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Awarded for services to education and training
Born: 18 January 1943 - Hobart, Tasmania
Entered on roll: 2017
“A ‘rock’, matriarch and principal”
When Cynthia Brock was 16 her mother died suddenly, leaving behind a devastated family of seven children, including three girls under the age of six. Cynthia finished school and cared for her younger siblings until they were old enough for boarding school four years later.
While training to be a teacher and in her early career, Cynthia’s father was diagnosed with a brain tumour, which affected his speech and reason. Cynthia’s father lived with her and husband, John, until it became too great a risk for her father to be at home and he was admitted to the Royal Derwent Hospital.
At age 24, Cynthia had responsibility for her sisters aged 14, 12 and 10 who lived with Cynthia and John and their two children. This she never regarded as a burden. To her sisters, Cynthia was their ‘rock’ and family matriarch.
When Cynthia’s son was 18 he suffered horrific injuries in a car crash. Doctors suggested he might never walk again and would need lifelong care. It was with enormous faith, dedication and determination that Cynthia worked with her son, the family and health professionals to ensure his ability to live an independent and fulfilling life.
Cynthia built an impressive teaching career from 1970 until 2012 and became one of the first female lay principals in the Catholic School System, as the principal of Sacred Heart Primary School in Launceston (which was also called Marian College for some time). Cynthia became principal at a time when female principals were rare and Catholic schools were the domain of nuns, brothers or men.
It was during this time that Cynthia faced more challenges as the school transitioned from an all girls’ school to co-ed.
Cynthia introduced Aboriginal cultural education into the school, which was acknowledged by Aboriginal Elders and she was gifted an Aboriginal shell necklace by Aboriginal Elder, Gloria Templar.
Eventually Cynthia realised a teenage dream and studied a summer school course at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.