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Awarded for service to the Community
Entered on roll: 2005
Patricia Gartlan was born in Kyneton, in Victoria, and educated at the Sacre Coeur Convent and the Catholic Ladies College in Melbourne. In the mid 1950s she obtained her Pharmacy Degree at the Victorian College of Pharmacy. She married in 1960 and had five children, three daughters and two sons. As well as meeting the demands of a large family, Patricia saw a need to assist other women through their pregnancies, as she understood the pressures on expectant mothers and their families. She had a particular need to assist mothers faced with unexpected pregnancies.
In August 1975, a small group of women in Hobart formed the Tasmanian Pregnancy Support Service. This was subsequently linked with other pregnancy support services throughout Australia and the Australian Federation of Pregnancy Support Services was founded. Patricia was on the national executive and served a term as National President. She and her helpers were able to build a support service for pregnant women, which has been operating effectively for 30 years. Pregnancy Counselling and Support sees about 400 clients each year, offering emotional, physical and material help to pregnant women and their families.
In the early days, Patricia trained the service’s counsellors and helpers herself until the Federation decided to have its counsellors accredited, through professional training.
On retirement, Patricia served a two-year term as President of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL). The CWL deals with social justice issues, striving to create better conditions for all in our society. Patricia was an ideal President, for as her admirers state, ‘she is a born leader’. She has continually given her time and she continues to work selflessly for the community.