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Helen Stuchberry (1930 – 2011)

Helen Stuchberry circa 1960s

It was an interview with a vocational guidance counselor while she was employed at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories that first roused Helen’s interest in a social work career. Taking up this suggestion, in 1953 she completed her four-year Arts degree and Diploma of Social Studies at The University of Melbourne, and joined the Commonwealth Department of Social Security, at that time led by Miss Lyra Taylor.

In 1959 when her first child was born, Helen left the Department and worked voluntarily as the Secretary of the Victorian Branch of the AASW for three years before becoming Federal Secretary of the national body in 1962. From 1963 she also worked in an on-call casual basis in the newly established Sandringham and District Memorial Hospital, moving to a permanent part-time 10 hours per week position in 1965, where her responsibilities included work with new single mothers in the era before the introduction of single mothers’ benefits.

In 1969 she took a second part-time position with the council of the City of Sandringham, where she lived. Helen saw her position with the Council primarily as one of community development. Her work at the Council ranged from the provision of individual casework services which gave her insight into the types of services that might be needed, to the development of programs and facilities, community education, community health, recreation and the arts.

She continued working in both part-time positions until 1989, when she retired from the hospital to take up a full-time managerial position with the Council. She still held this position at the time of the interview in August 1996.

Transcript of Interview

Transcript

Audio of Interview

Audio File

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