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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2777 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Canberra has benefited from Miss Curley's charitable nature and the donation by her of her 17-hectare family farm at Mugga Mugga, including one of Canberra's oldest houses, which is now a new environmental education centre. This contribution is not simply a donation to the Territory but to all Australians, and, in particular, to students with a keen interest in Australian heritage.

Over recent years Miss Curley has devoted herself to the creation and promotion of the educational centre in order to preserve a fragment of the past for our young people. She has committed herself to ensuring that a small piece of history remains so that our youth may experience the wealth of this pioneering memorial.

Miss Curley's interest in and commitment to youth has been a perpetual thread throughout her various life pursuits. Following her nursing career, Miss Curley established a business as an employment consultant where she assisted many young unemployed people to find work, emphasising the importance of job satisfaction.

Miss Curley has left an outstanding legacy to the youth of Australia in her Mugga Mugga donation. It is with great pleasure that I join the Chief Minister and thank Miss Curley on behalf of future generations and wish her a very happy 100th birthday.

MR HIRD (12.19): Mr Speaker, I first met Miss Sylvia Curley in the early 1960s when I was courting a young lady who was in the casualty department of Royal Canberra Hospital. That young lady turned out to be my wife. Sylvia Curley turned 100 on 8 November this year. She is a Canberra icon in the true sense of the word. Her family's name has been closely linked to Canberra's history from the time her grandparents arrived at Duntroon in 1857.

Miss Curley's legacy to Canberra is the old family home at Mugga Mugga which she handed over to the ACT Government to be preserved as a museum that would be a tangible reminder of Canberra's rural past. Mugga Mugga cottage was built in 1838 to house farm workers on Duntroon estate. Sylvia Curley's father worked on the cottage from 1865 and it was the family home from 1913 to 1985.

Sylvia Curley's father, Patrick Curley, was born at Cotta Walla, near Crookwell, New South Wales, in 1853 and arrived at Duntroon with his Irish-born father as a four-year-old in 1857. Her mother was born Annie Elizabeth Tong at Cuppacumbalong in 1869. They lived in a cottage at Duntroon and then in a cottage on the banks of the Molonglo River.

Sylvia attended school at Duntroon and trained as a nurse at Goulburn Base Hospital. She later nursed at Leeton and Narrandera in the Riverina before being appointed matron at Gundagai Hospital at the early age of 33. She became a senior sister at Canberra Community Hospital in 1938 and retired in 1966 as acting matron of Royal Canberra Hospital. She is a wonderful Canberran and a true Australian who has made a significant contribution, not only to our community but also the community throughout New South Wales and this region. I congratulate her on her 100th birthday. I would also like to say to the Chief Minister that it is very fitting that she has chosen to name a bridge after that great lady.

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