Grace Munro

In 1922, Grace Munro helped found the Country Women's Association of Australia.

Honour Roll

Grace Munro was born on 25 March 1879 at Gragin, Warialda, New South Wales. Her father was a grazier and she was educated by governesses and at Kambala School. She was an accomplished horsewoman, a good shot, an expert needlewoman and a good gardener. In 1898, she married Hugh Robert Munro of Keera and they had four children, although the youngest died in 1891. This experience made her determined to pursue better conditions and availability of medical help in the country.

While recovering from this loss she travelled extensively, through Papua, the Trobriand Islands, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji and in 1914 she went to Egypt, Europe and Britain. During World War I, Grace lived in Bellevue Hill, a suburb of Sydney. She worked for the Australian Red Cross Society and helped raise money for the Army. Grace was qualified in first aid, home nursing and hygiene with the Order of St John Ambulance Association. After the war she gave first aid classes and in recognition of her work was appointed a serving sister of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

In 1922, Grace helped to organise and publicise a conference in Sydney which formally established the Country Women's Association of New South Wales. Grace was elected president and she insisted that the association be non-political. She travelled throughout Queensland and New South Wales speaking to country women and helping them to form branches. By 1923, there were 68 branches, seventeen rest-rooms for mothers and children, two seaside homes and maternity centres in many towns. She lobbied government for improvement in the area of children and women's health.

Ill health forced Grace to retire in 1926, by which time 100 branches had been formed and 4500 members enlisted. She continued to raise large sums of money for causes such as rest-centres and holiday homes. Over the years she visited Kashmir, India, Burma, China, Japan, North America, Europe and South Africa. From 1952, she annually visited the Great Barrier Reef.

Grace died in Sydney on 23 July 1964.