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Bowls In Focus : August September 2009
Maureen Tunes In To Top Job A t the recent VLBA Annual General Meeting at the Hawthorn Town Hall, renowned songstress Maureen Connolly from the Beaumaris Bowls Club commenced events by leading the assembly through a rousing rendition of our national anthem, while an hour or so later, she officially closed proceedings as the newly installed state president. It was a whirlwind occasion for the popular retired school principal, and mirrors her ascension through the ranks to the state’s top job. Maureen’s rise from election to state council in 2003, to the presidency just six years later, is the most rapid in VLBA history. But it would come as no surprise to those who know her well. When she first joined Beaumaris in 1992, she was roped into the assistant secretary’s job in her first season. However, bowls administration was clearly in her blood - Maureen’s mother Marie Toyne had been an outstanding secretary at the Black Rock club for a decade - as she then went on to comfortably manage six years as secretary, followed by two-year terms as vice president, president and chairman of the board. It is interesting that Maureen’s first choice of club was actually Mentone, however, as she chuckles; “They already had a Maureen Connolly, and I didn’t fancy being the ‘other me’, so I settled on Beaumaris because I was really impressed with the club’s facilities.” Further terms were served as vice president and president of Group 19 ‘Bayside Beaches’ before Maureen’s contemporaries sent her off to head office, where, as state councillor, • Outgoing president Joan Adams officially installs her successor Maureen Connolly to the state presidency. she has occupied no fewer than nine different portfolios and chaired the state selection, Saturday competition, greens, juniors and Bowls Australia events committees. Obviously her capabilities and energy did not go unnoticed, as Maureen’s council colleagues elected her to the position of metropolitan vice president after just two seasons, while one of her most important roles in recent times has been serving on the Joint Working Party involved in the proposed unification process. Ironically - considering Maureen’s express ride to the presidency - should the state’s clubs vote to unify the two associations in December, her reign as the VLBA’s No.1 member will actually become the shortest in history. Widely admired for her intellect, charm and good humour, our newest state president has lived in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs all of her life. She matriculated from Kilbreda College, Mentone in 1952, where she was sports captain of Lourdes House. Along with the traditional subjects, she also studied piano and musical appreciation, passing with honours and was selected in the school’s highly successful choir, while at the same time maintaining a serious involvement in netball and softball. In 1956 she graduated from teacher’s college, the first step in a long and distinguished career devoted to child education. Maureen’s first posting was at Mentone’s St Bedes College; and she retired in 1994, completing her final assignment as Special Education Consultant at St Scholastica’s Primary School in Bennettswood - a reverse integration program with the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. Between those milestones she spent 10 years as a primary school principal and seven as a Special Education Consultant, working in the Eastern Zone. During this period she underwent further studies, passing a Graduate Diploma and Master of Educational Studies course, majoring in Special Education. Married in 1957 to John, her ‘wonderful husband and best friend’ of 43 years, the couple raised four children - sons Bruce, Adrian and Gregory, plus daughter Claire - from which there are nine grandchildren, of which the oldest recently turned 18. Seven of them play musical instruments in bands and school orchestras, no doubt encouraged by Maureen’s deeds as a seasoned choister. Among her achievements are e years with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir, six years in the Ashton Smith Singers of Australia, and seven years of performing with the Cranbourne Choir. However, it is the four glittering ears Maureen spent performing with the Carols By Candlelight Choir at the Myer Music Bowl that stand as the beacon of her musical life. Memories of being on stage and ubbing shoulders with great stars such as Rhonda Burchmore, Marina ior, Troy Cassar-Daley and David Campbell rank as the fondest for this ell-travelled songbird. Now folks, to this point our profile of Maureen Connolly could be measured as a chronology of conservative bliss, but there’s a darker side to this allegedly wholesome life. Fact is, the 32nd president of the VLBA is an unmitigated thrillseeker! Amongst her many daring exploits, which includes a icy trek across a Canadian glacier at Banff; a parasailing adventure on the South China Sea at Penang; and a cracked rib sustained while riding a New Zealand white water Jet Boat at Queenstown; is the knowledge that she not only climbed Ayers Rock, but that she then proceeded to circumnavigate it, on a Harley Davidson chopper! Thankfully, the only death-defying stunt on her current ‘wish list’ is the more genteel persuasion of hot air ballooning, which she plans to do when next spring rolls around. But don’t fall for the misconception that our new First Lady might be going soft. She’s been a North Melbourne supporter for 62 years and has no qualms about naming Glenn Archer as her favourite player. And he was the toughest ‘Shinboner’ of them all! You can be sure that if Maureen Connolly carries the same courage and commitment as her football hero into her new role at the VLBA, she’ll be remembered as another in a long line of outstanding leaders. - David Allen DON’T MISS THE 2009 MELBOURNE LEISUREFEST NOW INCLUDES 4 X 4 VEHICLES, BOATS AND FISHING SANDOWN RACECOURSE 1ST TO 4TH OCTOBER 2009 GO TO melbourneleisurefest.com.au FOR DETAILS PLAY IT SAFE HAVE YOUR RV SERVICED BY EXPERTS You have your car checked and serviced before you go on holiday but what about your Caravan, Motorhome or Camper Trailer? Caravan Trade & Industries Association of Victoria Approved Members specialise in caring for all types of recreational vehicles. For complete peace of mind and expert advice on servicing, repairs and towing, deal with the experts displaying this sign. For your nearest Caravan Trade & Industries of Victoria ‘Approved Members’ call (03) 9329 5311 or visit www.ciavic.com.au An initiative of the Caravan Trade & Industries Association of Victoria. Proudly promoting the enjoyment of leisure & recreational vehicles. 12 Bowls In Focus WE/CI8051