Cecilia Conroy

I'm most proud of Kalianna and BANDWEC. I hope I've demonstrated that women do have opportunities and can become principals.

Local Champion

Cecilia discovered a life long passion for teaching and became one of the first female principals in Victoria at Bendigo Special School.

Early in her life, Cecilia observed that there was a lack of basic education for children with learning difficulties. She became an advocate and teacher for special needs children in Bendigo. She lobbied government and gained funding to reform the Bendigo Special School into Kalianna Special School (Aboriginal for 'to aspire' or 'go forth') in the 1970s. Cecilia then opened the Bendigo and Northern Suburbs District Work Education Centre (BANDWEC) for special needs students aged 16 to 21.

Cecilia's career and life has been focused on advocating for people who needed a voice. In 1996, she opened her home to overseas students attending La Trobe University. From 2000 until 2007, she supported rural students, providing them with accommodation and an opportunity to attend university.