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HUNTER HERO: Joan Harman

Posted by on 22/06/2019


SWANSEA resident Joan Harman has dedicated more than half her life to others and believes that if you are a part of a community and can help, you should.

After more than 50 years of volunteer work, Mrs Harman – who turns 80 this year – was awarded a NSW Government Community Service Award on January 22.

The modest recipient was shocked when she was unknowingly led to what she believed to be a meet-and-greet with state member for Swansea Gary Edwards and Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello.

Instead of morning tea, she was taken to an awards luncheon and was completely surprised when she was called on stage.

‘‘I was absolutely staggered,’’ Mrs Harman said.

‘‘I never knew anything I’ve done all my life would warrant any recognition.

‘‘It was the first time in my long life that I was speechless.

‘‘But it was so exciting to be recognised.’’

Mrs Harman’s sense of community involvement began with the opening of the Blacksmiths Public School in the 1960s.

‘‘We were so grateful to have a school but at first there was nothing in it,’’ Mrs Harman said.

‘‘We were dedicated.

‘‘I was so proud to be given life membership.’’

Her work with the school P&C sparked a passion that has continued throughout her life.

‘‘I could do it [volunteer] and enjoyed it so I thought I would continue with it,’’ Mrs Harman said.

‘‘I like to be involved with the community.

‘‘I have lived here [in Swansea] all my life and if I can help, I will.’’

Although Mrs Harman has volunteered with several other organisations, one has stayed close to heart for decades.

For 43 years, Mrs Harman has passionately given her time to the Caves Beach VIEW Club, a network of ladies who do charity work for The Smith Family.

Voice, Interests and Education of Women was established in 1960 for women who were prohibited from joining other groups, such as Lions and Rotary, to network together.

Today the group runs charity and fund-raising events for the Smith Family initiative and supports almost 1000 disadvantaged children across Australia.

‘‘It [the VIEW Club] is the love of my life,’’ Mrs Harman said.

‘‘It has been a long achievement and ambition of mine.’’

The women of the club have become a part of Mrs Harman’s close group of friends.

‘‘Those ladies are the fabric of my life,’’ Mrs Harman said.

She believes they may be the ones responsible for the surprise award she received.

‘‘All of them knew all about it afterwards,’’ she laughed.

‘‘But my friends were so delighted for me.’’

Mrs Harman is also involved in the voluntary work of her husband, who is the president of the Amputee Club.

‘‘He has always been a great support to me and to the work I do, so I try to support him in the same manner,’’ she said. ‘‘I help out anyway there that I can.’’

Mrs Harman has also volunteered for the Belmont Hospital Auxiliary and Tuesday Club.

Joan Harman is modest about her volunteer works. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

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