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Josephine Marie Denne

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Jo Denne

Awarded for service to the community

Born: 24 November 1923
Died: 29 February 2016

Entered on roll: 2019


“A gracious woman with enormous strength of character, a wise elder and very dear friend”
- Dr Sally Bryant

Josephine Denne was a much loved member of the Bruny Island community who has left lasting legacies.

In 1942, while teaching in Hobart, Josephine returned to Barnes Bay every weekend to devote much of her leisure time to the Red Cross and the Country Women’s Association (CWA). Josephine’s association with the CWA started at the age of 16 and continued for life – 76 years.

Josephine was a long-serving member of the Royal Hobart Hospital Auxiliary and was recognised with life membership and a long service medal. She was a regular blood donor until she reached the maximum age for donating.

Josephine was also a volunteer weather observer for the Bureau of Meteorology for over 30 years.

In 1944, Josephine married Sefton Bottomley. The couple farmed the “Lauriston” property on North Bruny and had three sons. After just seven years of happy marriage, Sefton tragically died from liver cancer.

Josephine remarried Ross Denne and continued to farm. To make ends meet, Josephine sold over 5,000 homemade butter and fruit cakes to the local shop. In 1991, Josephine and Ross gifted part of “Lauriston” to form the Denne’s Hill Nature Reserve to help protect a colony of forty-spotted pardalotes, one of the few surviving colonies of this critically endangered bird species.

Josephine (and her brother, Robin Paton) were founding members of the Bruny Island Historical Society. The family’s farming diaries, early account books and weather records now form part of the Australian Bicentennial Historical Records Register.

Josephine was a substantial benefactor towards the community purchase of the Bruny Island Chapel and Cemetery, at Barnes Bay, from the Anglican Church in May 2015, thus enabling the site to remain in community hands.

Josephine’s legacy continues through a bequest in which she donated a significant portion of her estate to liver cancer research, resulting in the establishment of the Sefton Bottomley Liver Cancer Bequest for the Menzies Institute for Medical Research.

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