Documenting women in philanthropy

A book that documents the history of the Lady Mayoress’ Committee has been launched. 

Five former lady mayoresses attended the launch, with the current Lady Mayoress Emma Page Campbell and the former Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley giving speeches about the historic significance of the committee at the Sofitel Hotel on October 20.

The committee raises funds for various charities and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Founded in 1959 by the then Lady Mayoress Dorothy Evans, the committee has held many charity events and has seen many changes in women’s roles in society.

From the old-fashioned ruffles to the now cocktail functions, the fund-raising methods have also changed significantly.

Lady Mayoress Emma Page Campbell said hundreds of committee members had been making a positive difference for Melbourne for almost six decades.

“The history of Melbourne could not be told without recognising the enormous contribution that the Lady Mayoress’ Committee has made to Melbourne’s charitable sector,” she said.

Former Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley said the book was a record of the works women on the committee have done.

“The book can tell the history of a legacy we can’t leave behind,” she said.

The book is divided into different chapters of 10 years. Historian and author Marcella Hunter said the book could help the committee maintain its relevance today.

“Society has changed and women’s role has also changed. The book really shows the difference in women’s role changing from the household to the workforce,” Ms Hunter said. “It shows how the members have worked hard to make charities a reality.”

With a variety of photos included in the book, it also showcases the evolution of fashion in Australia.

The committee members say the book is celebrating women in philanthropy.

The book is not for sale but can be obtained by contacting the Lord Mayor’s office.

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