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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 943 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Miss Curley was a woman who knew many prominent people during her lifetime. They will all remember her for her strength, her stamina and her remarkable capability. I do not think there are many in the Canberra community who would not remember her with great admiration and affection. We have lost a magnificent Canberran and a magnificent Australian. She was related by marriage to some members of my family. I send to her relatives my personal condolences on the sad death of this very fine lady and this wonderful Canberran.

MS TUCKER: I also rise to convey condolences to Miss Curley's family. As members have already explained, Sylvia Curley and her family were Canberra pioneers. Miss Curley's death marks a milestone in Canberra's history. Her life was a celebration of the Canberra community and the heritage of this region. Most of Miss Curley's life was spent helping others, particularly as a nurse serving the Canberra region for 29 years. In retirement she sought further challenges and set up an employment agency to support job seekers and promote individuals to prospective employers.

Miss Curley described her vision and her dream as the establishment of the education centre for environmental studies and the Mugga Mugga homestead museum. I would particularly like to acknowledge her commitment to, and understanding of, the importance of the environment in policy discussion. I think she has left to the Canberra community a facility which will be valued more highly, not less, as we move into the next century.

MR KAINE: It is with great sadness that we all mark the passing of somebody who was so much a part of us and of Canberra's living history as was Miss Sylvia Curley. But at the same time I think that we can all appreciate what she has given to this community. First of all, her commitment and the work she did in so many fields have benefited so many people in Canberra today. A very large number of people in Canberra will remember Miss Sylvia Curley at the personal level, because they were the recipients of much of the work that she did for this community. Setting aside the sadness associated with her passing, I think that in a way we can celebrate the work she did and the good she did for this community.

The living memorial to Miss Sylvia Curley is Mugga Mugga, which she bequeathed to this community and which for decades, and hopefully for centuries to come, will stand as a memorial to her. She is a great loss, but we are thankful for the fact that she was part of this community. I join with the Chief Minister and other members in this motion of condolence at her passing.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I will begin by pointing to the difficulty Australia has in setting a preamble to our Constitution. That preamble is designed to express the identity of Australia, a pretty difficult task. If we focus on the ACT and try to establish our identity, difficult as that is, we would have a very sound beginning if we looked at the life and the example of Sylvia Curley. She was born before the ACT was. She was born at a time when the notion of federation was being debated. She was born on 8 November 1898. She did not quite make that remarkable achievement of a life spanning three centuries. That is a shame.

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