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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Mary Kay

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
May Kay speaking on the marine radio.

Awarded for Community Service

Born: 25 February 1936

Entered on roll: 2015


'An asset for anyone with a boat and radio.'

Keeping everyone safe is what matters to Mary Kay the sole operator of the Marine Radio Station for Coastguard at Smithton.

Many times Mary has given assistance to people at sea and has helped save lives. On one occasion, Mary alerted the Victorian Coastguard to a boat in trouble in Bass Strait. The Victorian Coastguard arrived in time and managed to rescue the men just as their yacht sank and disappeared from sight.

Mary has helped in the rescue of many yachts and their crews when they have run aground by arranging tows and calling emergency services for injured crew members.

Mary’s day starts at 6am, giving weather reports, taking position reports, assisting police when required in police rescues across Bass Strait and surrounding waters. She has provided this service for the last eighteen years, 24/7, entirely voluntarily and unpaid.

Fishermen’s stories about ‘black holes’ in the area prompted Mary to do something about poor radio reception. She worked hard and received a $32 000 Tasmanian Government grant for a base station to be erected on Three Hummock Island.

Mary is a foundation member of the women’s service club Soroptimist International of Circular Head, which was formed in 1989. She has held most positions including President. Mary has also served on Rotary for 25 years and writes local history books about Circular Head.

Mary’s awards include: Van Dieman’s Circumnavigation Cruises in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 for assistance and help; Lion’s Citizen of the Year for Community Service 2008; Pride of Australia Award 2009; Citizen of the Year 2010 Australia Day Circular Head Council; Ocean Racing Victoria Award Appreciation of Services; Finalist Tasmania Community Award 2013; Who’s who of Australian Women last five years; and Australian of the Year, local Hero for Tasmania 2014.

She and her husband Geoffrey continue to run a dairy and beef property at Nabageena.

 Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women