Early childhood advocate Patricia Donovan remembered for a life dedicated to finer things

Early childhood advocate Patricia Donovan remembered for a life dedicated to finer things

by Freya Lucas

February 23, 2022

Early childhood education advocate Patricia Ann Donovan (née Benton) has been eulogised by local news source, the Glen Innes Examiner, following her passing on 21 December 2021. 

 

Mrs Donovan, known to those close to her as Tricia, was both an early years advocate and an antique specialist, and was a long-term resident of Ben Lomond, a village on the Northern Tablelands in the New England region of New South Wales.

 

She was well known to many throughout the New England and Hunter regions and beyond, having moved to Ben Lomond in 1982 after several years of living in various parts of Australia and internationally in support of her husband’s Army postings. 

 

Her first career was focused on early childhood learning and development, and Mrs Donovan, who graduated from Tresillian as a Registered Mothercraft nurse, was passionate about ensuring all children had access to early education.

 

She managed several early childhood services, including one at Papua New Guinea’s University of Technology, and also managed Liverpool Before and After School Care. In the late 1980s, she was instrumental in reopening and ensuring the continuation of the Guyra Preschool and Long Daycare Centre at its former location at St Mary’s Catholic School.

 

In 1992, her professional career in antiques began, with the gaining of qualifications in 18th and 19th century decorative arts and furniture, and she joined renowned Australian auction house James R Lawson as its New England representative.

 

She continued in this role for over a decade before launching her own business, building strong relationships with international auction houses like Bonhams of London, as well as local firms, the Glen Innes Examiner shared. 

 

Mrs Donovan later trained with Christies of London, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, reflecting the passion she found in her new career. 

 

Privately, she was known in the community for being a keen gardener who established a large garden from scratch at her Ben Lomond home. She actively supported her husband, Colonel Chris Donovan, in his roles as Commanding Officer and later Honorary Colonel of the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers before his passing in 2017. 

 

She is survived by her son Mark, Ambassador of Australia to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

 

A funeral service was held in early January at The Armidale School and will be followed by an interment at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Stratfield Saye, Hampshire at a later date.

 

To read the original coverage of this story please see here. Vale, Patricia Ann Donovan (née Benton). 

PRINT