QUEANBEYAN is in mourning this week after news that respected community leader Hope Marland passed away on Tuesday morning, aged 91.
Outpourings of grief along with many fond memories of Mrs Marland's warm, giving nature and extensive community work have reached The Queanbeyan Age this week, with many senior members of the community expressing their high regard for her.
Close friend and former colleague on the Queanbeyan Council benches, Sue Jarvis, said Queanbeyan had lost "an icon who was admired and respected."
"I have lost a personal mentor and friend, someone I could always rely on to tell it straight," Mrs Jarvis said.
"Her intellect and vision for Queanbeyan and local government cannot be measured.
"She was an extraordinary woman, and they rarely come along in a community. You can count them on one hand."
Mrs Marland and her husband Ken- both chartered accountants- moved to Queanbeyan with their children Anthony and Jillian from Wagga Wagga in 1963 to take over an accountancy practice on Lowe Street, which became Marland Accounting.
She told The Queanbeyan Age in 2012 that there were still plenty of gender barriers facing professional women in those days, but said the Queanbeyan community was quick to accept her.
"At the time I became an accountant I was told I wouldn't get jobs because I was female, and even our partner in Wagga said that people wouldn't want to come to me because I was female," she said.
"But after my first couple of weeks in Queanbeyan I found that was so wrong. It made no difference to our clients. As long as you've got the information they want, they accepted me."
As qualified accountants, Hope and Ken were in demand as treasurers and committee members for a wide range of charities and community groups, a role that they both embraced.
Within two years of moving to Queanbeyan Mrs Marland was serving on the Council benches- only the second female alderman in Queanbeyan history- and held the position for 30 years, retiring in 1995.
She volunteered with numerous local community groups during her 50 years in Queanbeyan, including the Queanbeyan Hospital Auxiliary, Legacy, the Queanbeyan Children's Special Needs Association, the YMCA, Friendship Force, Rotary, the Scouts, the Good Neighbour Council, the Business and Professional Women's Club, the Australian Local Government Women's Association, and many more.
In 1984 she became the first female president of the NSW Local Government Association and in 1988 was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia Medal (AM).
She met the Queen in 1976 to receive a Membership of the Order of the British Empire Association, and in 2012 was one of 22 great Queanbeyan residents to be immortalised in the Crawford Street Honour Walk.
Perhaps her proudest achievement though was setting up and running the Karabar Cooperative Housing Association in 1988 to assist low-income families in the community to find housing. The organisation continues to this day, and has helped to house over 2000 people so far. Mrs Marland was involved with the group until her final days.
Queanbeyan Mayor Tim Overall said this week that Queanbeyan had lost an "inspiring" woman in Mrs Marland
"Hope Marland more than any other has ensured that Queanbeyan's sense of community will be enduring," Cr Overall said.
"We in Queanbeyan are honoured to have known and worked with Hope Marland MBE, AM - an inspiration and a friend to all. Our thoughts are with her husband Ken Marland and their family," he said.
Mrs Marland will always be fondly remembered in Queanbeyan for her generous community spirit, but she told The Queanbeyan Age last year that she felt the town had given her plenty in return.
"Queanbeyan has been very good to us. We tried to help people as much as we could and the response back is such a reward.
"We were very quickly embraced by the people of the town. They were very friendly and we were part of the town in no time," she said.
"Country people know each other and help each other out. I think the people of Queanbeyan are most generous ... they come to the party for any good cause."
Hope Marland is survived by her husband Ken, children Jillian and Anthony, and her seven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.