Vale Judy Finlason AO
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Celebrating the life of Network of Community Activities Founder Judy Finlason AO

Celebrating the life of Network of Community Activities Founder Judy Finlason AO

by Freya Lucas

May 01, 2023

Network of Community Activities founder Judy Finlason AO passed away on 22 April, prompting Network CEO, and personal friend Pauline O’Kane to write a celebration of her life, an extract of which appears below. 


The world will never be quite the same now that Network founder, Judy Finlason is no longer with us,” Ms O’Kane began, describing her as “an indelible presence in Network’s history, a person who did make a difference and impacted all who were privileged to meet her.”


Ms Finlason was awarded the Order of Australia medal in 1986 in recognition of her work, and was the author of many histories including Network’s history of the first 25 years, The Network: when dreams become reality


“Judy accomplished more than most people could in several lifetimes,” she continued, saying Ms Finlason was one who led “a full and purposeful life full of meaning and passion.”


Along with friend June Jeremy, Ms Finlason founded the Network in 1974, built from a vision of bringing people together who cared about children and how they spent their time out of school. 


She remained with Network until her retirement in 2004, and remained closely involved in the work of Network after that time, attending many events and often popping into the office. 


“Judy made a difference in a lot of lives, mine included,” Ms O’Kane continued. 


“She knew how to bring people together and how to encourage you to do things you never thought possible. She was creative, energetic, and an amazing communicator. She was also humble, thoughtful, compassionate, wise, generous, loyal, bold and passionate!”


“Judy was an inspiration to all who met her and her credentials were unparalleled and ranged from heath, community development, children, human rights, play and children & young people’s drama, community arts and the environment! She was born a natural networker.”


Known across the world for her outstanding work in community services, Ms O’Kane describes a person with “an infectious passion for people, history, the environment and everything about the community. She would build and create communities (Network) wherever she went!”


“She was a deep thinker and brought new perspectives to every conversation. She was a wonderful listener and great observer of people. She could identify qualities in people that none of us knew we had. Although 92 can be considered a good innings, Judy remained a passionate advocate for children, the environment, and multiple other causes right until the end.”


The Sector extends condolences to all those who have been impacted by Ms Finlason’s passing. 

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