Coleen Clare – Chair
When people ask me when I became a feminist I answer at about the age of 4! I grew up in a very sexist home, schools, and local environment. From this very young age I knew it was wrong that I had to wait on my two brothers and my father, that I could not ride my bike outside the gate but they could, that they could eat ice cream to ‘build muscle’ but I couldn’t because I would get ‘fat’! Etc.! Etc.! It was the same at my school – so nothing else for it – I became a rebel known for my ability, still in evidence today, to ‘talk-back’! It was many decades later before I knew this was the roots of the radical feminism I cherish today.
I have devoted a large portion of my life to bringing up four children with feminist values, and now work to similarly influence my 10 grand-children, and 3 great-grand-children. At the same time I was a member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby in Canberra, and later and currently in Matrix Guild in Victoria.
My career has been devoted to the welfare of girls, women and their families. I have been a teacher, psychologist, community leader, advocate, CEO and manager; working for decades in child development, stopping violence against women, work and family balance, adoption support services, foster care and residential services, and within the disability sector. Currently I volunteer for the Office of the Public Advocate in mental health facilities.
I have worked in New Zealand, Western Samoa, Australia and the Maldives. I have worked with Aboriginal colleagues and families and I deeply respect Aboriginal sovereignty and have a strong commitment to First Nation’s peoples and all diverse cultures and lifestyles.I became a lesbian in 1980 and have worked for radical feminist lesbian causes for 40 years now. It is an honour to continue this work with my colleagues and members in Matrix Guild
Mobile: 0411 696 601
Lyndel Robinson – Deputy Chair
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.
Mobile: 0410 026 214
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.
Mobile: 0421 236 895
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.
Mobile: 0409 901 043
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
Charmaine S. – General Committee member
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