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Awarded for service to Sport and Recreation
Entered on roll: 2005
Born in Zeehan, Alma Leary attended Zeehan Primary School, Hobart High School (1915-18) and the Phillip Smith Teacher Training College. Alma graduated in 1920 and her first posting was as an infant teacher at the Burnie State School in 1921. She married in 1922 and had five children, two daughters and three sons.
Alma began playing hockey in 1915 while attending Hobart High School. She was an outstanding player and captained the team from 1915-18. She was selected in the Southern Representative Hockey Team in 1920. She founded the North West Hockey Association in Burnie in 1921 and was the inaugural secretary. In 1922, Alma gained State selection and played in the interstate competition in West Australia, where Tasmania was a convincing winner, having won every match. In 1925, Alma was a member of the State team that participated in the All Australian Carnival held in Launceston and she then gained selection in the Australian team.
Alma’s involvement with hockey was lifelong and included roles such as umpire, coach, administrator, fundraiser, patron and state selector. She assisted in the introduction of men’s hockey in Tasmania. In 1941, she became the first Life Member of the North Western Hockey Association. Following Alma’s, death her contribution to the sport was honoured by the naming of the ‘Alma Leary Memorial Field’ at the McKenna Park Hockey Centre in Burnie.
Alma was a founding member of the Ladies’ Legacy Guild (Burnie), the Burnie Primary Mother’s Club and the Umina Park Auxiliary. She was President of the South Burnie Red Cross, a major branch with 100 members, during World War II. Alma was active in the CWA and for many years presented its 7BU Radio program. Other community involvement included her work with St George’s Church in Burnie, Roland Boys Home and the RSL Women’s Auxiliary.