Ella Ebery

As editor of St Arnaud-based newspaper the North Central News, Ella Ebery supported and fought for the ongoing wellbeing of her local community.

Honour Roll

Born in 1915 in St Arnaud, Ella lost her mother and grandmother within the space of two weeks, devastating the close family network. Both women had instilled the need for better roles and opportunities for women, influencing the rest of Ella's life. Leaving school at 16, she kept house for her father and brother on the family farm until 1939 when she married a local shearer, who then went to serve in the Second World War. Her first born child, Anne, died suddenly aged 15 months; deeply affecting her life.

After the war, Ella and her husband settled in the township of St Arnaud and had two more children. It was here that she found the lack of career opportunities for women stifling and turned to the arts - writing, drama, and painting - and to public life.

In 1969 she became the first woman councillor in St Arnaud, serving until 1995. In 1998-90 she was unanimously elected to serve two terms as mayor - the first and only woman mayor for the town. Ella served on many community boards and committees, including president of the Community Health Committee for East Wimmera Health Service, board member of the St Arnaud Hospital and secretary of the St Arnaud Historical Society. She also served on numerous Northern Grampians Shire Council community committees.

In 1995, she received an award for Service to Local Government. Ella was also awarded the Australian Country Press Shakespeare Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing in 2000. The St Arnaud community valued Ella's contributions by naming her Citizen of the Year in 1984 and in 1989 she was Victorian Senior Citizen of the Year.

Ella's editorials continually spoke for the rights of the St Arnaud community and fought many battles for survival in difficult times. She was an advocate for rural issues and social justice.

According to Matt Batters, proprietor of the North Central News, Ella gave her heart and soul to St Arnaud and its community.