Jean Blackburn

Jean Blackburn is honoured for many years of voluntary work she willingly gave to the conservation cause.

Honour Roll

Jean Blackburn was born in 1909. She remained single all her life, and joined many organisations which catered for her love of the outdoors. First she joined the Girl Guides, then in 1934 she joined the Melbourne Women's Walking Club. She served on the committee and as President and Vice-President of that Club. Jean joined the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in 1935 and took part in their outdoor activities.

Her love of nature was so great that she resolved to help conserve the wild places that she loved and in 1946 she joined the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (FNCV). While with the FNCV she was Excursions Secretary from 1949-51: she wrote articles for the Victorian Naturalist and became deeply involved in preparing the historic Report on Victoria's National Parks which was favourably received by Parliament and lead to the formation of the National Parks Authority. The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) was formed in 1952 to promote the cause of national parks. Jean was also a member of the Native Plants Preservation Society.

Jean did not just join organisations - she worked for them with great skill and commitment, but always in the background. She was the typical 'quiet achiever'. She was an excellent nature photographer and had a valuable collection of slides of scenery and plants which she was happy to lend. Jean joined the VNPA in August 1953, just a year after its formation. She became Treasurer in 1959 and held that position until her death in 1983. Jean maintained the Association's finances and in the early days before the VNPA had an office and staff, she kept the membership records, and sent out the minutes to members.

Jean never missed a council meeting and was a valued member of council because of her great knowledge of the Victorian bush and its plants, as well as for her accounting skills and her sound financial judgement. Jean worked for the Victorian Employers Federation, and in her later years she was able to work part-time which left her free to pursue her many other commitments with voluntary conservation organisations.

Even when hospitalised with cancer she continued her work as Treasurer for the VNPA, and upon her death she left part of her estate to the Association so that their work in promoting national parks could be continued.