By Jonathan Shepherd, Rotary Radio Show

Variety amongst Rotary Members has always fascinated me. Each has a story to tell, but they rarely tell all.

A classic example of this is the outstanding, entertaining, and deeply modest Joan Daniels, a member of Rotary Melbourne South for over 30 years.  Joan is inspirational, kind, thoughtful and hardworking. She has achieved so much in her personal life and for Rotary.

Preparing for her Rotary Radio interview I knew little about her, except by reputation with fellow Rotarians. Research and our talk before and during the Show brought revelations.

Joan grew up in the 1930s in the then developing area of Balwyn. Joan attended MLC. All her family were involved in local community activities and fundraising. She became Treasurer of the local church youth group and during the war knitted khaki socks for soldiers.

Scarlet fever kept her in Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital for a school term. Joan was actually so inspired by those at the hospital, she decided that nursing was her calling. She specialised in Ear, Nose and Throat. She met and married Frank Daniels, who owned a large printing company. They had three children. Her family plunged themselves into the local Beaumaris community where they eventually lived. Fundraising for Scouts, Girl Guides and local sporting clubs was constant.

Sadly Frank passed away at 48. Joan, with no experience in printing, ran his business with 200 staff whilst raising a young family. Joan excelled. The livelihoods of many families were in her hands. In a series of firsts for women, Joan became a director of the Printing Association, and then was on the National Printing Council when printing was Australia’s third largest industry.

Joan sat on the Board of the Mothers’ Association at her children’s school, St Leonard’s College. She became its Chairperson. She then became the Chairperson of the School Board, another significant first for a woman.

Joan and Frank were introduced to Rotary in 1969. After Frank’s death, Joan joined Rotary Club of Melbourne South. Her accomplishments and projects in Rotary would fill another article, and she still mentors and inspires members, and aspiring office bearers.

Her life is one of ‘firsts’. Her many unacknowledged achievements will have you spellbound. Hear her on the Rotary Radio Show on 94.1FM 3WBC. Keep an eye on the Facebook page and website for dates.