Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chonicle 27-01-16 Contents 11 - Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Until 28 March
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A break away! 1891 (detail) oil on canvas, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Elder Bequest Fund, 1899
Celebrate Australia Day
'A must see for every Australian'
Simon Baker, Actor
dGWEN BROOKS SMITH
ACT's oldest person dies, aged 108
Gwendoline Brooks Smith (bottom) had a vibrant mind, a good memory and didn't worry about things she
couldn't control, say her son and daughter Michael Smith and Clare Reeves (top).
She lived until she was 108, retired at
94 as Australia s oldest secretary and
will be remembered for being a true
lady until the very end.
Gwendoline (Gwen) Brooks Smith
was born in Sydney on September 10,
1907 and passed away as the ACT s
oldest resident on January 13, 2016.
She is survived by her three
children, Clare, Terry and Michael and
their spouses, her eight grandchildren
and six great grandchildren.
It is hard to fathom all she
experienced. She was in primary
school when the Great War ended,
heard the first Australian radio
broadcasts, watched as Sydney s first
14-floor skyscraper was built and
knew life before household
telephones, trams, ferries and taxis, in
an era when a horse-drawn hansom
cab was a more common sight than a
Her eldest daughter Clare Reeves
said her mother was working as a
shorthand typist at J. Albert & Son
when she met her husband Geoffrey
Smith. Our father had been a POW in
Germany and met Gwen s brother
Alec, she said.
When dad was repatriated to
Australia he went to our
grandmother s to give news of Alec
and there he met Gwen.
He was utterly smitten and the
family still tells the story of how Geoff
raced home and told his mother
Today, I met the woman I m going to
It was a real love story but Mrs
Reeves said Gwen was a modern era
woman who had babies between the
ages of 38-42, an unusual occurrence
in those days.
She worked with J. Albert & Son, a
pioneering Australian music
publishing company, for 55 years
before retiring aged 94.
At 98 she began the Canberra
chapter of her life and was a cherished
personality at Mountain View Aged
Care Facility in Narrabundah for nine
Mrs Reeves said her mother was
fortunate to have a vibrant mind and
great memory until the end of her
She was an avid cricket fan and also
kept up to date with current affairs.
Michael Smith said his mother
was always more interested in
She did not promote herself or her
achievements but had the ability to
engage with people of all ages and
backgrounds. If there were a secret to
her longevity it was that she didn t
worry for things she couldn t control,
he said. She would always say
Never trouble trouble til trouble
troubles you. For trouble doubles
trouble and troubles others too.
light rail project
Chief Minister Andrew Barr s
pre-election reshuffle will see the
traditional Labor portfolio of
education go to the Greens Shane
Rattenbury -- and a handover of
responsibility for the light rail project.
Sparked by Joy Burch s resignation,
the reshuffle brings the number of
cabinet members to seven as
newcomer Meegan Fitzharris takes
over municipal services from Mr
Rattenbury and gains the new transport
portfolio. Deputy Chief Minister
Simon Corbell will retain his existing
responsibilities, of Attorney-General,
environment, police and health until
the election on October 15, but he will
hand the Capital Metro project over to
Ms Fitzharris from June 30 when a
new agency becomes operational.
As well as the tram line, Ms
Fitzharris takes on higher education,
training and research and will be
assistant health minister.
Project plans to
use car spaces
The ACT government will push ahead
with a controversial plan to use part of
the Magistrates Court car park as a
construction compound for the light
Capital Metro Minister Simon
Corbell announced last Friday that up
to half the car park on the corner of
London Circuit and Northbourne
Avenue would be lost to the project, --
about 70 parking spaces.
An expansion of the Canberra
Theatre car park would bring the
spaces across Northbourne Avenue to
90, 20 up across the two sites.
The government would not go ahead
with an alternative option of building a
multi-storey car park on the site, which
would have created 40 additional
spaces. Mr Corbell said the plan would
limit disruption to local businesses.
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