Mary Spittal Remembered
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Mary Louise Spittall (aged 86 years) passed away on 3rd June, 2012. Mary Spittall and June Reeder along with 14 other interested parties attended an inaugural meeting at St. Kilda Town Hall in October, 1967 and 500 hundred people were present on that auspicious day.
Mary first heard about PWP in the United States of America from a Dr. Eric Benjamin who was associated with the Supporting Mothers Association. Mary was President of that organisation but the Constitution of that group would not accept unmarried mothers, deserted fathers, widowers, or women who were the guilty party in a divorce.There really was not an organisation for single parents and their children and when she heard about PWP she applied to the American chapter who offered assistance in forming PWP in Victoria. So Mary and June and 14 others worked for seven months to set up the inaugural meeting and so PWP in Victoria was formed.
Forty five years later PWP is now in all States of Australia and the ACT. Mary has never regretted that she had taken on the role of the first President of PWP Victoria with a faithful band of helpers and June Reeder and felt that with an association behind them they could handle the negative comments about single parents in the community. At that time single parents were very much ostracised by the community and the children were often called 'latch key kids'.
Mary never envisaged that single people would be about one-fifth of the Australian population when she gave an interview with June Reeder in our 30th Anniversary "SOLO” and today the numbers are even higher.
Mary was very proud of PWP with its welfare activities, emergency housing, op shops and all the branches and attributed PWP’s growth to all the wonderful volunteers over the years who have worked so hard to make PWP what it is today – a respected organisation in the community.
PWP Victoria did a great deal to obtain the pension for lone fathers as well as females in Australia and she thought that the Australian government would one day not be able to hand out assistance to lone parents until the youngest child reached 16 years of age which will now occur when the youngest child reaches the age of 8 when the custodial parent will have to go out to work.
Mary was always interested in all that went on in PWP Victoria and attended our state meetings and was heavily involved in PWP Community Services in the last few years of her life and always sent a donation to both these associations on a half yearly basis. She said that as a Life Member she had to support PWP until she was no longer with us.
Farewell to a wonderful lady who was always ready to listen and give her wise advice to anyone who telephoned or spoke to her.
We will miss this marvellous lady who devoted her life to helping others in PWP and the wider community also.