Women win community honours

Published on 28 August 2014

Three women from Loddon Shire will be honoured next week when the Loddon Bendigo Rural Women’s Network holds a once-only event, “Tribute to Rural Women”.

The function, to be held at Bendigo’s Foundry Hotel next Tuesday (2 Sept), has been funded by a grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and extra financial support from Loddon Shire and the City of Greater Bendigo.

The Rural Women’s Network is a joint initiative by those two councils and three women from Bendigo will also receive recognition.

Keynote speaker on the night will be Brigitte Muir, the first Australian woman to climb Mount Everest, and the first Australian, male or female, to climb the highest mountain on every continent.

The awardees from Loddon are Sue Brown, of Bridgewater, Sue Bennett, from Yarrawalla, and Gwen Miller, from Pyramid Hill.

Sue Brown’s list of community service involvements is a long one, including the Zonta Club of Bendigo, View Club, Kooyoora Women’s Network, Inglewood Anglican Church and St Luke’s, through which she and husband Allan have fostered more than 100 children.

Sue Bennett works with husband Brian Smith running Synergy Farms, producing organic apples and doing some cropping.

She devotes time and energy to such community interests as East Loddon P-12 College, Dingee Bush Nursing Centre, Loddonvale Landcare, CFA, the Central Victorian Agribusiness Forum and the local hall committee.

Gwen Miller was a farm girl from Durham Ox who left school in Year 10 to work on the home block when her father fell ill.

After her marriage to Ernie in 1959, their experiences as a couple over the following decades brought multiple challenges in terms of running two farms, caring for three orphaned nephews and personal health issues, but Gwen steadily maintained her commitment to a busy community life, her music and her gardening.