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Jessie Sheila Luckman

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Luckman, Jessie Sheila OAM

Awarded for service to the Environment, service to the Arts

Born: 7 May 1910 Died: May 2014

Entered on roll: 2011

Jessie Luckman was born in Sydney in 1910 and moved to Tasmania when she was four years old. Jessie's love of music was nurtured from an early age by family sing-a-longs around the piano. She became an exemplary pianist and cellist and went on to play with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Radio transmission began in Hobart in the 1920s, and from a very young age, Jessie performed piano pieces for radio. By the 1930s, she was employed by the ABC as a concert pianist. During World War II, Jessie became a member of the Education Unit of the Australian Women's Army Service, making long trips to remote army camps to play piano for the troops.

She joined the Hobart Walking Club in 1936, became President of the Club in 1952 and was made an Honorary Life Member in 1963. She also served on numerous committees. Jessie, and later her husband Leo Luckman, regularly embarked on long expeditions to rugged and uncharted parts of Tasmania. 

Her love of the natural world led Jessie to become one of Tasmania's first conservationists. She was a key protestor against a Bill to separate part of the Mt Field National Park for the forest industry in the 1940s. She was outspoken over the proposed recommencement of the Macquarie Island sealing industry. She became a foundation member of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust, supporting the protection of South-West Tasmania during the dams struggle from 1963 to 1983.

Jessie Luckman was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1997 for her service to the community and to music as a performer and broadcaster.

On 7 May 2010, Jessie celebrated her 100th birthday at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery where she was recognised as an early and staunch supporter of the Museum.

Jessie died in May 2014, a week after turning 104. 

(Thanks to the Tasmanian Conservation Trust for the use of information in their Newsletter No. 320, printed August 2010, Jessie Luckman, Conservationist - 100 years young by Bruce Davis)

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