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Miriam Evelyn Fairham O'Toole OBE

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Miriam O'Toole

Awarded for service to the Community

Born: 1914

Died: 2008

Entered on roll: 2007


Miriam O’Toole was born at Beauty Point in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, and moved to Beaconsfield when she was nine. She was married to Jim for 74 years and had two sons. Miriam worked in a bakery after leaving school. As it was the Depression, her money went to the family income.

At 21, Miriam started work, in a voluntary capacity, at the Beaconsfield District Hospital. A matron at the hospital commented that the sewing and patching was keeping her too busy, so Miriam volunteered to take on the job. After 70 years of voluntary service to the hospital, Miriam received a certificate of appreciation from the then Minister for Health, David Llewellyn, for her remarkable volunteering achievement. Her 70-year service also included 49 years as the auxiliary’s Secretary-Treasurer and 32 years on the hospital board, the longest serving member. Miriam also recalled helping dig dugouts at the hospital during World War II.

Miriam’s voluntary efforts for her community were many and varied. She was an active member of the Beaconsfield Football Club Ladies Committee for 25 years, a member of the Beaconsfield Tennis Club for 30 years and a member of the Beaconsfield Badminton Club for 35 years. She was very active in organising support for these organisations.

For more than 20 years, Miriam was a member of the local branch of the Red Cross until it disbanded. She was also a keen member of the local branch of Weight Watchers for 35 years and an active member of the Beaconsfield Vigaro Team during the 1930s and 40s.

She was a staunch member of the Greens Beach Golf Club for 50 years. She held the position of President for five years and received honorary membership on her retirement. Miriam was also a member of the Exeter Golf Club and in 1982 received Life Membership in recognition of her ‘outstanding service’ to the Club.

A member of the Country Women’s Association for 45 years until her local group disbanded, Miriam was also a member of the Beaconsfield War Memorial Hall Committee for 21 years and trained many Beaconsfield debutants.

Her voluntary activities also included teaching home arts for 15 years at the Beaconsfield Area School and assisting with the Beaconsfield Day Care Centre annual Christmas Dinner.

Miriam was awarded an OBE in 1982 in recognition of her outstanding service to the community.

Of her voluntary activities Miriam said: “You make a lot of friends and the work is very helpful. I will carry on until the Good Lord sends me somewhere else.” Miriam died on 26 February 2008.

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