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Kathleen Duncombe

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Kathy Duncombe

Awarded for service to the community

Born: 2 December 1948 - Lidcombe, New South Wales

Entered on roll: 2019


“Transmitter of history”

Bruny Island’s history is being preserved and presented thanks to Kathleen (Kathy) Duncombe’s love of research.

For over 40 years, Kathy has made a generous contribution to Bruny Island as a volunteer, researcher and author, by publishing works, cataloguing the history of Bruny Island, photographing and transcribing tombstones, researching the history of homesteads and delving into convict connections.

During this time Kathy also created four businesses, from hairdressing to hospitality.

Kathy’s fascination with research started in 1970, and for over 40 years, Kathy has volunteered with the Bruny Island Historical Society, including four years as Acting Coordinator, ensuring enquiries were satisfied efficiently and accurately, and Treasurer for six years. Kathy is also a member of the Tasmanian Family History Society, and the Tasmanian Historical Research Association.

Kathy’s publishing projects include: Excursion around North Bruny Island 2nd edition (updated 2006); indexing South Bruny Island – Tasmania: A brief history of its settlement compiled by Richard Pybus; an index for F. Oliver Gray’s Recollections of North Bruny Island and Further Recollections of North Bruny Island; and an index for the Centenary of Portland 1834-1934. Kathy also transcribed Bruny Island’s Story: Tasmanian Mail 1916 by W. J. R., and On Bruny Island: Weekly 1914 by Cradoc.

Kathy compiled the Historical Overview of the Bruny Island Quarantine Station for the Conservation Management Plan in 2000 when the Australian Government transferred the land back to the Tasmanian Government.

Kathy’s most well-known publication is a book, Bruny Island’s Quarantine Station in War and Peace, about the Quarantine Station on North Bruny Island. The Quarantine Station is a site she is dedicated to as the current president of Wild Care Inc. Friends of Bruny Island Quarantine Station. This group works closely with Parks and Wildlife Service to ‘support the management, conservation and public appreciation of the site’.

At present, Kathy is researching the thousands of soldiers who returned from World War I and passed through the Quarantine Station due to the influenza pandemic.

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