2016 Hyslop Medal and UMSWAA Annual Dinner

Jean Downing awarded Hyslop Medal

L-R: Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences Professor Glenn Bowes AO, Hyslop Medal recipient Mrs Jean Downing, Head of the Department of Social Work Professor Marie Connolly

On Thursday 22nd September 2016 Jean Downing (BAGDipSocStud 1946) was awarded the Hyslop Medal for distinguished service to the field of social work at an intimate ceremony attended by close family and friends, Faculty staff and members of the University of Melbourne Social Work Alumni Association Committee.

The Hyslop Medal was created in 2015 in celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of social work education at the University of Melbourne and recognises alumni or staff whose outstanding contributions have been integral to the success of social work at the University, so honouring the qualities and achievements of Jocelyn Hyslop (1897-1974), founding Head of Social Work.

Jean was one of the University’s first graduates in social work, and according to the Biography of Australian Women’s Register, was the first appointee as a social worker to the Children’s Court Psychiatric clinic in Melbourne. Jean’s long, diverse and significant career in social work included appointments at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital, International Social Services, and Austin Hospital. She also served as a Senior Social Worker at the Footscray Office of the Department of Social Security (DSS) and shared responsibility for social work training in Victoria’s DSS State headquarters in the 1980s.  Her deep commitment to justice and welfare also led Jean to a political career culminating in a three-year stint as a Councillor on the Eltham Shire Council.

Jean played a significant role in the establishment of the first Chair of Social Work at the University of Melbourne in 1972 and has shown her deep commitment to advancing social work over the years through the many voluntary appointments she has held including serving on the Councils of the University of Melbourne (1983-1987); the PLC; Coburg State College; Eltham High School; and the Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee (1983).

View the album of photos from the ceremony here.