OAM for Jean Bennett (Davies, 1951) in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Congratulations to MLC School Old Girl, Jean Bennett (Davies, 1951) who received an OAM ‘for service to the community of Canberra’.

Jean Davies (1951) enrolled at MLC School into Nursery (now Pre-Kindergarten) in 1939 and completed the Leaving Certificate in 1951. After school, Jean attended Sydney Technical College to obtain a Science Certificate while also working as a Laboratory Assistant. She quickly realised that she wanted to do further study and subsequently enrolled at the University of Sydney where she completed a BSc in Microbiology. She later went on to complete an MSc at the University of NSW.

Jean worked at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) as an Experimental Officer and later at the University of NSW as a Senior Tutor in Microbiology. She also taught part-time at the Sydney Technical College and at the University of Sydney’s School of Veterinary Science.

In 1971 Jean moved with her family to Canberra where she later taught Microbiology at Canberra Technical College and at the Canberra College of Advanced Education (CCAE – now the University of Canberra).

In order to spend more time with her three children, Jean completed a Diploma of Education at the CCAE and moved into high school teaching. Her last 11 years before retirement were spent as a Science teacher at Hawker College.

After retirement Jean continued part-time and casual work before pursuing voluntary work. It is this voluntary work for which she was awarded her OAM. On learning that her devotion to her volunteer work had led to her OAM, Jean responded with surprise, saying that she was amazed to receive an award for “doing what I enjoy”.

Some of Jean’s ‘service to the community of Canberra’, include:

  • Radio 1RPH – serving the ACT and surrounding regional NSW.
    Jean has been the President and Committee Member as well as a reader, presenter, roster keeper, mentor and trainer for this community-based radio station established and run by volunteers. Radio 1RPH ‘turns print into sound’ for those who have difficulty reading printed material. Each day the volunteers read from the major daily newspapers, including the Canberra Times, and from popular international and Australian magazines, journals, serialised books and community newsletters.

  • Women’s Groups
    Jean has been an active volunteer, and President since 2011, of the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association, Australia; a group devoted to promoting peace by developing better understanding and fostering friendship among all women of the Pacific and Southeast Asia in order to improve the social, economic, and cultural conditions for women in this region.

    Since 1988, Jean has been an active member of Country Women’s Association (CWA) – Canberra Evening Branch. She has held many executive roles and has been the branch delegate for the organisation’s NSW state conferences. Currently she is the Visiting Speakers Officer.

  • Dance
    In 2011, Jean was a Founding Member of Canberra Dance Theatre’s ‘Growing Old Disgracefully (GOLD) Seniors Dance Group’, and since 2016, she has been a volunteer with the ‘Dance with Parkinson’s Group’ at the Belconnen Arts Centre.

    In August and September this year Jean will be performing with GOLD in a number of Canberra venues. Dates can be viewed here.

  • Advisory Committee
    From 2003 to 2014, Jean was the Community Representative on the ACT Advisory Committee on Ionising Radiation. This group investigated ways to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation through understanding the risks, best practice, policies and services via community engagement.

MLC School is very proud of Jean's achievements and congratulate her on being recognised for her service to her community with the award of OAM.