Vale: Joan Kellett OAM


A Community Memorial gathering to celebrate and remember Joan Kellett OAM will take place on Saturday 19 August 2017 at YMCA Leumeah Lodge in Nicholls (48 O’Hanlon Place) starting 2pm. All welcome, please dress colourfully.

Vale: Joan Kellett OAM North Canberra Community Council Leadership 1994-2004

Joan Kellett was a driving force behind North Canberra Community Council in its earliest days, serving as Chair in 1994-1995 when the community councils were first allocated funding by the ACT Government under Kate Carnell. Over the next ten years, Joan was actively involved in North Canberra Community Council business, attending hearings by the Assembly and representing the Council in a variety of forums leading up to the Neighbourhood Plans produced in 2003. In 2004, she took the reins as Chair again.

Joan’s passion for Dickson Pool and her local swimming club is famous. From the time her kids were little she became an intrinsic part of the ACT swimming scene and continued in a variety of administrative roles for 50 years, encouraging and supporting young and old alike, working closely with others to set up learn to swim programs and swim programs for people with disabilities that endure to this day. As Board Chair, first for North Ainslie Primary School, Lyneham High and Dickson College in the seventies and eighties while her four children were growing up, then on the Board of Turner Primary in later years, Joan helped shape public school education for thousands of families and was on the frontline fighting for funding and resources while working with principals, parents and teachers.

When self-government was first introduced, Joan was one of nine candidates who formed and ran as the Residents Rally, winning 4 seats in the new Assembly. Joan narrowly missed out, placing fifth. As campaign manager and policy adviser to Michael Moore during his term in government as an Independent, Joan nevertheless helped influence government policy and made many new friends. In 2003 Joan was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her services to swimming and the community.

Whether as a member of the ACT Council of P&C Associations, Guides ACT, the Board of the YMCA, Alzheimers ACT, or Friends of Albert Hall, Joan’s good humour and common sense were a source of inspiration for an extraordinary cross-section of the community over the years. Her kindness to neighbours, her willingness to roll up her sleeves and get on with things that needed doing, to step up and play a leading role in the daily life of the community, made her a trusted friend and an eloquent advocate for good neighbourhood planning, good schools, good facilities and services, and quality development in this city.

In 2010, Joan helped form the Dickson Residents Group and remained a core group member up until the very end of her life, coaching and mentoring and advising.

One of Joan’s outstanding qualities was her modesty – she never flaunted her achievements or advertised her contributions, despite the breadth and depth of the work she did to serve the Canberra community. This was a city she was deeply invested in and dearly loved, and she gave it her all in a way that very few have. We, as residents, are the richer for it.

Joan passed away on 20 June 2017 after a long battle with cancer, aged 88.

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