Tuesday, 13 March 2012
International Women's Day
The first Australian International Women's Day rally took place in the Sydney Domain on 25 March 1928. It was organised by the Militant Women's Movement and called for equal pay for equal work, an eight-hour day for shop girls, no piece work, the basic wage for the unemployed and annual holidays on full pay. The day has been variously seen as a time for asserting women's political and social rights, for reviewing the progress that women have made or as a day for celebration.
Last Friday I had the pleasure of speaking at the City of Devonport 2012 International Women's Day breakfast. A hundred women attended and 33 three women were acknowledged for inspiring others through their contribution to their community. These special women were nominated by Devonport residents in appreciation of their generosity and community spirit. These are the stories provided by their nominators.
Ann Hodgkinson is an amazing teacher and mentor. Her role in teaching community services programs and supporting students with special needs is simply awe-inspiring. Ari Van Eysden has dedicated the last 24 years to helping migrants integrate into the Devonport area by teaching them English with passion and compassion. Beth Cahill is always willing to lend a hand at a second's notice to enrich the lives of elderly residents for their final chapter of life. Bev Aherne has been a regular volunteer at the Meercroft aged care facility for many years. Bev has been a member of the CWA for many years, including executive roles and managing the Hawley Holiday Home. Cheryl Harrison is a caring mother of five, grandmother of 10 and registered nurse. Cheryl carefully drives the Red Cross car and cares for the City of Devonport Brass Band.
Claire Williams is passionately community minded, with her empathy and compassion touching many. Claire is inspirational and a role model to all women. Claire offers enthusiasm and practical help to mums who feel isolated in their community after having children. Heather Cooper is a driving force for positive change within our community as a member of the CWA. Heather makes a difference in people's lives, providing opportunity for extended services and encouraging women to share their life experiences with others within our community.
Judith Maher has served the Don River Railway as a guard, driver and membership secretary for over 10 years. She has the railway in her heart. Karin Febey has displayed innovation, ideas and energy that have resulted in new-found confidence and training and employment opportunities for disabled, marginalised and Indigenous clients. Kathryn Whitely is the leading member of the Droogs, the young members of the Devonport Regional Gallery. She plays an important role in organising art and cultural events for the youth of the north-west coast. She is a very talented photographer and filmmaker, having drive, commitment and passion for enriching the creative community. Kathy Hills has given up her personal time for over 10 years to volunteer at the Orana's day centre. The imaginative way she personalises her interaction with clients makes them feel valued, and her kind, caring personality is an asset. Kathy never expects any thanks or special treatment for her hard work, but the staff and residents at Orana are very grateful. Kay Denman is a former senator in this place and, despite her own health challenges, works tirelessly to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and members of the wider community. Karyn Brown copes with cataplexy but has continued to support GT services for more than 30 years as a volunteer works supervisor, fundraiser, treasurer and client support. Lena Blenkhorn has been an exceptional contributor to the Don River Railway, volunteering many hours of her time over many years. Lorrine Heron is a tireless worker who works well above her position description. She assisted in developing the community house from the beginning. The Eastern Shore Community House is now a focal point for the East Devonport community and offers new and innovative activities.
Lyn Johnson gives herself to her children and grandchildren and to her community through Soroptimists and Relay for Life, as well as volunteering with Limbs 4 Life. Lyn is a cancer survivor and is an amputee as a result. Getting back on her feet was a challenge but it was achieved with motivation, a positive outlook and courage. Lynn Steven works full-time, but she also finds time to be a Gran's Van volunteer and, with husband Craig, provides overnight respite relief for children. It is simply an amazing, caring and wonderful attribute to the Devonport community.
Margaret Fay, as a member of Soroptimist International, has supported countless fundraising and advocacy roles. Her continued involvement and support within the community is both dignified and unassuming. She is a real diamond. Marlene Crabtree does the most incredible job of running the soccer canteen, raising funds to enable our junior teams to enter tournaments with minimal cost to parents. For over 20 years Marlene has played a major role in Devonport junior soccer, supporting thousands of children and families. Mary Hansen is an outstanding employee, contributing many hours of unpaid work to support college events. She has strong family values and is valued by all.
Maureen Clarke is on countless community based committees, including Neighbourhood Watch and the Devonport Eastern Shore Project committee. She is chaplain co-ordinator at the Mersey Community Hospital and, through Soroptimist International Devonport, delivers emergency packs to mothers who arrive to birth unexpectedly. Mel Pursell is an inspiration. She is a young mother of two who encourages and supports students and workers in community services of the Devonport region.
Melanie Daw has lived and worked in Devonport her entire life and is an active member of the community. She is a member of Pizzazz Singers and volunteers for Whitelion, which supports vulnerable youth in Tasmania. Melanie has a positive outlook on life, inspiring and uplifting all. Merilyn Cent says yes whenever something needs to be done, without praise and through whatever hurdles appear in her own life. Sally Hay is a great supporter of the Biggest Morning Tea and an active member of Soroptimist International. Sally has used her business to promote the needs of those less fortunate, supplying wool to clients knitting squares for blankets to go to Ethiopia. Sally has closed her business to hold the Biggest Morning Tea and is involved in Taste the Harvest.
Sandy Lane has suffered with morbid obesity, depression and drug addiction but she has managed to turn her life around. Sandy has three young children, works full-time and has been a Cub Scout leader. She always puts everyone else first. Sharon Applebee gives 100 per cent to any venture she undertakes. Sharon is a busy mum of three teenagers and is a foster carer, where she has helped with the reunification of three girls with their family and maintains a special relationship with them. Sharon is uniform coordinator for Crescendo choir and has been involved in the Kids Hope mentoring program at East Devonport Primary School. Sharon has been an integral part of the Child and Family Centre at East Devonport and provides much-needed support.
Sharon Van De Elzen has volunteered for well over five years in many roles around preschoolers and the early school years. This includes over five years at the Playhouse, over four years volunteering with the East Devonport Launch into Learning group, volunteering at East Devonport Primary School and the Child and Family Centre at East Devonport. Suzanne Stegman is a senior rower with Mersey Rowing Club and lends her time educating and mentoring junior rowing members, while maintaining her full-time employment as a senior office executive. Further, Suzanne manages the Regatta kiosk and performs duties as an official.
Suzanne Davies has been the volunteer secretary for the Rotary Learn Grow program since its inception and has been instrumental in the international success and growth of this program. Tanya Kingshott has been assisting people with disabilities achieve their employment related goals over 22 years. This has resulted in greater opportunities and experiences for clients. Wendy Eagle has been secretary to the board of management of Glee Club and a volunteer supporting our disabled clients at recreational activities for more than 20 years. Win Saunders has volunteered hours of her time at Karingal for over 25 years. During this time Win has been an active member of the auxiliary, served in the kiosk, helped with morning teas, organised events such as fairs, Christmas functions, and pie and lamington drives and generally raising money for Karingal.
On the day, the MC, Alderman Annette Rockliff, outlined to the breakfast that, throughout centuries, diamonds have been a symbol of love, brilliance and beauty. Diamonds, just like the 33 women who were recognised, are enchanting treasures bringing joy into many lives.