Jean Eather honoured with commemorative plaque

December 13, 2007

A plaque honouring the late Jean Eather, who worked tirelessly for the Bingara community for many years, was unveiled by her daughter, Marilyn Dixon, and son Graham Bateman, at the Volunteer Recognition morning tea at CWA Park on Friday, December 7.

Cr. Catherine Egan told the representatives of local volunteer organisations attending the morning tea that volunteering is a two way street.

“The receiver gets help and support, and the giver experiences the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing they are contributing to others’ needs and their community’s wellbeing, Cr. Egan said.

Cr. Egan said it was appropriate that a plaque remembering former Shire Councillor and community volunteer, Jean Eather was placed near the visitors’ amenity block in CWA park, because Mrs. Eather saw the building as top priority for many years.

Cr. Egan acknowledged the help of Austin Mack and Bob Kirk in compiling the following summary of Jean Eather’s achievements.

Members of Jean Eather’s family, granddaughter Judith Hawkins, daughter Marilyn Dixon, son Graham (Joe) Bateman, granddaughter, Beryl (Bez) Dixon, and in front, great granddaughters, Katie, Sophie and Sarah Dennis.

Jean married George Bateman, and Englishman who served in the Australian Army, in 1944. They had three children, Marilyn, Beryl and Graham.

In 1958, George died, and in December of that year, the family home on the northern side of the Gwydir River, was destroyed by fire. In those days there was no water connected to homes on the northern side of the river.

In the true spirit of caring for its own, the Bingara Community rallied, Bakers sawmill returned from Christmas break for three days to mill the timber. In January 1959, just seven weeks later, Jean and her young family moved into a new home on the old site, all thanks to the generosity of the community.

On Boxing day, 1965, Jean married Alf Eather.

Jean’s devotion to her community is inspirational, serving on committees of: RSL Women’s Auxiliary, Bingara Basketball Association, Meals on Wheels, Senior Citizens Association, Swimming Club, Minor League, cook at Pony Club, and member of the Hospital board and Touriandi Lodge, where she served one term as President.

Jean stood and was elected to the former Bingara Shire Council in 1962, and was the first lady elected in local government in the north, and one of the first in the state.

She represented Council as delegate on various external organisations and at the Shires Association conferences and was the first delegate to Regional Library in Tamworth. In all, Jean served 12 years on Council, retiring in 1977.

Compliments of The Bingara Advocate