Since moving to Benalla in 1991 Sally’s time has been devoted to family, their olive farm and community.
Sally has contributed greatly to many aspects of Benalla’s growth and development through her volunteer service to many education, philanthropic, environmental and horticultural projects.
Sally’s strong sense of community has included affiliation with many organisations during the years including:
- Benalla East Primary School – now the Benalla College Avon Street Campus where she was a member of the Benalla East School Council for almost 10 years in the late 1990s and early 2000. Sally helped in many ways across the school and is particularly remembered for her work in leading the school’s environmental committee, which designed and constructed the lovely front entrance that graces the school today. Sally coordinated and took part in many working bees on the entrance and around the school.
- The Crossing Place Project – involved a comprehensive plan to further develop the area around Lake Benalla and the Botanical gardens. The works included the innovative new Rose Garden and completion of the Lake Benalla walking track and board walks. Sally played a major role in this project and for a number of years she was on the committee of the Friends of the Botanical Gardens and Riverine Parkland committee.
- Aboriginal Garden – at Moira Reserve within the Lake Benalla Precinct. The garden was created in 2005 to recognise the history of the district before European settlement. Benalla’s Aboriginal Garden is a living testament to the spirit of cooperation required to create a community garden which is approved by Aboriginal elders, a wonderful addition to a town renowned for its gardens, and a healing and knowledge sharing place of benefit. Sally was on the advisory committee, coordinated by Tomorrow Today, that planned and helped establish the garden. For a number of years Sally has coordinated the maintenance of the garden including organising working bees and performing weeding and clearing. In collaboration with Benalla Rural City Council and local Aboriginal leader Chris Thorne, Sally organises tours of the garden.
- Tomorrow Today Foundation – Sally is a founding director of Tomorrow Today, Benalla’s Community Foundation. Tomorrow Today was established in 2002 to enable the people of Benalla district to create a stronger, more resilient and prosperous rural community. Sally was treasurer of the Foundation from 2002 to 2007 and has served as chair from 2009 to the current day. Sally played an important role in setting up Tomorrow Today’s Education Benalla Program. The Education Benalla Program aims to break the cycle of disadvantage by improving education outcomes for Benalla’s children and young people. In 2015, Sally was one of the key drivers in establishing the Tomorrow Today Education Foundation, a Public Benevolent Institute aimed at furthering the work of the Education Benalla Program. Sally Chairs both Foundations and contributes more than 20 hours per week.
- The Regent Honeyeater Project – An active member of the project that restores the habitat for local endangered species.
- Australian Community Philanthropy – Australian Community Philanthropy is the peak body for community foundations across Australia. The not-for-profit organisation nurtures, supports and grows community foundations and facilitates a yearly forum where members can meet, learn and network. Sally joined the Board of ACP in 2016 and is their Company Secretary.
Sally is nominated for her outstanding commitment, generosity and dedication to many community organisations, programs and facilities within Benalla during many years.
Photograph courtesy of Christine Walters.