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Awarded for service to Education and Training, service to the Environment
Entered on roll: 2005
One of five girls in a family of musicians, Aida started work at the age of 17 years as a junior teacher at Wellington Square School in 1936. After a year’s supervised experience , she was posted to Bracknell, taking on 57 children ranging in ages from eight to 13 years, plus singing and cooking classes.
During the time of teacher shortages during World War II, she taught at a number of schools including Snug Primary School. Here she lived in a draughty shack, working at nights by candlelight , and teaching 78 six year olds in a classroom built for 40 students. During this time, she was also appointed as Artist for Infant Schools and illustrated many children’s textbooks.
Aida took charge of infant teacher and art teacher courses at the Launceston Teachers College. She later worked with many families who had made the decision to educate their children at home. The final position in her professional career as a well-loved educator was at East Launceston School, where she worked until her retirement in 1978.
It was Aida’s belief that all children could reach their full potential, regardless of their difficulties, if they were loved, and received enough assistance. She shared the great joy of children’s literature with children, teachers and many community groups. She also anonymously sponsored the production of children’s educational books that ‘would neither distort their imagination nor impair their aesthetic sense’. She donated generously to many organisations including small regional libraries and, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and her vast collection of children’s books was donated to the Launceston Teacher’s College.
As an avid conservationist, Aida was frequently involved in efforts to preserve historic buildings. She was also at the forefront in the fight to save Lake Pedder, as well as the Franklin River. A woman of the highest principles , she had her power cut off in protest against the damming of the Franklin River and lived by candlelight. She was a foundation member of, and significant contributor to, the Winifred Curtis Scamander Reserve Trust, which manages a wild life sanctuary on the East Coast of Tasmania.
Throughout her life, Aida was a person for others, with so much love and wisdom to give but seeking nothing in return.