International Women’s Day is a globally recognised occasion to celebrate the incredible achievements of women worldwide. Celebrated on March 8th each year, it serves as both a celebration of women’s accomplishments and an ongoing pursuit for gender equality.

As a salute to this day BASScare would like to honour one of our very special clients Barbara who was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her exceptional dedication to the community. We are thrilled to highlight all her achievements!

Born in Yorkshire England, Barbara studied nursing in London, drawn by a profound sense of compassion and dedication to healing. When she was 25 years old, she moved to Australia with her husband Roy and young children, where they eventually settled in Melbourne.

Barbara joined the Maroondah Brits, a group formed by individuals affected by wartime experiences, most now residing in the eastern suburbs.

Barbara’s venture into volunteering began when her daughter, then seven years old, expressed her desire to join the Girl Guides, known back then as Brownies. This prompted Barbara to step into the world of volunteering, eager to support her daughter’s interests and contribute to the community.

From all her years of assisting and leading a plethora of Girl Guides in Victoria and Tasmania, Barbara worked her way to become the Divisional Commissioner of the Brownies from 1983-1995, her experiences also led her to be the founder of several Girl Guide company’s, further enriching lives for many girls in the community.

Her other notable contributions also came from volunteering at Churches, Barbara states “I used to do some volunteering work at church, quite a lot of volunteering work actually.” Her contributions include: Visiting local primary schools to work with children, serving refreshments, supervising and cleaning responsibilities etc.

Looking back at her community service at Samarinda Ashburton Aged Care, after her leukemia recovery in her fifty’s, Barbara said “I used to go in and show slides or read to the people in nursing homes, I only did it for 12 months. The chief approached me and said he was looking for someone for a more permanent position and he knew I had the qualifications, so I took the job on and I did that for quite some years.” When praised on her loyalty to her volunteer work Barbara said “Well I don’t know I think it sort of comes naturally I think. I reckon they think nurses are terrible” Chuckling lightly, acknowledging the stereotype with good humour.

After her forty plus years of volunteering Barbara found BASScare. Barbara says “I think I read about it somewhere and it’s since been over 10 years since I joined” Barbara thoroughly enjoys exercise classes and has completed the 12 week falls prevention course here at BASScare. She and husband Roy also enjoy the social and community outings. “I really enjoyed going to Olinda Tea House and having lunch at Box Hill TAFE” she says. “The food was the best.”

Nowadays Barbara still coordinates for the Maroondah Brits, going out to lunch and having a chat from time to time. When asked what she loves most about volunteering, she says “well you meet people you don’t normally meet, you mix and get to know people and, particularly at BASScare, I’ve gotten to know quite a few groups there.”