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Awarded for service to the Community
Entered on roll: 2005
Joan Fitz-Nead was born in Moulamein, in New South Wales. She trained as a nurse in general practice in midwifery in Melbourne in the early 1950s and worked in that occupation in Australia, England and Canada.
After moving to Tasmania in 1964, Joan trained as a teacher, teaching secondary school maths and science in Tasmanian high schools and lecturing in health sciences in Canada. Joan was invited to set up and manage a special school for high school girls from the greater Hobart area who had been suspended or were at risk of expulsion from other schools. In the four years that Joan taught at Nangaree, she confronted other educators about the issues that brought young women to the school. This led to a number of positive outcomes that still endure in the education system today.
Joan was appointed Head of the School of Child Care Studies at TAFE Tasmania and was instrumental in initiating a national Child Care Associate Diploma Course. This facilitated the restructuring of the career path for child carers. During the 1970s, Joan chaired the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Tribunal.
After retiring from the State public service, Joan was appointed as a Senior Member of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, where her strong commitment to the principles of social justice facilitated the work of the Tribunal in hearing appeals against decisions made by Centrelink.
Between 1991 and 1993, Joan helped establish, and then served as Chair of, the St John’s Park Residents’ Advocacy Committee. The Committee implemented residents’ rights and complaints procedures at St John’s Park, which was a forerunner of similar services established in other parts of Tasmania.
For the past 30 years, Joan has been a tireless worker in a diverse range of community organisations, being a representative on a number of boards and management committees. Joan’s community work has included being a Trustee of the Tasmanian Peace Trust, Co-founder of the Peace Park in West Hobart and being instrumental in the declaration of Forest Road, in West Hobart, as a 'Street for Peace'.
Joan joined the Republican Movement in Tasmania and served as the State Convenor (1997-98) and then as a member of the Executive Committee (1998-2000).
In 2003, Joan was appointed to the Accountability Working Group as part of the Review of the Local Government Act. Joan is currently a member of the Medical Complaints Tribunal. She is a former member of the Optometrists Board of Tasmania.
In 1995, Joan received a Tasmania Day Medal for Community Service and in the 2003 Australia Day Awards she received the Australia Medal for her contribution to a number of health, social welfare and education services.