Barbara Wagner, a Member of Southern Districts of Adelaide and Honorary Life Member of the Region of South Australia
Barbara joined the Southern Districts of Adelaide, in 1967, when Soroptimist International in Australia was still part of the Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. Barbara promptly became Minute Secretary and then Secretary from 1968 – 1970 of the Divisional Union of SA (now known as the Region of SA).. This was during a period of great change in the Soroptimist movement. She became President of the Club in 1974 and again in 1981 and later was the President of the Divisional Union (now Region). Barbara exemplified leadership in both her professional and volunteering life
As the Club’s Friendship Convenor for many years, Barbara kept in contact with Clubs in the Southampton, Scarborough, Epsom, Suffolk and Gottenburg (Sweden). Barbara was a Councillor on the Council of the South West Pacific involved in the formation of the new Federation of the South West Pacific. Her role was as Convenor of the Finance Committee from 1973 – 1978 in the formation of this new Federation. This position included working with Budgets and providing information to prove to the Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, that the Council of the South West Pacific was ready to form its own Federation and would be able to manage financially.
In 1990 Barbara was made an Honorary Life Member of the Region in recognition of her contributions to the Federation of the South West Pacific.
Barbara enjoyed attending Conferences including New Zealand and also in Singapore where she attended their Charter meeting with another of our members, Joyce Richardson. Conferences were also attended interstate including Melbourne and Brisbane. From attending these conferences Barbara especially enjoyed meeting members from other clubs and established life long friendships as a result.
Throughout her many years as a Soroptimist Barbara has compiled two very large books of the history of this Club and in many cases, the history of the Region with photographs, memorabilia and descriptions of events. This information has been especially useful in the researching of our own Club’s history. The books have also provided information on early functions with photographs of Soroptimist members internationally, nationally as well as many from our own Region of South Australia.
Barbara initially attended Adelaide University and studied Commerce. She then held various positions including Company Secretary, followed by Chief Executive and Export Manager of a large export Meat Company – outstanding positions for a woman to hold in those years. Her expertise in these positions certainly meant she was much suited to her role in the formation of the Federation of the South West Pacific.
Now Barbara is in her 54th year as a club member and at 95 years of age has been unable to attend meetings for sometime. For so many years Barbara has been an active and a generous supporter and she still maintains a keen interest in the activities of the Club. The members of the Southern Districts of Adelaide congratulate and recognise the contribution that Barbara has made to our club and to Soroptimism.
Information and story authored by Barbara Francis