Victoria’s ‘Unstoppable’ Mum
OUT of thousands of nominations across the nation, inspirational mum Pauline McKenzie has been chosen as the Victorian State finalist for Barnardos Mother of the Year, and will now go into the running for the national winner.
When it comes to motherhood, and ‘grandmotherouthood’,
Pauline’s compassion and generosity knows no bounds. Pauline, now at 70, has devoted her life to playing the role of mother to those who most need it which on top of her own eight children and 16 grandchildren includes children from an orphanage, international students, displaced teenagers and refugees. Laura Game, 40, says she nominated her mother Pauline because despite the fact she had her own challenges of raising two severely disabled children, one of whom tragically passed away at 32 years of age and one of whom still lives in her care, she has gone on to open her arms and her door to others in need.
“Mum regularly fostered babies and welcomed into the family various different people for varying lengths of time, including orphanage children, international students, displaced teenagers and refugees. Many of these people still refer to her as ‘Mum’, says Laura. “Mum’s ability to give to others while running a large family and being such a devoted mother to us, her children, is astounding. The way she has mothered us all has been such a tremendous example of how to live a full and meaningful life. This is just a small snippet of what she has achieved. Mum truly deserves some recognition for her efforts, although I know that she will find it difficult to accept, and that’s why I have nominated her for Barnardos Mother of the Year.”
Throughout her adult life, Pauline has also performed extensive volunteer work, for which she has been recognised with an OAM. This included living in Papua New Guinea as part of the Australian Volunteers Abroad Scheme and organising aide for devastated countries affected by natural disasters. She established the Pregnancy Crisis Centre in Geelong, and is involved in Riding for the Disabled as well as a group called Grandmothers Against the Detention of Children, which she established with a friend. Pauline is a co-leader of a local community bushfire safety program and helped assist victims of the Victorian Scotsburn Bushfires. Held today at an event at Novotel on Collins and hosted by well-loved Australian actors Dennis Coard and have steadily grown. “The Parent Place works really well as no appointments are necessary and in young mums’ busy lives having to make an appointment can be a real barrier,” Maxine said.
Maxine’s work complements the Lactation Consultants working at Ballarat Health Services. While Maxine works from Parent Place, she is employed by BHS. “BHS still maintains a breastfeeding clinic on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and now an extra clinic is held on a Thursday at Parent Place. This is the first time that Ballarat has had a drop in breastfeeding centre. Parent Place is a great initiative on behalf of the City Council as it supports women and their babies who may not have close family networks or By Fiona Watson
THE doors open, the sound of laughter and colourful children’s paintings welcome mums and their babies to the City of Ballarat’s Parent Place. Parent Place can be found at the bottom of Sturt Street. What was once a toilet block has been transformed into a light, airy space providing a drop in centre for busy mums, the occasional dad and family members wanting a quiet respite for feeding babies or seeking information and support in regard to infant feeding. Maxine Casey, the recently appointed Lactation Consultant at Parent Place, said that in the three weeks since she took up this new position the numbers of people seeking her advice Debra Lawrance, Pauline, who is from Scotsburn, was awarded the title after being nominated for the award by her daughter Laura Game earlier in the year, and chosen from thousands of other winners.
Now in its 21st year, Barnardos Mother of the Year is the largest and most recognised national awards celebrating mothers. Deputy Lord Mayor Susan Riley said the Barnardos Mother of the Year showcases the importance of good mothering and aims to encourage positive parenting across Australia. “As a mother of three, grandmother to nine and great-grandmother to four, I understand how wonderful and challenging motherhood can be. There are certainly lots of highs and lows but I wouldn’t have it any other way because being a mum is the best job in the world,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said. “These awards are about celebrating the amazing role mothers play every day in shaping young lives. Each of these women’s stories is truly inspirational and I would like to congratulate them on their generosity of spirit, incredible commitment and devotion to their children.” “Despite the many challenges thrown at them,
Australian mums have not wavered in their determination to give their children access to all the opportunities they deserve.”
Manisha Amin, Barnardos Australia Marketing Director, says the calibre of nominations of great mothers from across Australia has been incredible this year. “Barnardos Mother of The Year aims to recognise women who defy limits of love and care to change the course of the next generation, giving children the gifts of love, security and hope and this year we’ve once again been blown away by the nominations. Pauline in particular is a great example of a selfless mother doing amazing things every day. In fact she’s spent most of her life helping others, sharing compassion and opening her doors to those who need it.
“I’d like to congratulate all the exceptional mothers who have been nominated this year, particularly our two runners up here in Victoria Nga Le Lucas from Brighton and Maryl Adams from Warranwood.” Each state finalist will go into the running to be named the overall 2016 Barnardos Mother of the Year, which will be announced on May 5th 2016.