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A lifetime of giving: remembering Jean Hamley

December 3, 2018

Words by: Joan Jasper


Many patients have very fond memories of Jean Hamley from her volunteer work with Eye and Ear Speech Pathologist, Anne Yorston, but she is also remembered by volunteers and hundreds of shoppers from her time at the Eye and Ear Opportunity Shop.


Jean died in September at the age of 92. She was a volunteer and the Coordinator of the Opportunity Shop for forty years and spent many days every week sorting, washing, cleaning, displaying and organising the shop, selling goods, and planning the roster. This work was in addition to the weekly help she gave to the Speech Therapy Department.

Volunteering was in Jean’s blood. Before coming to the hospital she volunteered at her children’s local primary school and at her church, and it was because of a friendship with Professor Richard Dowell’s* parents that Jean began what would become a lifetime of dedication to the hospital.


When Jean began her voluntary work at the Opportunity Shop, the various support groups, called Auxiliaries, were located around the state, and were raising funds for hospital equipment. Jean represented the Opportunity Shop on the Executive Council of Auxiliaries, where, eventually, funds raised meant that the hospital could purchase its very first vehicle. As time went by the Auxiliaries raised millions of dollars and were able to fund major projects. A large proportion of those funds came from Jean’s dedication to the Opportunity Shop.

Another of Jean’s involvements at the hospital was to help select designs for Christmas cards, then packaging and selling them. This was a huge job every year but it was all part of Jean’s dedication to raising funds for the hospital.


Jean’s voluntary service to the community culminated in her being awarded the OAM (Order of Australia Medal) in 2001.

Val Galagher, also a dedicated volunteer to Eye and Ear, will miss Jean’s life-long friendship. Val and Jean had been staunch friends since school-days, and it was my pleasure in later years to take Val to see Jean, when on many occasions, their conversation would turn to their many years spent at the hospital.


I remember Jean from my work in the Public Relations Department as a quietly spoken person, a person with great intellect who could express her views strongly while quietly sticking to her guns, a person who put the needs of others before those of her own, and a person whose commitment to the hospital was second to none. I will remember her with great fondness and will miss her friendship.