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Awarded for service to the Community, service to Education and Training
Entered on roll: 2006
Pat Ahearn was born in Launceston, the eldest of two girls, and educated at Sacred Heart College where she was inspired by Sister Teresa and Sister Imelda to enter into a teaching career.
Pat provided leadership, training and professional development and innovative initiatives throughout her 44 years in early childhood education.
Early in her teaching career Pat spent a year on exchange in the United Kingdom and was sent by the Tasmanian Education Department on a six-month study tour to the UK and America. While in the UK she studied at the Institute of Early Childhood Education attached to the University of London.
In America, Pat became convinced of the value of involving parents in the education process and on her return to Tasmania gained funding to build a parents’ room at the Mowbray Heights Primary School where all parents and teachers could meet. This new concept proved invaluable to both parties.
Another initiative by Pat and her colleagues was the development of the Emily Browne Group. Pat and her teaching colleagues believed all children should be given an understanding of the history of the community in which they live. The Emily Browne Group wrote, illustrated and published books for children that were a wonderful depiction of colonial life in convict times.
The last 15 years of Pat’s teaching career were spent at Glen Dhu Primary School. As a testimony to her extraordinary work and dedication, an extension to the school was named in her honour.
Pat is much revered for her significant contributions to Tasmanian heritage, culture and the arts, as well as her commitment to many community organisations. Some of these roles include: C chairperson of the Franklin House Management Committee; a volunteer in the History Department at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery; a Friend of the Library; a member of the Australian Federation of University Women; a member of the World Education Fellowship; Life Member of the Tasmanian Early Childhood Senior Staff Association; and a Life Member of the Glen Life Group, an organisation that raises funds for children in need.
Pat’s love of literature has resulted in publications on the life of remarkable women including Broadland House Girls’ School headmistress Miss Rooney, and the last member of the Hawkes family of Franklin House, Charlotte Hawkes.