Page 790 - Week 02 - Thursday, 25 February 2010

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a great friend. Helen would be known to many in our community, particularly through her work in disability. At one stage I believe she ran Disability ACT.

Helen is survived by her brother John, her sister Virginia and her sister Sarah and a number of her nieces and nephews. She was cremated on Tuesday at the Gungahlin cemetery and a very well-attended farewell it was for Helen. There were a lot of people from a lot of both federal and ACT departments who obviously knew, respected and loved her. There were some lovely stories told and some lovely comments passed.

In particular, I would like to put on the record the appreciation of other members of my staff at that time—Michael Hopkins; Mal Baalman, who worked for Michael Moore; Jo Elson; Tamsin Davies; Adam Stankevicius; James Lennane; Tim Dillon; and Megan O’Connor—who all sent their regards to the family.

Helen received an Order of Australia medal for her work as a public servant, particularly looking after those who were less well off in the community. If there is a lasting memory I have of Helen, it is just her sense of what was right and what was wrong. As she talked to constituents or addressed things that came into the office, I can often remember her saying, “Brendan, but it’s just not right.” She had some very strong guiding principles and was not afraid to apply those principles. Indeed, I think she is remembered by everyone for applying what she believed in and getting out there and doing it.

The other thing about Helen was her absolute loyalty to those that she loved, as was raised at her memorial service—40 years or thereabouts after leaving school, the fact that a group of her friends would still come around, and they met regularly. She seemed to be the central link in all of those groups of friends and circles.

A lot of comment was passed about Helen’s other pastimes. She loved her food and cooking. She loved travel. She was very good with her hands. She particularly liked knitting. She had explored other forms of expression more recently, particularly with her love of colour and loud hats. They put on the coffin a cat hat that she wore. I should perhaps mention that Helen had passed away as a result of cancer. As you would all know, often cancer can be particularly brutal to a person’s hair. So Helen had a set of delightfully coloured hats that she wore with a great deal of pride.

She was also a very ordered person. You would not want to cross Helen and not file things properly. Her brother spoke of the family going to her house and finding 45 years of National Geographic neatly catalogued and approximately 20 years worth of the gourmet magazine all neatly stacked. I think it brought a chuckle to everybody’s face that apparently her father gave her her first copy of National Geographic when she was 12 or 13 and starting geography and she had not missed an issue since.

She was a very single-minded, very dedicated person. She was also a very courageous person because she had suffered the affliction of cancer for something like 15 years on and off. On every occasion that she beat it she would let the word out that she had beaten it and we all hoped that that was it. Occasionally she would get past the period where people would start to hope and think that she had finally beaten it, but in the

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