Farewell to Rye ‘stalwart’


ONE of Rye’s most dynamic citizens was farewelled at a memorial service attended by 250-300 family and friends at three sites, Tuesday 19 January.

The service was held at St Andrews Anglican Church, and live-streamed into the church hall, as well as to Rye Primary School hall across the road. Another 80 people viewed the service online from home.

There was much to celebrate in the life of Pauline Powell OAM, pictured, who was described by well-wishers as a “stalwart of the community”.

Ms Powell, who died aged 88, was born at Murrumbeena in 1933. She trained as a pharmacist and, in 1958 aged 25, moved to Rye to become the town’s pharmacist – a role in which she thrived until retirement in 1994.

Within a year of arriving on the Mornington Peninsula, she began what was to become a lifetime of community service by starting the Rye Preschool and Infant Welfare Centre, serving as president, secretary, treasurer and trustee.

A procedural motion in tonight’s (9 February) Mornington Peninsula Shire Council agenda lauds Ms Powell’s services to the community: “It is no exaggeration to say the list of organisations and community projects Pauline was involved in is too long to read out.”

Her lifelong interest in history and heritage led her to become founding president of the Rye Historical Society, whose members last week said they “acknowledge and honour Pauline’s lifetime of service and extend our warmest thoughts and condolences to her family”.

She spent many years on the Shire of Flinders Heritage Week Committee and chaired the Rye-Tootgarook area committee for Victoria’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

She was also a founding member of the Rye Tennis Club and, during the 1960s, was ladies singles champion five years in a row.

She had a long association with the Portsea Golf Club, beginning in 1962. She served in several roles and, in 2001, co-authored a book on the club’s history.

In 1977, Ms Powell became founding president of the Rye Lioness Club and during the 1980s and early 90s was active in the Rye Chamber of Commerce, initiating the Rye Week Festival and Flag Design Competition.

Her life of service includes volunteer roles with Peninsula Health, Rye Community Group Alliance and Rye Primary School.

In 2005 Ms Powell was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to the community of Rye.

The council thanked her for her leadership, hard work, selflessness and commitment to our community, acknowledging it owed her a debt of gratitude.

“She helped make Rye the thriving community it is today and will be greatly missed.”

The council extended its condolences to children Janice, Andrew and Margie and grandchildren Jarrod, Vicki and Callum.

Daughter Margie said her mum “loved being involved in things”.

“She was a quiet and humble person. She said she only did what she could because she enjoyed it.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 9 February 2021


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