UMSWAA Morning Tea

On 20th June, UMSWAA was delighted to hold a morning tea for alumni at Graduate House. This was attended by around thirty alumni across multiple graduate cohorts. There were ample opportunities to socialise and catch up with old friends and make new connections. Thank you to all who contributed to the success of this event.

At the event, Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott AM outlined the achievements and contribution to the profession by the late Alison Mathew (nee Player) who Dorothy and Dr Jane Miller AM have nominated for inclusion into the Victorian Honour Roll for Women. The obstacles, some familial and some societal, to career development and the ability to contribute for Ms Mathew and women of her generation were significant. In Ms Mathew’s case these were surmounted and her subsequent contribution as President of the AASW, to the Child and Family Welfare field, her involvement in the Colombo Plan and many other roles in the profession and community showed all the marks of a social work practitioner of excellence.

Morning tea photo collage

Left image: Alison Player (left) with Nancy Bowman (right - for many years head of social work at Austin Hospital) – early 1940’s.

Top right image: Alison Player (right) and Colombo plan student circa 1960’s. This was when Alison was national president of AASW and the national conference that was held in Melbourne.

Bottom right image from left to right: Dr Jane Miller AM, Professor Louise Harms, Janet Farrow OAM, Associate Professor Ralph Hampson, Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott AM and Miriam Suss OAM.

Associate Professor Ralph Hampson gave a brief overview of the Reflections on Social Work Careers: UoM SW Alumni 1945-2000 Project. Many alumni in attendance had contributed to the project either by undertaking interviews or being the interview subject, a process that often has mutual benefits.

Dr Jane Miller AM outlined her soon to be published book whose working title is "Teaching for a Profession: Social Work Education in Australia 1900-1960”. This book tells, for the first time, the history of Australian social work – a story of a fight for standards and the tenacity of a group of women (and a few men) who were determined to improve care and conditions for those most vulnerable in our community. It also reflects on why the rights of women and First Nations peoples were overlooked for so long, and examines the future challenges for social work in Australia.

Finally, Miriam Suss OAM was delighted to note alumni who were awarded Australian Honours this year. These distinguished alumni are:

Dr Jane Sullivan OAM Service to the community through a range of organisations
Ms Marion Webster AM Significant service to the community, to the philanthropic sector,
and to women.
Dr Julie M Edwards OAM Service to the community through social welfare organisations
Miss Sonia M Posenelli OAM Service to community health