Hon. Kelly Vincent MLC ~ Dealing with Dignity

 

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Hon. Kelly Vincent MLC  ~ Photo by Jennie Groom ©2017

I first heard Kelly Vincent’s unique husky voice on ABC Radio Adelaide 8 years ago when she was interviewed about the degree of difficulty she had been encountering with the Government while trying to get a new wheelchair, having outgrown her child-sized wheelchair.  The radio community (including myself) found Kelly to be immediately likeable and rallied together to support her.  I wondered if Kelly’s new adult wheelchair was possibly fast tracked by the Government due to the high degree of media exposure and community support. This was the start of Kelly Vincent getting results from the Government and is now continuing her advocacy work as Member for the Legislative Council in the Parliament of South Australia.

Kelly’s background in playwriting and acting has given her the confidence and ability to articulate the problems facing people with disabilities, and their family carers. She supports radical change for the needs of people with disabilities and believes that the biggest thing that needs to shift is peoples attitudes towards disability. Kelly has ensured that universal design principles are considered in the state planning law.

Trailblazing into parliament as a fresh faced 21 year old, Kelly has grown into her role as a parliamentarian over the last 7 years with great respect from the community, her colleagues and also the media!  She’s the youngest woman elected to an Australian parliament, the first elected on a disability rights platform, she is Leader of the Dignity Party and I hope she gets elected again next year!

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Dr Jennifer Gardner OAM ~ Arboretum Appeal

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Dr Jennifer Gardner OAM      ~   Photo by Jennie Groom © 2017

While on a 7 year journey around the world with her husband in her 20’s, Jennifer Gardner had a thought while visiting a New York arboretum “it would be wonderful to work in a place like this” never imagining that she would one day have such a dream job.  On arrival back in Adelaide she finished her Science degree and went on to complete a PhD in Systematic Entomology.

The timing would happen that a new position as the Curator of The Waite Arboretum at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus, was created just as she finished her PhD!  That job opening has resulted in Jennifer’s life work and passion.  Contributing significantly to the development of the collection and involving the broader community by creating a vibrant volunteer program, and co-founding the Friends of the Waite Arboretum, Friends of the Waite Conservation Reserve and the organisation TREENET.   Jennifer has recently retired from The Waite Arboretum but she couldn’t stay away and now holds an Honorary position to work on special projects and other volunteer activities.

I asked Jennifer if she had ever worn a pedometer to count her steps throughout the day, she hasn’t but confesses that the 30 hectare site she’s walked around daily for the past 31 years would total a lot of steps!

Earlier this year, Jennifer was awarded an OAM, Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to the environment and conservation.

If you’ve never visited The Waite Arboretum, I suggest you do one day as there are not only 2,400 trees to ponder (which you can find out extra information through the mobile application – check website link below) but a Rose Garden, a Garden of Discovery, a Sensory Garden, sculptures and special features including a native beehive, plus the very cool labyrinth, personally designed and constructed by Jennifer herself.

 

http://www.adelaide.edu.au/waite-historic/arboretum/

Mel Bailey ~ Upholding Urban Design 

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Mel Bailey  ~  Photo by Jennie Groom © 2017

Melissa Bailey believes the way to a vibrant, interactive neighbourhood and society is through good urban design and planning.  Pictured here at the old Clipsal factory redevelopment in Bowden, Mel shows me how this area is a good example of urban design. The developers are actively planning the neighbourhood for activity, accessibility and a sense of community – for example the roads and footpaths don’t have gutters and there are trees in the middle of the roads to provide greenery and slow cars down. Together with 6 star green rating apartments there are parks, a town square and a community garden; all connected to the parklands and city with great pedestrian and bike paths.  (Mel nor I work for Bowden, if that was starting to sound like a sales pitch!)

Mel’s interest in community, geography, politics and advocacy has seen her career culminate in her current profession as an urban planner.  Despite her original interest in marine biology, Mel studied a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Urban Geography at the University of Adelaide.  While there, her activist Auntie’s influence saw her undertake some political studies and she joined the University’s Labor Club where she met her future husband, current South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill.

After university, Mel did a character building traineeship with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), worked for the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) and then ran Pat Conlon MP’s electoral office. Mel enjoys helping people which is why she found running the electoral office so rewarding.  As she was already working for a Minister at the time her husband became a Minister, she decided to move away from politics when her oldest daughter was born.  After an inspiring evening at the Planning Institute of Australia awards, she decided to go back to university and study a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning.

In 2009, with her background in health, policy and now planning, Mel was well placed for her first job as an urban planner as the Health Planning Officer at the Department of Planning and Local Government.

Currently, Mel is a principal planner with global consulting firm AECOM.

International Women’s Day

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Ella Simpson by Jennie Groom © 2017

Today is International Women’s Day, a day that has been gaining more and more traction since 1975 when during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on March the 8th.

The history of women’s groups, marches, protests, honouring and celebrating goes back to the 1800’s and one group that was significant back then and still to this day is the YWCA.  South Australia’s YWCA was founded in 1880.

This week the YWCA are launching a mural in Adelaide’s James Place painted by local artist Ella Simpson.

The vibrant laneway mural is designed to spark a conversation about women’s safety, gender equality and bystander intervention. The aim is to keep people thinking and talking about their role in contributing to safe public spaces for women.

YWCA Adelaide developed the Rise Above the Pack campaign in 2014 in response to Adelaide women avoiding the CBD because of safety issues.

Rise Above the Pack aims to engage men and women in a meaningful conversation about street harassment, gender equality and the role that we all play in calling out behaviours and attitudes that put women at risk of violence.

If you would like to help fund this campaign and mural, there are a few days left, so visit…..https://chuffed.org/project/rise-above-the-pack

Ella Simpson

YWCA Adelaide

Rise Above the Pack

 

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Mural by Ella Simpson for the YWCA ‘Rise Above the Pack’ campaign.

 

Lauren Krelshem ~ Aspiring Actor

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Lauren Krelshem by Jennie Groom © 2017

This is Lauren Krelshem

A Wednesday’s Woman I welcome.

 

Her career

Became clear

While watching a State Theatre production

An idea began it’s induction

The Glass Menagerie was on stage

The moment acting became her wage.

 

Just as Lauren was finishing her acting course

Her battle with cancer hit again with tremendous force

The Leukemia, at seven had begun,

Then at 13 and again at twenty one.

 

Her prognosis looked grim

So friends and family pitched in

20,000 lucky paper cranes were made

For this girl, from Adelaide.

 

The doctors needed more than Chemotherapy

The cutting edge CAR T-Cell therapy,

Never tried on anyone in Australia

Lauren was the treatments trail blazer.

 

A year later she is in the clear

Holding her life dear

Now nothing will detract her

From being an actor.

 

In June, Lauren will travel across the land

As Melbourne will have more opportunities at hand

I have the feeling

Melbourne will find her appealing!

The Hon. Diana Laidlaw AM ~ Mastering Mosaics

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The Hon. Diana Laidlaw AM ~ Photo by Jennie Groom © 2015

Diana Laidlaw says she grew up in a family with strong, progressive and political views, an influence for Diana choosing to work in politics.

She started by assisting Federal and State ministers for 7 years before she was elected as a Liberal Party member of the Legislative Council to the Parliament of South Australia in 1982.

When her party won Government in 1993, Diana entered Cabinet and  proceeded to be the first woman to hold 3 consecutive portfolios over 3 consecutive terms (and 3 Premiers) as Minister for Transport and Urban Planning, Arts and Status of Women.

Diana was Minister for the Status of Women in 1994 during the year of centenary celebrations for Women’s Suffrage in South Australia and helped launch a time capsule stored in a vault in Parliament House for women to open in another hundred years.  It will be interesting to see what has changed then!

Representing the Arts as Minister must have ignited Diana’s passion for starting her own artwork with mosaics during this time.  Since her 21 year political career finished Diana’s mosaics are really taking off and are highly sort after.  Pictured here with her popular mosaic poles which she has exhibited widely throughout South Australia.  Loving her artistic life now, Diana works on her mosaics as much as possible from a farm studio in the Barossa Valley.

On a personal level it was fabulous to have Diana Laidlaw launch my first exhibition ‘women@work’ in 2000 as she represented women and the arts!

Rachel Allen ~ Lyme Low-point

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Rachel Allen by Jennie Groom © 2017

This is Rachel Allen with her best friend, he makes her happy.

Rachel was unfortunate 5 years ago to be bitten by a tick carrying Lyme Disease and her quality of life has been in decline ever since.  There is no cure for Lyme Disease.

Rachel has been the Marketing Manager at Binna Burra Mountain Lodge in Queensland for over 8 years and I have worked with her on numerous photoshoots in that time.  I have got to know a positive, outgoing woman but on my last trip there recently, she broke down in tears and said the Lyme Disease has ruined her life.

She also told me about an intensive four week treatment in Cypress which has been getting some positive results.  Knowing that it still wouldn’t cure her but at least give her some quality of life back, Rachel was seriously considering going.  The problem is the cost and the amount of money she has already had to spend on treatments, Doctors and Hospital visits.

I’m thinking my network here in South Australia wouldn’t know Rachel but it would be fabulous if I can help her by you helping her and donating what you can at ‘go fund me’ through the link below.

Thanks

Jennie

 

https://www.gofundme.com/rachels-treatment-for-lyme-disease

The Hon. Anne Levy AO – Presidential Power

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The Hon. Anne Levy AO       Photo by Jennie Groom ©

When I met and photographed Anne Levy a couple of years ago, just after her 80th birthday, I knew I was in the presence of a significant woman of parliament but doing some more research recently on Anne has really opened my eyes to how amazing and supremely significant she is and someone should write a book about her so school children can learn about her contribution to history, (just saying!).

Anne Levy is a trailblazer, and I don’t use that term lightly.  It’s rare to see these days politicians staying in the job for much longer than a term or two let alone 22 years and then choosing to retire, but this is what Anne Levy did which demonstrates her popularity in Government.

Anne was the first Labor woman in South Australia to be elected to the South Australian Legislative Council in 1975 where she continued serving the state until retiring in 1997.  During her tenure, Anne served as the first Labor President of the South Australian Legislative Council from 1986 to 1989.  Labor had not previously ever held the Legislative Council presidency. She was also the first woman to preside over any house of Parliament in Australia.  You may want to re-read those last two lines, I had to!

One of the first groups Anne joined as a founding member and later patron, was the Humanist Society of South Australia in 1960.  She was awarded the Humanist of the Year in 1986 for her work towards abortion law reform, voluntary euthanasia, family planning, decriminalisation of homosexuality, and other reforms.  Since then, Anne has been a member, life long member, board member, chair, patron and founder of many, many different groups and societies, not to forget, holding 6 different portfolios as a Minister whilst in Government.

Prior to politics, Anne was already a trailblazing woman for studying science and was awarded a Bachelor of Science with Honours in 1957.  In-between Honours and her Master of Science in 1963, she had 2 children and worked as a Tutor and Senior Tutor in Genetics from 1960-1975 at the University of Adelaide.

Currently, Anne is happy still serving on Boards including the State Theatre of South Australia and The Botanic Gardens and supporting artists by adding to her personal collection.

Lisa Groom ~ Rainforest Rambler

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Lisa Groom ~ Photo by Jennie Groom © 2017

Yes, I am related to her, I’m proud to say!

Lisa Groom, like most of the descendants from Arthur Groom, (who co-founded Binna Burra Lodge, QLD) is creative, visionary and adventurous!  To add to that, she also possess the qualities of a caring nature, the strength to survive a cancerous tumour in one of her fallopian tubes and the skills to run a successful business.

Lisa grew up living and breathing her parents business ‘interNATIONAL PARK tours’.  As the name suggests, they run tours for small groups of people who like to ramble in nature, explore local food and culture in a sustainable way through National Parks and wild places around the world.  Lisa’s first hurdle when she took over the business late in 2001, was the September 11 terrorist attack in New York, she had a group just about to travel there and it was a lesson in how to be flexible in the world of business and travel!  Lisa is grateful for her 6 office staff and 17 tour guides, who helped to take over the running of the business and 29 tours while she was recovering from Cancer.

To keep her extra busy and connected to family history, Lisa has also been a Director on the Binna Burra Lodge Board for the past 8 years.

Lisa has always been an inspiration to me, especially when I visited in the school holidays as a child, she was fearless and grounded from growing up in the rainforest and I was too worried about snakes!

I find her life and world of tourism fascinating and visiting her this week was no expectation.

Lisa’s favourite quote is ….. Sometimes the path isn’t clear but it often leads to the best views!

 

 

http://www.parktours.com.au

 

 

A sporting start to the year.

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Amanda Spratt with Ellie Mathwin – Photo by Jennie Groom © 2017

Welcome back to Wednesday’s Woman and Happy New Year to everyone!

Last night, Ellie Mathwin and I were showered in champagne as we stood in front of the presentation stage cheering for the winners of the Santos Women’s Tour, a new experience for the both of us! Ellie was firmly placed in front of the Number 1 podium in the front row to the envy of the media surrounding her!

I started chatting with this young 8 year old and found out she has just started competitive cycling herself and was even in the team that won the club trophy for the year! She was looking up at the women standing before her as her role models.

Women’s professional sport is finally starting to gain traction in the mainstream media and consequently the audience support around the world is growing, something I’m sure previous Wednesday’s Woman, Rosemary Crowley would be proud of.

The momentum gathering is exciting and we are great sportswomen, look at the soccer, cricket, new AFL football teams this year and of course cycling.  Last year, UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) the world body of cycling upgraded the Santo Women’s Tour in the Santos Tour Down Under to the highest level available for road racing internationally.  The women riding over the last few days here in Adelaide are the best of the best from around the world and Amanda Spratt showed Ellie Mathwin that an Australian Woman can do it!

Congratulations to Amanda Spratt, the 29 year old from the Blue Mountains in NSW who won the overall Santos Women’s Tour which consisted of 4 stages.

Also, congratulations to Adelaide’s Annette Edmondson who finished 2nd in yesterday’s 4th stage, another previous Wednesday’s Woman!

Be the best you can be this year!