Inspiring Women of Moyne

On March 8th 2021, Council celebrated International Women’s Day – an opportunity to help create a more inclusive environment for women in our region and showcase the important contribution women make in the local community.

Council would like to congratulate all nominees in its inaugural ‘Inspiring Women of Moyne’ awards!

We received an overwhelming number of nominations. You can read the shortlisted nomination stories below.

Julie Houlihan

Julie is an inspiration as she has dedicated her life to helping others and creating a better community for Moyne residents. She is a tireless volunteer who puts her hand up to help whenever and wherever needed. She's not afraid to jump in and get the job done, as evidenced by her work each year organising the Koroit Agricultural Show and Koroit Truck Show. She also is a creative thinker - a current project she is working on is designed to help local businesses bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the shire's retail, hospitality and tourism economy. Her idea is to create an art trail across the shire, with the aim being that tourists and locals can visit local businesses to see murals by local artists and visit some of the region's best places for a meal or a drink


Martina Murrihy

Martina volunteers an enormous amount of time & energy for a number of Port Fairy causes including Belfast Pool, Surf Life Saving Club and Nippers, Port Fairy Football Club, Women in Farming, St Joseph’s Catholic Church, as well as working in her Design & Drafting business and busy grandmother duties.  Martina is very inclusive in her social activities and inspiring for women of all ages. 

Martina is involved in so many activities in Moyne – Aqua @ Belfast Aquatics, Seaside Singers, Football, Church etc. She is always positive, always encouraging and always welcoming to new people. She has a big family but always has time for others and gives 150 per cent to everything she does. To me she exemplifies the spirit of Moyne- hardworking,  no nonsense, caring,  kind and fun to be around.


Martina is amazing. Martina was one of the first people I met in Port Fairy and she was so welcoming and friendly, Martina is very inclusive and welcomes everyone in her water aerobic class. Her involvement list in her local community includes water aerobics, football club, surf club, meals on wheels, church reading, the list goes on. She is a legend!

Martina inspire's me because of her love and dedication to Port Fairy and the community. Martina has played a huge part in many organisations in the town - Belfast Acquatics, The Football Netball Club, Meals on Wheels, Port Fairy Surf Club and probably many other groups as well as running her own business. I count myself very fortunate to have met Martina when we first moved to the area in 2007 when I joined the Water Aerobics group. She has always been very welcoming and caring and her continued success with her classes are testament to her ability to include and motivate all, along with introducing new comers to the locals and encouraging them to join in the various activities on offer in the community.


Martina is considerate of others. She is inclusive, welcoming, very involved in the community as she volunteers for many organisations, always considerate of those who need assistance and is prepared to generate this assistance when she sees a need. Martina is Port Fairy at its best and is an integral part of the Moyne Shire.

Community involvement. Martina is everywhere! She is the first person to put her hand up to help out, volunteering for numerous community groups. To name a few...She is a volunteer lifeguard with the surf club, giving up her summer days to patrol the beach and keep us safe. As well as selling and coordinating sales of the ‘ducks’ for the New Year’s Day race. She makes the sandwiches every Saturday morning for the football club canteen, along with organising the footy afternoon tea, photographing all teams AND cooking the Thursday night after training dinner for hundreds of players and members. She makes hundreds of sandwiches for the Belfast aquatics stall at the folk festival and much more! So generous with her time. Very inspiring!

Carly Jordan

A truly beautiful leader. Committed to making our community a better place for all. Carly is the project lead for the Great South Coast Economic Migration Project, assisting migrant families to relocate to our region. Carly is professional, approachable, kind and passionate. She is a brilliant mother, friend and community member and she inspires me to be a better person! I am grateful to know her and to share in her presence!

Tracey Wilson

We, the residents of the shire have come to expect that if we see wildlife injured or in distress we can call someone whose responsibility it is to respond. These carers are all unpaid volunteers who devote their time, fuel, feed and medical supplies mostly at their own expense. Tracey's 'Mosswood Wildlife' in Officers Lane, Koroit is the main local wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center which responds to wildlife emergencies of multiple species of birds and animals for the Moyne Shire and well beyond - from the SA border to the Stony Rises. Mosswood’s koala care program is nationally acclaimed and its seabird care facility is acknowledged by wildlife experts as world standard. Tracey and her whole family’s 14 year commitment began with the Framlingham bushfires in 2007. Although she is well known and respected in all national animal welfare circles, she pretty well flies under the radar locally. She is far too busy for PR or visitors. Her life is completely focused on the rescue and care of wildlife throughout Moyne Shire and beyond.

Janette O'Keefe

Has an outstanding commitment to local communities and drives community activity. Janette is a quiet achiever. She takes leadership roles, achieves outcomes, learns new skills, shares her knowledge freely and looks for continuous improvement in her farm and landcare practices. Jannette’s community involvement is substantial. She is a long-standing SW CWA member holding numerous positions including: 2012 Henty group President, 2015 - 2016 Victorian Membership Committee Chair, 2017-2018 State treasurer and 2018-2019 Sate Vice President. She is an accredited show judge including the 2020 virtual show. I think she is CWA Hawksdale member. She has recently re-established local farmers links to the Basalt to Bay Landcare Network and is working towards quantifying water quality improvements from revegetated waterways to help attract support to fence more areas


Adele McDonald

Adele throws herself into the Koroit and district community – being president of the Irish Festival committee – her efforts spread far and wide.

Alexandra Richardson

Ally is an inspiring person both in her profession and as a person. Her drive to give back to a small town and community such as Port Fairy whilst also juggling commitments of her own small business, now on a much larger scale. Nothing is ever too hard for Ally with her can-do positive attitude. She is inspiring to other women who look to be successful in the workplace whilst giving back to their community.

Amy Armstrong

Amy has taken a difficult problem and found a way to make a positive change whilst inspiring other young women to do the same. Her information is rigorously researched before she informs her followers. The change she has created for herself and her family is life changing and she is inspiring others to do the same.

She manages the Port Fairy Winter Weekends committee which brings hundreds of visitors to Port Fairy during winter and tens of thousands of dollars into our economy. Amy also is inspiring women all over Australia to quit drinking on her program 'Dry But Wet'. She does this via Instagram and has been contacted by women who want to quit from all over Australia. And then there is her family; Amy is the best mum and wife anyone could hope for. She does more for her family than is needed while putting 100% into her volunteer work. 

Amy has gone nearly 10 months alcohol free. Amy has been encouraging local businesses to supply quality alcohol free drinks for the non drinker. Amy has also done an amazing job working on the Port Fairy Winter Weekends committee.

Very community minded.


Anne Mirtschin

She has encouraged and supported many young students in her role as teacher at Hawkesdale College. Assisted and mentored children in Young Achiever Australia. Involved with Landcare. Contributes and supports the many projects over many years through HADDAC. Is the organist for Hawkesdale Lutheran Church.

Carol Gilmour

Carol Gilmour inspires me as she has built a successful Etsy business from scratch, teaching herself how to make the most beautiful rope bowls and other products.

Carol MacDonald

Carol has served in the Moyne shire on the Community House and was instrumental in starting the very popular Women’s Weekends. During the last 7 or so years, Carol began 15 Minutes of Fame at Crossley, which has discovered and fostered many young musicians in the area, but has also enabled any person who wants to perform in a caring environment, to fulfil that ambition. The talent unearthed has been outstanding and all the while helping St. Brigid’s to buy back the church built by the community at the turn of the century

I could agree more. Carol MacDonald is amazing woman. She has done so much for the Community House, especially the Women’s Weekends away in August. And a very kind lady. I would like to Nominate Carol MacDonald.

We would like to nominate Carol McDonald as an inspiring Woman of Moyne for her outstanding contribution to music and entertainment in the Moyne Shire over the last 8 years. In 2013 Carol inspected the Crossley Hall and Church precinct and stated she had a vision to start a program of musical entertainment in Moyne Shire, called 15 Minutes of Fame. Carol knew Crossley was the ideal venue for it, because of the size of the Hall, and the fact it had a Stage, a Supper room, and a former Church Building with great acoustics. Carol stated it would establish Crossley as the music and entertainment venue in the South West

Claudia Warne

Claudia inspired me by being a caring, understanding teacher at south-west TAFE as I had her last year during CV 19 to which I had bad internet service at home but once South West TAFE could have students back on campus. Claudia was there to inspire me saying I could get my heap of outstanding work done by the due date and was only back at swtafe from the start of the last term of the year. I was doing a diploma it was hard not having good internet service, but it was good to be inspired by a teacher that understood and yes, I did get finished and passed for my diploma. Thanks to Claudia that inspired me all the way.

Colleen Guiney

Colleen Guiney is such a gifted artist. Her ability to make beautiful things is an inspiration for anyone who wants to earn a living from their art.

Very talented

Courtney Smith

Courtney inspires me with her energy, drive, enthusiasm and love for this region. She’s a single mum who holds down a job, freelances, moonlights as an undercover textile artist, volunteers to do PR for the Winter Weekends festival and has business ideas on the go. She’s a supportive friend who makes you want to strive for your best. She is a YES girl, a go getter and super supportive of all the women around her. She certainly deserves to win a wonderful prize. Love this initiative.

Courtney is an inspiration to all single mums and women in general. Courtney holds down three very demanding jobs, is involved in the running of Winter Weekends and looks after her young daughter and has one of the most fun houses to visit as she has children there to play all the time and they love her creative fun. A very hard working community minded young mother who helps a lot of people. Courtney is a very talented woman and a huge inspiration in my life.

Danielle Stearman

Danielle isn’t just hard working with her own business but she is also dedicated in spending all her time mentoring, helping and lifting other women up. She connects women together and offers her support, she is a shoulder to cry on even to complete strangers, she goes above and beyond to help all people and has raised and donated houses of dollars and gifts to people in need.  She has a heart of gold and is an amazing mum, amazing sister and someone who a lot of women look up to and admire.

Di Clanchy

Di is firstly a great friend. She is always willing to learn and try something new. She freely shares her experiences and inspires others to try new things and visit new places. She takes beautiful photos of the simplest things in her surroundings that give her joy and shares the pleasure with others. She is always willing to lend a hand and get involved in the community.

Genevieve Grant

Gen inspires me with her absolute commitment to helping our community be better. She is the very definition of a great citizen and is a real asset to Moyne. Her commitment to Moyne has been demonstrated in a variety of ways. She raised her family here and has been such a great proponent of the lifestyle that her 2 sisters have also moved to Moyne recently! She has and is still an active participant in local committees that have ranged from Kindergarten Committees to the scrapping of plastic bags from the local supermarket, to the Committee for the Railway Goods Sheds, the CWA and the South West Energy Group

Hannah Morris

Hannah is an inspiration to me because she gives so much back to her community. She is heavily involved with the Kirkstall CFA, and is also the deputy controller of the Port Fairy SES. She volunteers so much of her time along with having her full time job at Farmgate Stockfeeds as an animal nutritionist. Because of her motivation and involvement within her community she has inspired me to also be a part of the Kirkstall CFA.

Heather Erwin

Heather is a mother of three (now adult aged) children, has spent years on countless community committees including the parents group at St Colman's Mortlake, the Buskers Festival committee and has always worked behind the scenes with sporting and community groups her children have been involved with over the years. She is also a volunteer with the Woorndoo Mortlake FNC where she works hard throughout the football season as a trainer; providing invaluable support for players with strapping, massage, before and after game treatment (having been a nurse in her earlier years). She is also the first to raise her hand if friends need assistance or if any jobs need to be done around the club. she is very much a hard working "behind the scenes" volunteer who will happily bake for cake stalls, cook a dish for a shared dinner, take part in working bees

Jo Canham

Jo has created a magic and welcoming space for those who love books, art, and cultural events in her bookstore, Blarney Books and Art.  She is most supportive of community engagement and mindful of inclusiveness.  She inspires me to read more, and annually the Biblio Art Prize brings a diverse and high standard of creative artistic works to our area.  Personally, I am inspired to respond creatively to the challenge of representing a book in an artistic form and entering the Bibilio Art prize each year – some years I get in, some I don't, but I always enjoy the artistic journey.

Jo Grant

She’s amazing

Jo O'Keefe

Very talented

Jo Moore

Her dedication to our community

Karen Ellen

Karen Ellen is so many things to so many people. Currently putting her creativity and passion into vocational education in the south-west.

Kate Finch

Kate inspires me on a daily basis as she constantly thrives within herself and always meets her goals that she sets to meet. She pushes people to reach their full potential, including myself and she always has a positive view on any situation that may cross her pathway. Kate is an amazing person and carries such compassion and kindness that she offers to all individuals within her life.

Kate Sloan

20 years of service in emergency nursing, recently adding palliative care to her list of many attributes!

Kimberley Parker

Kimberley Parker of Mortlake started the Mortlake Community Noticeboard on Facebook in February 2016.  It’s a place where “locals” can discuss matters, connect for friendships, find out what’s going on in the area, applaud great deeds done, chat about concerns, and learn about the area.  It’s been a lifeline for a lot of people particularly those housebound during COVID-19.  Kimberley has had to adjudicate at times when tempers have flared and she does so with good nature and aplomb. I can’t even imagine the amount of time she puts into the community noticeboard and whilst she has appointed a couple of moderators to assist, we all know that Kimberley is the admin and the captain steering the ship and the person we turn to.  I would love to applaud Kimberley for her huge and tireless efforts in bringing to the community an online safe gathering place.

Kirstyn Sessions

Kirstyn has owned and operated hospitality venues in Port Fairy for nearly 20 years. She has received national acclaim for her fine dining ventures (in partnership with her husband, Ryan) at The Merrijig Inn, Fen and now Fen Dinners at Drifthouse. All of the above have turned Port Fairy into a much desired foodie destination. To add to her accomplishments in fine dining, she is now the face of Randy's Burgers. While this venture might be a more casual style, her dedication and passion for hospitality and outstanding customer service is undeniable. As an employer it is clear to see her dedication to training and teaching her team to deliver outstanding (and incredibly welcoming) service something that is all to often overlooked in hospitality these days, but something that will bode well for the region as we always need well trained, passionate staff hospitality and tourism staff


Kym Piez

She’s fabulous.

Leah Oswin

Music Teacher, mentor, and confidant. Leah Oswin is a worthy candidate as many would attest to the change in confidence and self love through using the power of singing and music to children, teens and adults alike. Leah supports children and encourages them to be proud little people and instills a belief they can do anything. Leah is changing young people's lives. Thank you Leah for all you do in and out of your music room giving to students and to others in more ways than you will ever know. I nominate you.

Lou Hollis

With her commitment to the environment, to people with disabilities, the community.  Lou shows this, not just in advocacy, but in practical ways.  She is always seen cleaning up rubbish along Lake View Rd around Tower Hill.  She also has extensive knowledge.  She’s better than Siri if you have a question.

Marlene Lenehan

This lady inspires me as she is selfless and gives her time to others as she has all my life. Not only is she a mum to 6 and a grandmother to 18 but she gives to the community as well.  She makes sauces and pickles locally in Koroit as part of the Kirky Cooks, and sells them to raise money for South West Healthcare's Prostate cancer detector appeal. She started a petition to get the footpath upgraded in Black Street Koroit where a resident was unable to get around safely in her wheelchair. She is a member of many sporting clubs locally and is a life member of organisations such as the Port Fairy Agricultural Show and Tower Hill Football Club. She is also Community Engagement representative on a committee with the Port Fairy Hospital.  She is heavily involved with the Koroit Bowls club, being a player, on the committee and offering help and support wherever possible.

Mary Ewan

Mary Ewen for her love and nurturing of mums and bubs and her wonderful organisational skills and support to our Port Fairy Theatre Group. 

I totally second Mary Ewen who is not only a wonderful midwife who happily supports mums outside her role as a midwife but is also an amazing nurse at Moyne Health Services where she is valued as a caring and empathetic nurse and bright and bubbly co worker.

Mary is a co worker who always brings a smile and laugh to work.  She has an infectious personality. Not only is she a fantastic co worker and nurse she also was my support person with my first child.  Nothing is ever to much trouble.  She works full time but is always ready to help out in the community.  She is involved in the theatre group, has been involved in Community house.  Not only does Mary work at SWHC as a midwife but she also works as an independent midwife bringing babies into the world at home, in baths or whereever the parents want to have it, often using her annual leave so she is available. She is so cruisy and nothing is ever a problem. She does this never looking for an accolade, always quietly behind the scenes.

Meg Sonego

During lockdown Meg continued to support all her clients by running a zoom pilates class. This lovely young lady kept us not only fit but allowed us to stay connected. Managing her young family and all of us on a regular basis was a wonderful achievement.

Nicole Dwyer

Nicole’s commitment and dedication to the ongoing ‘Nippers’ program at the PF Surf Life Saving Club is above and beyond, advocating and delivering a program which is inclusive to ALL children of ALL genders and ALL abilities. A place for kids to learn, interact, have fun and feel safe. Nicole’s contribution to this program is inspirational and those involved are forever grateful for the opportunities she has provided for the kids in our community.

Oonagh Kilpatrick

Oonagh in the time I have known and worked with her puts in more than what is asked with task at hand. My personal connection with her has been in the Agri Advocacy domain and how this can be driven to benefit the South West local region. Her major concern has been with the lack of resources allocated to rural Victoria as compared to the contribution it makes to the economy. I believe Oonagh's with her qualifications and abilities to organize and communicate has great potential with leadership roles in the community and most certainly needs to be encouraged. Her latest efforts with advocating the promotion of 3 phase power for the region through United Dairy Farmers Victoria and GSCG FF including bringing workers into our region are examples. Also greatly unnoticed is her efforts with UDV during the St Patricks fire in initiating coordination needs for locals Gazette region.

Oonagh is definitely inspiring and deserving of such recognition.

Roslyn Smail

Roslyn Smail inspires me. She follows her dreams and visions for how she wants to live and makes it happen with her grit, intelligence and attention to detail. She is super creative and an amazing cook and maker. Ros is also a great friend who listens and supports others. Sustainabilty is part of everything she does. She's awesome.

Ruth Isbel

As the Executive Officer of Emma House Domestic Violence Services, Ruth has an unwavering commitment to reducing the impact of family violence on women, children and individuals in our community. Ruth does this with care, passion and an unwavering joyfulness that always inspires me.

Sarah-Jane Walsh

Sarah-Jane volunteers and gives her time freely to non-profits in the region that couldn't access her 20+ years of expertise and qualifications otherwise. She does this generously, despite her own business commitments and personal health challenges and issues. She is always smiling, engaging with the community - at yoga, business and community events.  She has provided and committed untold hours of work to support Food and Fibre Great South Coast to improve its governance and lift board members' capacity through skills training. Her commitment gives us a chance for a very positive future and creates new skills that will benefit people in their individual businesses and other directorships.

Sarah Jane is a leader in governance, a facilitator with the Australian Institute of Company Directors, as well as having her own governance business that is well respected Nationally.  She volunteers her time to non for profits (NFP) in the region that otherwise couldn't access this quality advice.

Susan Rowbottom

Susan is a strong farming woman, who has raised 4 boys and taken on many community roles. She is currently Secretary of the Woman on Farms Gathering 2021 in Port Fairy and has held committee positions on ASWGA Annual magazine committee, Port Fairy/Codrington Red Cross, St Helens Landcare group (one of the founding members), Broadwater School Play Group, Infant Welfare Orford, St Helens Primary School Council Mother Club and St Helens Primary School Junior Red Cross Leader (for 16 years).  She is also "Nightowl" the author of the Orford and District Table Tennis association media reports.

Terri Teble

Well, where do I start. She look after all her patients she go above and beyond. And a few of her clients and her crossing ladies job at Terang Primary School we live her bubble personality she just a beautiful person.