as the establishment of the Clunes Caravan Park and Gold Festivals and was made Festival Monarch as a token of appreciation for her services to Clunes.
She was also President of the Clunes Country Women’s Association, the Clunes Ladies Bowling Club and Clunes Golf Club Ladies Committee.
Other organisations she gave tirelessly to were:
- Clunes Primary School Mother’s Club
- Clunes Fire Brigade Women’s Auxiliary
- RSL Women’s Auxiliary
Thelma was renowned as a superb cook and a regular competitor at the Clunes and District Agriculture Show, where she won many prizes. Her flare for cooking also saw her as a key player in catering for many fundraising functions for the organisations she was involved with.
Thelma Annear was also instrumental in establishing the first Meals On Wheels in the Central Highlands region. She also worked with the youth of Clunes as a leader in the Youth Group and in the Girl Guides and Brownies, also inspiring others to contribute their time and skills with the youth of Clunes.
She successfully ran her own business in the main street of Clunes at the same time she was involved in all her community endeavours
Dr Gweneth Wisewould (posthumous)
It was often said this remarkable woman was born well ahead of her time, studying to become a doctor when the professional world was dominated by men.
Known as an eccentric character, she wore trousers under an army greatcoat and drove to house calls through the remote bush in a battered ute. Her wit was well known and her annual Christmas poem was famous for featuring local identities and stories.
Born in Melbourne in 1884, adored daughter of prosperous parents, Gweneth graduated as a Doctor in 1915 and worked as a surgeon in several of Melbourne’s top hospitals.
She ’retired’ to Trentham in 1938 and was to become the town’s longest serving medical practitioner, both in general practice and at Trentham Bush Nursing Hospital 1939—1972 when she passed away.
Dr Wisewould’s legendary exploits include saving the life of Bill Stevens, injured while working at the Trewhalla Foundry when a metal bar pierced his chest. She was also known to apply medical skills to the occasional veterinary emergency.
Always involved in committees and organisations, she did much more: leaving patients to decide whether they could pay fees and setting up the Truganinni Foundation at Melbourne University in 1968 to provide scholarships for indigenous students.
Jean Elizabeth Peart M.B.E (Posthumous)
Born in Natte Yallock in 1920, Jean Elizabeth (nee Andrew) and family moved to Clunes when she was five. After finishing elementary school she attended a Melbourne business college for two years, returning to Clunes and a lifelong dedication to the community.
Jean Peart’s philosophy in life was to be charitable to all, saying “what I am and have is to share.”
Music was her great love. As an accomplished pianist she frequently played at local fundraising concerts and functions, forming a band with her sons. She was known as the Methodist church organist for 22 years. Jean always had time for her family and others, particularly the aged and the young. Often as office bearer, she was involved with over twenty community groups and committees. She was founding member of the Clunes Elderly Citizens club and initiator of the 1st Clunes Girl Guide Company and enjoyed many bush walks with the young guides.
Awarded an MBE in 1973 for outstanding involvement and service to the community Jean was recognized as ‘The Clunes Ambassador’ and ‘Unofficial Mayoress of Clunes’, even so she stood in the background and did not look for honour or glory.
Jean said “we should leave this world a little better than when we came.” That she did. Jean passed away in 1978.
May Evelyn Lay B.E.M
The British Empire Medal was awarded to May Evelyn Lay (nee White) in 1976 for over 60 years work with the RSL and Women’s Auxiliaries. This was just one award presented to a remarkable lady who graced this earth from 1895 to 1982.
Born in London she came to Australia as a war bride in 1919 and moved with her husband Ted and baby son to a soldier settlement block at Sutton Park, Newlyn.
Not only did she manage to raise seven children and establish a dairy farm while enduring the depression, she worked tirelessly for the community and was still a member of several committees at the time of her death.
During hard times and with a clear sense of purpose and humour, May would attend to those in need, never sparing a thought for herself.
Among her various office bearing roles May Lay was President of: the Red Cross; Federation of State Schools Mother’s Clubs; Dean Branch of the CWA; Methodist Ladies Guild; and State President of the RSL War Service Fund at ANZAC House during World War Two. She was instrumental in bringing unity to the many RSL Women’s Auxiliaries in Victoria. In recognition of over a half century of dedication the RSL honoured her with its highest distinction – the Certificate of Merit with Gold Badge.
Florence Montgomery Brooke
Born in Daylesford in 1900 and daughter to a State Parliamentarian, Florence Brooke (nee Cox) was vocal on regional issues during her 92 years.
Florence was an active and successful political lobbyist and as a member of the Daylesford Liberal Party contributed to the abolition of probate duties and lobbied on many conservation and heritage issues. She was among a group of women who put an end to logging in Wombat Hill Gardens and her intervention prevented demolition of the Wills Square Memorial Fountain in the 1950’s.
She was a successful farmer and breeder of Angus Cattle on her inherited farm “Wombat Park” and in 1970 established a wildlife sanctuary on part of the property. Florence was never shy to debate any issue that concerned her and was strongly supportive of many local groups. She was a founding member of several community organizations and committees including the Girl Guides and Red Cross and life supporter of the Daylesford Christ Church Guides Association, local Country Women’s Association, and Daylesford and District Historical Society (hosting many early meetings in her home).
She was also an active member of the Daylesford Branches of the National Trust of England.