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Awarded for service to the Arts
Entered on roll: 2007
Carlene Vickers was born in Devonport and attended Devonport High School. She then went onto the University of Tasmania.
Carlene moved to the West Coast in 1961 and taught at various West Coast schools for 17 years. She taught in primary and special schools as well as child migrant education.
Her list of community involvement includes the Zeehan Hospital Auxiliary, the Catholic Women’s League and Parents and Friends Associations. However, her predominant contribution to community has been in the area of the arts and in particular the restoration of the Gaiety Theatre in Zeehan.
The once-famous Gaiety Theatre drew world-class acts and tourists to the town. Built in 1898 for entrepreneur Edward Mulcahy during the glory days of West Coast mining, the 1000-seat Theatre was one of the biggest in Australia and regularly drew international acts such as Harry Houdini and the All Male Welsh Choir.
The Gaiety Theatre is historically very significant for both Zeehan and Tasmania because it is one of the few remaining late Victorian combined theatre and hotel complexes in Australia.
Carlene is a founding member and current Chairwoman of Friends of the Gaiety which was formed in 2000. This small group led by Carlene decided to restore the Gaiety Theatre to its former glory.
The group has been very successful in raising funds. Ongoing fundraising and grant accession has seen approximately $120,000 spent on the restoration. From this, the Theatre itself has been tastefully refurbished as has the dining room, two billiard rooms, three shop fronts, hotel bar and atrium. There are displays regarding the importance of the role of women on the West Coast and an art gallery.
All the hard work paid off for the Friends of the Gaiety in April 2006 when the Gaiety Theatre was officially re-opened by former Governor, Sir Guy Green. West Coast Mayor Darryl Gerrity, said the Theatre’s restoration gave the town a second chance to be on the cultural map and the capacity to once again attract big events.
Carlene is also well known in art circles for her work as an exhibiting member of the Arts Society of Tasmania and the Australian Society of Miniature Art.
Carlene has devoted her skills, her professional attitude and a great deal of her time to the communities of the West Coast. Tourism to the area is greatly enhanced by her efforts. She has deepened community links and enhanced a sense of purpose and pride in what can be achieved by community groups with commitment to a vision.