This time last week, the City of Warrnambool was celebrating the announcement of its annual Australia Day award winners and, incredibly, there was not a single woman among the seven recipients*.
The absence of even one woman considered worthy of note for her contribution to the community is even more astonishing given there is a stand-out contender: Vicki Jellie.
If there is anyone in Warrnambool who does not know the name Vicki Jellie, then they have either been out of the city, avoiding all media, or unable to attend any of the dozens of social and sporting events that have raised funds for Vicki’s cause, Peter’s Project.
Vicki, who used to be Vicki Grayson and grew up in the heart of Warrnambool, has worked for more than five years on Peter’s Project, which – for our out-of-town readers – is named in memory of her late husband, Peter, and aims to raise $5 million toward a cancer treatment centre in South-West Victoria.
Since it began in 2009, Peter’s Project has slowly and steadily built its public profile to become a tour de force.
Last year’s federal election included a defining moment, at a local level, when the Coalition pledged $10 million toward building the centre and left the ALP stranded: such is the pulling power of Peter’s Project.
And you need only visit its Facebook page to see the number of events by business, schools, groups, clubs and individuals that are all raising money for Peter’s Project.
When we last spoke to Vicki, she was preparing to take a year’s leave from her paid job so that she could focus on Peter’s Project full-time. She, and her campaign team, are doing a magnificent job and as of December, had raised $4 million of the $5 million needed.
With such a high profile, we thought it would be a fait accompli that Vicki Jellie would be included in the Warrnambool City Council Australia Day Awards, and possibly odds-on favourite for Citizen of the Year. To see her missing altogether was a shock.
We can’t give Vicki an Australia Day award, but she is our Quiet Hero for being one of the most inspiring women in Warrnambool.
Vicki will receive a $20 lunch voucher donated by Lozzar’s Lounge Cafe, Kepler St, Warrnambool. Thankyou to Loretta and Phil for your support. Bluestone editors Carol and Louise will also make a $50 donation to Peter’s Project.
(*Sixteen-year-old Olivia Niddrie was named Young Citizen of the Year. The council has since told Bluestone it received only two nominations for women across all categories.)
Meet our other Quiet Heroes…