Five women inducted to IWD Honour Roll

March 14th, 2024Five women inducted to IWD Honour Roll

A large crowd gathered in Daylesford last Thursday evening to congratulate five new inductees to the International Women's Day (IWD) Heather Mutimer Honour Roll.
Five women have been inducted onto the Hepburn Shire Council’s International Women’s Day Heather Mutimer Honour Roll. From left, Cr Jen Bray, Michelle Clifford, Helen Hogg (representing her wife, Yvonne Sillett), Anne Bremner, Nikki Marshall, Marj Green (front), Heather Mutimer and Mayor Cr Brian Hood.

A large crowd gathered in Daylesford last Thursday evening to congratulate five new inductees to the International Women’s Day (IWD) Heather Mutimer Honour Roll.

Hepburn Shire Council inducted Anne Bremner, Nikki Marshall, Marj Green, Michelle Clifford and Yvonne Sillett to the honour roll, which was established in 2005 to pay tribute to the women in Hepburn Shire whose contributions, courage and efforts have led to significant social change for women.

Mayor, Cr Brian Hood, said the inductees had made an enormous contribution over many decades.

“Our inductees have demonstrated exemplary service to our community and in many instances their deeds have impacted people well beyond our shire boundaries,” he said.

“They have made incredibly valuable contributions both to their communities and to causes that are close to their hearts. We sincerely thank them for their tireless efforts over many years and congratulate them for joining a long list of significant local women on our honour roll.”

For the town hall ceremony, Peta Hudson performed a Welcome to Country and students from Daylesford College entertained the crowd with music and speeches. Professor Paula Gerber, associate dean in the Faculty of Law at Monash University, was the guest speaker.

International Women’s Day is held annually on March 8. The theme for 2024 is Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate progress.

Anne Bremner

Anne epitomises the spirit of pioneering women, seamlessly managing household chores, caring for family and contributing to the family farm, Wombat Organics, until into her 60s. Her leadership shines through her quiet yet effective management style, effortlessly steering community events and fundraisers.

Gender equality is intrinsic to Anne; she tackles tasks head-on, excelling in every endeavour with dedication and humility. Her leadership extends to various roles, including club champion and board member at the Daylesford Bowls Club, where she ensures financial stability. Anne’s 50-year commitment to the Lyonville Hall as president and treasurer underscores her dedication to community spaces.

Her volunteer work spans over 50 years, encompassing roles in community committees and initiatives like the Healthy Lunches Program. Anne’s altruism extends to delivering Meals on Wheels and supporting school nutrition programs, showcasing her unwavering dedication to community welfare. Additionally, she provides invaluable support to friends and family during health challenges and serves as a compassionate presence during end-of-life care.

Nikki Marshall

Nikki is a beloved, wise and respected community leader and change agent. She has been described as a village builder for her unique ability to bring people together, nurture ideas and forge pathways for action. Nikki has spent a lifetime developing initiatives to facilitate change, to address inequities and to strengthen communities. Before moving to Hepburn Shire, Nikki spearheaded pioneering projects supporting refugee and migrant women in Victoria.

Notably, she established the English Language and Settlement Support Program for women from war-torn African countries, revolutionising teaching methods and influencing agencies like the Adult Migrant Education program.

She also played a pivotal role in developing educational programs to combat female circumcision/genital mutilation, empowering the affected women to develop and implement the program which was subsequently adopted by state government health services. She developed the Multicultural Home Support Program for ageing migrants and won an award for excellence from Department of Human Services.

In Hepburn Shire, Nikki confronts climate change head-on, organising impactful events like the Local Lives Global Matters conference, which attracted over 3000 attendees and spurred the formation of the action group, Localising Leanganook. Committed to sustainable farming, she initiated and supported milking cooperatives, empowering local women and young families.

Additionally, Nikki facilitated the preservation of the Yandoit Uniting Church for community use and pioneered Yandoit Cultural, a vibrant community-led performance program. A passionate advocate for storytelling and local history, Nikki organises events for the shire’s literary arts festival, Words in Winter and History in Story series.

Instrumental in establishing the Daylesford Repair Café, she champions waste reduction through repair and re-use and encourages community skill-sharing. As co-editor of The Chronicle for 12 years, Nikki builds community cohesion through her writing and editing skills, inspiring a dedicated team of contributors.

Known for her transformative leadership and compassionate nature, Nikki embodies wisdom, empathy and courage. She serves as a trusted mentor, offering support to individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Nikki’s enduring commitment to building relationships and addressing social and ecological challenges with integrity underscores her invaluable presence in the community, enriching the lives of those around her.

Marj Green

Marj Green has dedicated decades of her life to numerous local organisations, championing the advancement of women’s status as a shining example of service. Notably, her involvement with the Daylesford Girl Guides from 1964 to 1996 showcased her commitment to empowering girls through education and leadership development, aligning with the Girl Guides Victoria’s mission. Marj’s steadfast support for the Daylesford Ladies Benevolent Society, spanning 60 years, underscores her tireless efforts in promoting women’s welfare and housing security.

A lifelong member of Christ Church, Marj has actively contributed through music, service on the Parish Council and caring for the church’s environment. Her dedication extends beyond the church as she actively participates in preserving its historical documents. Marj’s wisdom is widely sought after, both in organisational matters and personal guidance. Despite her humble nature, she has served as captain of the Newstead Croquet Club, nurturing members and fostering a love of the game.

Additionally, her leadership within the Girl Guides movement and Brownies section has impacted countless young women, reflecting her enduring commitment to empowerment and mentorship. Through her unwavering dedication and selfless service, Marj Green has left an enduring legacy of empowerment and community enrichment.

Michelle Clifford

Michelle Clifford is that rare blend of person who is both the hub that organises action as well as a person who gets the job done. She has been recognised for her tireless efforts for her community and makes a difference in the lives of our community members every day.

Michelle demonstrated three of the five categories for inclusion to the Honour Roll. She is a local champion who has worked tirelessly for our community through her involvement with Daylesford Community Op Shop, Hepburn Regional Cheer, Hepburn Blue Light Committee, the Daylesford Community Childcare Committee, the Bullarto Primary School and Daylesford College councils and committees.

She is a change agent – or a force of nature. Michelle tackles challenges head- on, leveraging her extensive network to find solutions. From sourcing a new battery to lobbying for recognition and rights for First Nations’ peoples; she leads through disaster. Hepburn has been through floods, fires, storms and pandemics. Michelle has been there.

Beyond community-wide initiatives, Michelle provides invaluable support to individuals facing personal hardships, leaving a profound impact on all fortunate enough to encounter her kindness and selflessness.

Yvonne Sillett

Yvonne’s journey as a trailblazer began in 1979 when she enlisted in the Australian Army, breaking barriers in a male-dominated field. Despite achieving the milestone of becoming the first female corporal responsible for training recruits at Kapooka, her career was abruptly halted due to discrimination based on her sexuality.

Undeterred, Yvonne embarked on a mission for justice, advocating for an apology from the Australian Government and Defence Force for the unjust treatment of LGBTIQA+ personnel.

Her story gained recognition at Victoria’s Shrine of Remembrance and in the book Serving in Silence, showcasing her resilience and advocacy. Yvonne’s voluntary testimony at the Government Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide further amplified her cause, aiming to empower LGBTIQA+ individuals serving in the defence forces.

She remains committed to inclusivity and equality, advocating for LGBTIQA+ rights within the Hepburn Shire community and supporting initiatives like the Rainbow Wreath ceremony for Anzac Day. Yvonne’s educational efforts extend to fostering awareness and understanding of LGBTIQA+ needs at Hepburn House and securing grants to support LGBTIQA+ elders in the community.

As a co-founder of the Discharged LGBTIQA+ Veterans Association, Yvonne continues to advocate for justice and recognition, inspiring others through her compelling story. Her unwavering commitment to authenticity and advocacy has sparked artistic tributes and invitations to speak at various events, solidifying her role as a champion for inclusivity and equality in both local and broader communities.

Words: Hepburn Shire Council

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