I was on the crux of publishing another article about Fed Parliament, rape, and the rule of law (and will do so soon), but I’m so enchanted by this that I must share – what a brilliant woman!
I hope her family will forgive me for republishing this, but given it’s already in the public domain, and given what a fantastic woman she obviously was, I hope they will forgive me.
EVANS, Elaine Anne
After 84 years of pushing and dominating her family, ‘little sis’ Elaine has lost her final battle with the grim reaper.
Although she managed to get her way on most of the matters she took on during her lifetime, she bit off more than she should with the big C, but she would say only because it took a rare and highly aggressive one to finish her off.
Despite her diminutive stature and disarming smile, only the brave took on Elaine or the causes she fought for, at least directly, and woe to anyone who misjudged her tenacity and will power to push aside mountains of bureaucracy and accepted practice if these stood in her way.
Not content with getting her way with her immediate and extended families, Elaine took her battle for fairness and justice for her beloved Sydney western suburbs to such areas as Board member of Parramatta Hospital (1984-88), Councillor on Parramatta City Council (1987-91), Board member on Parramatta Park Trust (2001 -11).
While these organisations all probably felt the heat of Elaine’s passion to challenge the ‘accepted way’, they would probably all admit they emerged fairer and more responsive to local needs for her time with them.
Eschewing most official recognition for her community work, Elaine was chuffed to be pulled up by the Western Australian police while holidaying with her beloved Bill in 1999, telling her she needed to fly back to Sydney to receive the inaugural Justice Medal awarded by the Law Foundation of NSW at Parliament House for her “outstanding contribution to justice in NSW” – arising from her decade of work at the then Women’s Legal Resource Centre supporting women, especially in western Sydney as well as the more remote and needy corners of the State.
All pretty good for the daughter of a fettler and a railway gate keeper in Armidale who left school at 15 to take care for her newly widowed dad, worked in factories and farms before resuming her schooling at forty by completing her HSC so she could enter tertiary studies to better help others. Always the overachiever, Elaine topped her class at the then Milperra College of Advanced Education and was awarded the Council Medal in 1979.
Elaine’s passion for justice for all made her a very active member and supporter of the Labor Left, and the Evans dinner table at Toongabbie was never free of animated discussion and debate on the failings of the ‘other side’, be it Labor or Liberal, to achieve fairness and equity for those in need.
Elaine will be greatly missed by husband Bill, her siblings Grace, Joan and Gerald, along with her proud children Graham, Jennifer, Jeffrey and Sharon (dec) and their wider families.
Thanks to Sally-Ann, Trish and their respective teams at Mt Druitt Palliative Care Unit for their special care in Elaine’s final weeks, along with Dr Dinh at Westmead Hospital oncology.