Monday, 29 August 2016

Cr Jan Bateman

Jan Bateman, who was the first female Mayor for the City of Berwick passed away on August 26, 2016 at the age of 81. Mrs Bateman  was a Shire of Berwick Councillor from 1971 until 1973 and then recontested in the first City of Berwick Election held in 1973 and won so she was an inaugural City of Berwick Councillor. She was Mayor 1980/81  - as we said, the  first female Mayor for the City of Berwick. She  resigned from the Council in 1984. Mrs Bateman was re-elected to Council in 1992 and stood down when the Council amalgamations took place in 1994. She then took up the role of one of the Commissioners for the newly created City of Maroondah and served as a Commissioner from January 1995 until March 1997. Mrs Bateman was awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) in recognition of her service to the community in June 1985.


This photograph was taken after the first meeting of the City of Berwick, on October 1 1973 at the Berwick Inn. The newly elected Mayor, Barry Simon, is at the front, behind the bar. Left to right are David Lee, Jack Thomas, Keith Wishart, Sid Pargeter, Jan Bateman, Jim Alexander, Joan Phillips, Ron Irwin, George Chudleigh, John Byron and Bill Hudson. 

Janice Gwendoline Bateman (nee Harrop) and her husband John had moved to Doveton in 1957, according to  a report in a local paper when she was elected Mayor in 1980.  Mrs Bateman was the last of  a trio of pioneering female Councillors who all had the distinction of being the first female Mayor for local Councils. Mrs Jeune Matthews, who passed away in 2012, was the first female Shire President (they are now called Mayors) for the Shire of Pakenham in 1979 and Mrs Judy Elso, who passed away in December 2015 was the first female Shire President of the Shire of Cranbourne in 1988. It's hard to believe now, given that Local Government commenced in this area with the formation of the Cranbourne Road Board in 1860 and the Berwick Road Board in 1862, the precursors of Shires of Cranbourne and Berwick, both of which were established in 1868, that it actually took around 120 years for a female to be given the top job.

Cr Bateman was interviewed in 1994 about the early days of the City of Berwick, you can listen to this here.


 Cr Bateman, the photo isn't dated, but presumably taken during her Mayoral year in 1980.

Interestingly, 1980, the year after Cr Jeune Matthews' stint as Shire President, Jan Bateman was Mayor of Berwick and Cr Lenore Gullquist was Shire President of Pakenham, so Pakenham Shire had the distinction of having two females in the top job in a row. Also of note, while we are talking about pioneering women in local government, the Shire of Berwick had a female Shire Secretary from 1951 until 1966, Miss Beatrice (Trixie) Thomas. This was a rare position for a woman to hold. Miss Thomas was the daughter of Albert Thomas, who founded  the Pakenham Gazette in 1909.



No comments: