Page 4400 - Week 10 - Thursday, 22 September 2011

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Motion (by Mr Corbell) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Dr Wendy Brazil

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.25): This evening I acknowledge and celebrate the contribution to the Canberra community of Dr Wendy Marelle Harley Brazil, who passed away on Saturday, 10 September, aged 75. I note for the information of members that Wendy’s husband, Norman, son David and granddaughter Khalila are in the chamber this evening.

Wendy Brazil was a classics teacher, arts reviewer and much-loved member of the Canberra community. She was born Wendy Marelle Harley Kelly, the third child of Ron and Vera Kelly, and grew up in country New South Wales. Her mother ran guesthouses, while her father was often away from home, working in Sydney. Wendy thus spent much of her childhood in boarding schools, where she excelled. She went on to study arts at the University of Sydney, where she forged some of her closest friendships and discovered her love of languages and the classics.

In 1961, upon completing her degree in Latin, French, ancient Greek and ancient history, she moved to Canberra, which was to become her home for the rest of her life. Here she met Norman Brazil, and they married in 1963.

In Canberra she initially worked as a librarian at the National Library, the Chifley Library at the ANU and the Department of Defence library. She also embarked on a career as a teacher of French, Latin and Greek, as well as English as a second language, with Canberra grammar school and St Clare’s college amongst her favourite workplaces.

Wendy Brazil also worked as a researcher for the Liberal Party and as a research officer in Parliament House, particularly for Senator David Hamer. She was also a theatre reviewer and film reviewer, first with ABC radio 2CY and later with Artsound FM. She particularly championed the work of directors Ralph Wilson and John Bell, and it was at a John Bell production of Julius Caesar in early August that I last saw Wendy. For the ANU she energetically and successfully lobbied on behalf of the John Curtin Medical School when it was in difficulties in the 1990s. In addition, she served for many years as an elected fellow of University House at the ANU.

Amongst all of this, Wendy found time to raise two children, Marcus and David, and obtain three higher degrees, a master’s degree in classics and linguistics, from the ANU and the University of Canberra, and a doctoral degree from the University of Canberra for a PhD thesis entitled “Mapping the mind of Rome: towards a new curriculum for Latin”. Her doctorate was based on one of her life’s great works, a meticulously researched, linguistics-based Latin textbook, Fabulous Latin, built around real Latin texts.

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