I joined Melbourne Uni’s Women’s Liberation group in the early 1970s and later Melbourne’s lesbian groups. As well as being involved in political events and campaigns, I also loved the feminist lesbian social scene – the dances, parties and theatre events.
On a break from university in the mid-70s, I worked in the vehicle building industry, becoming a shop steward in the Vehicle Builders Union, a position which taught me a lot about the ability of a united union membership to effect positive change for its members. I have remained an active union member throughout my working life.
I returned to university in the late 70s to do a teaching degree. I then worked as a secondary teacher for more than thirty years, firstly as a humanities teacher and then, after retraining in Industrial Arts, a Design and Technology teacher. In between teaching jobs in Victoria and New South Wales, I also worked in youth refuges, women’s refuges, aged care and disability services. I currently work for the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate more and more the achievements of the Matrix Committee and the Matrix membership in advocating for older lesbians, especially in the areas of health and affordable housing. I also appreciate the social events Matrix organises. I have really enjoyed activities such as the recent film festival, the current dance classes and the dances which, until a few years ago, seemed to have completely disappeared from the scene. I look forward to being more involved in the range of activities that Matrix hosts in support of our community. – Lyndel.
Liz Smith – Secretary
Liz Smith has been a radical lesbian feminist activism for over twenty five years. She believes lesbians have a unique perspective and culture that needs protecting. She joined the Matrix Guild Committee to help organise club events. She brings creativity and planning skills to the committee.
Pat Mitchell – Treasurer
Pat was formerly a website designer and computer support staff member at La Trobe University IT Division and earlier in the Finance Division as an accountant, following many years of accounting in the private sector. Pat has been hearing-impaired for most of her life and in 2014 received her first cochlear implant. Pat has now received a second implant (bionic ear) in February 2016.
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Chris Sitka – General Committee member
Chris Sitka has been a lesbian feminist activist since the early 1970s when she simultaneously joined Gay Liberation and Women’s Liberation. As a member of numerous groups fighting for lesbian rights over the decades she has built up deep knowledge and understanding of the struggles and discriminations lesbians of her generation faced, and continue to suffer from. She joined Matrix to continue advocating for the interests of older lesbians. She has been a prolific writer and spoken at numerous conferences, forums, workshops and consultations on lesbian issues.
Robin Gregory – General Committee Member
Robin has been a lesbian feminist since the early 80’s and has been an activist in many areas including initiating the first Lesbian Festival in Melbourne in 1990. She has worked as a social worker, counsellor and manager in areas of family violence and aged services. Robin now works at Women’s Health In the North in a communications role. Robin is also passionate about writing and is working on her second crime novel featuring a lesbian Private Investigator.
Loretta Smith – General Committee Member
Loretta Smith has been a member of the Matrix committee since 2018. As a woman with a physical disability she is particularly sensitive to the needs of older lesbians dealing with the myriad of physical and mental needs of older women with disabilities and the physical/mental changes we may be challenged with as we age. Her working background has included managing programs for people with disabilities, case managing packages of care for aged clients in the community and supporting voluntary carers of people who are aged, have a disability or mental illness. She is also advocates for wildlife and the environment in her spare time.
Loretta has recently embarked on a new ‘career’ in writing, having her first commercial book, ‘A Spanner in the Works: The extraordinary story of Alice Anderson and Australia’s first all-girl garage’ published in March 2019.
Penny Anggo – General Committee Member
I have been a feminist from a young age, but not a radical lesbian feminist until I was a lot older. It wasn’t until I understood that the frustration and sense of injustice I felt as a child was not about me personally, but about being born female in this world that my radical lesbian feminism evolved. I hope that as a new Matrix committee member I will be able to contribute to strengthening the powerful voice for older Lesbians. This photo of me, which I suggested as a backdrop because it speaks to my radical lesbian feminist politics, was taken by Liz (Matrix Secretary) in the meeting room at Women’s Health in the North (WHIN).
Michelle Intveld – General Committee member
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