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Honouring Members

At a Special General Meeting on 19 June 2021, the Society awarded Life Membership to 1 double membership and 2 individual members who have each been continuously involved with the Society since its inception in 1992.
Molly Smith, Thomas and Elizabeth Gerner
Molly Smith, Thomas and Elizabeth Gerner
with their life membership award certificates

Elizabeth and Thomas Gerner

Elizabeth and Thomas came to Walpole as newly weds in 1969: with great interest in the land and the history of the district.

Elizabeth and Thomas have been double members since the Society’s beginning in 1992 (29 years). Even though they lived in New Zealand for a period from 2003, they continued their interest and membership from that distance. At the Annual General Meeting on 14 July 2003: President Lee Fernie in her President’s Report recorded: “we were very sad to see the departure of Thomas and Elizabeth Gerner to New Zealand. They have both been real supporters of the Society.”

Fortunately, they maintained their interest and contact and returned to Walpole late 2006.


Elizabeth is a Foundation Member of the Society and was an elected committee member for 11 years from 1992 to 2003, including 18 months as Honorary Treasurer 2001-2003.

At that time Elizabeth was the Walpole Librarian and a crusader for a place for history in our community. She was active in the Walpole Collocation Steering Committee which in 2002 was planning a new home for the Historical Society, Telecentre and the Library and an upgrade to the Community Hall. Her appointment as Librarian and a Society Committee member placed her in a key position and she was a determined advocate for the Society. Elizabeth was a strong supporter of “hour for history” meetings which had a focus on local history.

 Looking Back With Molly article: 200th Library.


Thomas has, over many years, frequently expressed interest in and contributed to the advancement of local history in our community and he was an enduring supporter of the emerging Society within the district. Thomas has regularly attended and contributed to all the Society’s General Meetings , contributed to “Hour for History” meetings and to the Society’s collection of memorabilia.

Presenting the award the Society said: Elizabeth and Thomas are torchbearers of history and the Society is proud to extend to them the honour of Life Membership.

Mollie Smith

Molly Smith  received Award from President Elizabeth Shaw
Society President Elizabeth Shaw presents
Award certificate to Life Member Molly Smith

Molly has widely written about coming to the district as a young bride in 1954.

She has always been active in the community and took up the role of Albany Advertiser correspondent for Walpole and districts. In this and other positions she is a strong, competent and respected recorder of local history. Her writings are abundant including in the Society’s collections and website. Molly has been a member involved with (and for) the Society continuously since its beginnings in 1992. Molly presented many historical society sessions including “Hour For History” and made many community public speaking presentations engaging the community in its history. She was a Guest Speaker at the Society’s Annual General Meeting in 2014 speaking on her life as an early bride in the Hazelvale and Bow Bridge area; on behalf of the Society she presented at the 2015 Walpole 15 Minute Wonders presentation, “And in the Beginning …”. She was actively involved in the 85th anniversary celebration 2015.There are many inscriptions around the district that have been written by Molly including alongside Tony Windberg sculpture “Cream Truck” on the main road; created for the Shire of Manjimup: 100 years of people, settlements, industry and life (2008). For more than 6 years Molly was a regular correspondent to the Walpole Weekly contributing engaging articles on local history 2014-2021.  Looking Back with Molly articles.

Presenting the award the Society said: Molly is a respected and reliable historian and the Society is proud to extend to her the honour of Life Membership.

Mavis Winfield

Mavis Winfield 2004
Mavis Winfield Walpole 2004 (Life Member 2021)

Mavis is one of the Society’s foundation members and has maintained her membership continuously.

Mavis came to Walpole in 1988 and took up a job share position as the registered nurse with Silver Chain. Her approach to this position and as a citizen had a strong community development element.

Mavis was a great assistance to the Society in its emerging years including the Back to Walpole ANZAC Weekend in 1993 (that included a Society display of photo acquisitions) and other commemorative events.

At the Annual General Meeting on 6 July 1995 there was a special vote of thanks to Mavis for housing historical items belonging to the Society. Subsequently these Items that had gathered in Mavis’s garage were moved to a garage used by the Muir family. The Society has a long history of advocating for a physical place for history’s memorabilia and values Mavis’s role in this right at the outset of the Society. Mavis has made treasured contributions to the collection.

In 2002 Mavis, on behalf of the Walpole Nornalup and District Community Development Group Inc, wrote a submission to the Federal Government “Can Do Awards” nominating the Swarbrick Jetty Reconstruction Project with a “working together” theme. This was typical of Mavis’s community development focus; a focus she brought with her to the Society in her foundation and continuous membership.

  tap here to download a copy of the Can Do: Swarbrick Jetty reconstruction (submitted by Mavis Winfield).

Mavis was not able to attend the meeting to receive the Award certificate personally and it will be presented to her later.

In announcing the Award the Society said: Mavis is a “can-do” inspiration and the Society is proud to extend to her the honour of Life Membership.
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  •   Last revision: 7 February 2023