It was such a pleasure to witness Lesley Falloon OAM receive a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at our first Bayside Women’s Soirèe.
The Federal Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson MP handed the award (generously sponsored by Firbank Grammar) to the vivacious 97-year-old.
Engaging Women is passionate about giving mature women such as Lesley a platform to share their story.
Martine Harte: Lesley, you were one of the first women to attend Melbourne University’s Women’s College, now the co-educational University College. You majored in microbiology and biochemistry, not medicine like your dad?
Lesley Falloon OAM: I was terribly myopic, short-sighted and my father told me my eyes wouldn’t last the distance. I think he suspected also that I had a rather frivolous streak!
What was your first job?
The war was on by the time I graduated and I was just finishing a course in Dietetics cause I thought I should have three strings to my bow. I knew that I would marry so I knew I had a limited time to work.
When the war finished all of us graduates we were asked not to take jobs because it would affect the men.
How long were you active on the local council as councillor and Mayor?
Lesley Falloon OAM: For thirteen years, only because I don’t believe in staying too long.
I couldn’t get anyone to replace me. I believe it’s a good idea, to go in, do your best and move on to give someone else a chance.
You would encourage other women to go into local politics?
Oh less, absolutely, we had a lot to do with getting women onto local committees.
Lesley, what do you describe as your greatest achievements?
Lesley Falloon OAM: Oh I think my children.
Professionally, I suppose my greatest achievement is I’ve been very lucky I’m able to persuade people to do things.
I had a job going around Australia to take part in our particular experiment, it involved a week of weighing food and all this sort of thing, i was very successful in that.
I was able to get 100% in asking people to co-operate.
How old are you now?
Lesley Falloon OAM: 97! (laughs)
Everyone roars to with laughter.
It really is rather fun to be 97.
I still live at home, I can do what I like, I stay upon til 3.30am watching the Olympics.
I’m rather relived they are finished as I’m eternally tired! (laughs!)
I have just noticed that suddenly when I enter a room with a stick, I’m suddenly invisible. And you know, I’m not used to being invisible and I can make myself visible.
I feel really sorry for the people who are pushed into invisibility.
Do you think we can achieve ‘Press for Progress’ within our own sphere of influence?
Lesley Falloon OAM: Oh absolutely.
We do it by example. Some people don’t have the encouragement, that’s what your platform will do.
Lesley Falloon OAM: What do you say to those who believe it’s all over for women at 50?
Leslie Falloon OAM: I’ve never been without power? I was brought up that I was equal, my brother and I were equal, if anything I was better off.
I did the washing up, he had to clean the shoes, and I think I had the better deal.
I was always told by my father in particular, the world was my oyster it was up to me whatever I wanted to do.
Congratulations Lesley Falloon on your Lifetime Achievement Award.