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Maria (Jan) Sparkes

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Maria Sparkes

Awarded for service to the Community

Born: 30 March 1938

Entered on roll: 2009

Jantina (Jan) Maria Sparkes was born on 30 March 1938 in Indonesia. Jan lives in St Marys and has been a generous and dedicated contributor to her local community. She has instigated numerous projects and has inspired others locally and internationally.

Following the 2006 East Coast bushfires, Jan had a vision for the recovery of the community. She brought together a small group of people to establish Regener8. Her group worked with Dr Rosa McManamey from the University of Tasmania’s Department of Rural Health to produce a book; Regener8: Stories and impressions of the Tasmanian East Coast Bushfire 2006. This project focused on resilience in response to the bushfire and also involved art exhibitions and music.

Proceeds from the book were donated to the local fire brigade and Carers for Wildlife Tasmania Inc. The Regener8 project was featured in a paper written by Dr McManamey and presented at conferences both within Australia and internationally.

Jan was also the instigator behind the establishment of the Tasmanian Lymphoedema Centre (TLC) at St Marys. Tasmanians who suffer from lymphoedema previously had to travel to South Australia for treatment.

TLC was established in St Marys in 2000 after months of lobbying and fundraising to buy a $19 000 scanning laser. This is the only scanning laser in Tasmania. TLC has two full-time therapists and is run by a local committee of 12 volunteers headed by Jan. The TLC regularly conducts clinics, bringing in experts from around Australia.

Jan recently assisted with a fundraising event for the Victorian bushfire appeal. She is also involved in groups in the area promoting health and wellbeing, such as the Women Get Active program and Break O’Day Healthy Resource Association.

In recognition of her contribution to the community, Jan was awarded the Break O’Day Citizen of the Year in 2006.

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