By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Aiming for the Skies
By Fay Marles (Miegunyah Press, $49.99, hardcover, 200 pages)
Fay Marles has had the good fortune of leading a life that has been rich with professional and personal achievements.
In fact, she’s lived a life of ‘firsts’: she made history when she became the first woman Chancellor of the University of Melbourne in February 2001. She founded Australia’s first private equal opportunity consultancy and—as Victoria’s first Commissioner for Equal Opportunity— was behind a landmark case that resulted in Ansett Airlines employing its first female pilot in Deborah Lawrie.
Describing herself as something of a “left-wing rebel”, Fay’s memoirs traces “much of what has happened to me in my life to an unconventional upbringing”.
The leader in social welfare and champion of equal opportunity eloquently describes the challenges of maintaining equilibrium between her family life and career commitments including pursuit of post-graduate study as a mature-age student.
This is a captivating record of the development of social work as a profession in Australia as she was a social worker in Brisbane in the 1950s and later as a lecturer in social work at the University of Melbourne in the 1970s.
She is forthright about the influences that helped to shape her interests and outlook from her family background and schooling to her experiences as an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne in the 1940s where she was one of Manning Clark’s first students.
Even her growing interest in women’s issues and Indigenous affairs is clearly defined along with her satisfaction, disappointments and experiences she valued most with “precious legacies”.
Fay Marles has been unassuming in her successful pursuit of Aiming for the Skies.
Edition 305, 20 March 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.