South Pacific Area Scholarship Trust Celebrates Decades of Service by Announcing 2019 Winners

Since 1981, the Quota South Pacific Area Scholarship for Work in the Fields of Speech and Hearing has been awarding scholarships to students working in the fields of speech and hearing. Although operating under a Deed of Trust completely separate from Quota International, Inc., throughout its history, the Trust has been funded by Quota clubs in the South Pacific area, as well as by private donors. The trust is managed by three Trustees and a small committee of Quotarians from clubs in Australia and New Zealand.

 2019 Scholarship Winners

The Trustees of the Scholarship Trust have just announced 2019 winners – four recipients who will receive a combined scholarship amount of AUS$16,000.00.

  • Jessica Balfour-Ogilvy and Jennifer Bergman from the Hear & Say Centre in Brisbane, Queensland will share AUS$8,000.00 to visit Centres in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Spain. Their trip will include giving three presentations at the AG Bell Symposium in Madrid, a precursor to the AG Bell Convention in Brisbane, Queensland in 2020. The conference in Brisbane will be hosted by Auditory Verbal United Kingdom, Western-Danish Cochlear Implant Centre (Denmark), AG Bell International and the Ear Foundation, Nottingham (United Kingdom) and will facilitate numerous professional, local, national, and international community networking and educational opportunities. It will also be an opportunity to highlight the amazing contribution Quota makes to support people with hearing loss world-wide.


  • A scholarship of $5,000.00 has been awarded to Suzanne Hopf of Charles Sturt University, School of Community Health, in Bathurst, New South Wales. Suzanne is an Australian trained Speech-Language Pathologist with dual Fijian- Australian citizenship. She will be meeting with communication specialists in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu on a project to bring together speakers of Pacific Island indigenous languages to ultimately create a functional Word-list for these islands. Such a list will assist South Pacific Area Specialists with the early diagnosis and treatment of communication disabilities.


  • The Sheila Drummond Bursary Scholarship of $3,000.00 has been awarded to Jayne Simpson-Allen, an Auditory-Verbal Therapist from The Hearing House in Auckland, New Zealand. She will use this money to attend the AG Bell Symposium in Madrid to present her paper “Babies: Talk, Sing, Read, Repeat” and/or “Home and Away: Teletherapy for Tots to Teenagers”. This Auditory-Verbal therapist teaches parents to use natural situations to enhance their infants hearing with the aim of learning to listen and speak.

History of the Trust’s Beginnings

South pacific scholarship photo
Governor Sheila Drummond presenting the Charter to President Audrey Cunningham for the Caulfield Club, chartered on November 3, 1973. 

It was at the Combined Meeting of the Australian clubs held in Nambour, Queensland, in 1977, chaired by Area Director Patricia Walsh and attended by International President Isobel Sullivan, that a proposal was put forward to establish a scholarship fund. Well-known Speech Therapist Sheila Drummond, member of the Caulfield club in Victoria, proposed an investigation into the feasibility of establishing a Scholarship Trust to support those working in the fields of speech and hearing. The proposal was given the “go ahead”. At the next and first Area Meeting of the South Pacific Area clubs, held in Sydney, Australia, under the chairmanship of Area Director Joan Dooley, and in conjunction with the first International Convention to be held in Australia in 1980, a motion to set up a Scholarship Trust Fund was adopted as well as a motion to appoint three Trustees and an outline for operation. The three Trustees were appointed by the Area Director: Sheila Drummond, chair of the three-member Selection Committee; Audrey Cunningham, an Accountant and chair of a three-member Finance Committee; and Noreen Cloonen, a Solicitor, chair of a three-member Advisory Committee. All Trustees at that time came from clubs in Quota’s former District 38, in Victoria. Joan Dooley, then Area Director, was Ex-Officio to the committee – a policy which continued for a number of years, and was then expanded to be included in the scholarship selection process.

The process of drawing up the Deed of Trust then fell to Noreen Cloonen and her committee, and on May 4, 1981, the Deed was legally signed by the three Trustees. Fundraising began at that time.

The establishment of the legalities and financing of the Scholarship proved to be a complicated and on-going process for a number of years, managed by each current South Pacific Area Director of the time. But in the 1981-82 Quota year, the first Scholarships were awarded to Elizabeth Armstrong from Victoria for AUS$2,800 and to Elisi Netiunarride from Fiji for AUS$752.30.

Committee Membership Expands Beyond Victoria

After Audrey Cunningham and Sheila Drummond resigned in 1988 and 1990, respectively, these initial Trustees were replaced by two more members from Victorian clubs: Betsy Compton as Finance Trustee and Jean Evans as Selection Trustee. The two appointments were made by then Area Director Beth Hogan. For the convenience of communication and because the Deed of Trust was drawn up according to the Victorian Trust Act of 1958, all committee members came from Victorian clubs. However, the Deed of Trust was revised in 2000 and re-written again in 2004 when June Young was South Pacific Area Director, thereby extending committee membership to members from any State in Australia. The current Trustees, Karen Morrison, Christine Ryder, and Barbara McCabe, all from Region 14, aim to have a committee representative from each Quota Region in the South Pacific Area.

The funding of the Trust by clubs in Australia and New Zealand has continued for 38 years, reaching a total today of AUS$325,461, and the work of the Scholarship Trust continues to be administered by a dedicated group of Quotarians. These committed members voluntarily give of their time and financial resources to attend two meetings a year to select the Scholarship recipients. They also attend an annual general meeting to ensure that the Trust Fund continues to serve its purpose: to support speech and hard-of-hearing individuals through the facilitation of professional development opportunities for those working in these medical fields.

Quota Crosses the Pacific

Quota Centennial Banner BOLDQuota Club International was barely a decade old when Myrtle Fletcher and her husband traveled to the USA from Sydney to study at the Palmer School of Chiropractics. While there, Myrtle visited the Quota Club of Davenport at the invitation of Dr. Mabel Heath Palmer, who had just completed her term as International President.  Myrtle was greatly impressed by Quota’s impact in the community and began thinking about the good Quota could do in the communities of Australia.

In 1930, Dr. Mabel visited Sydney for a short time and made a point of visiting Myrtle Fletcher. In addition to meeting with Myrtle, she also introduced Quota to a few other women in Sydney, thus forming the nucleus of a new club there.  However, it wouldn’t be until 1933 that the Club would receive its Charter from the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Phillip Game.  With this charter, Australia officially became the third country to join Quota Club International, and the Quota Club of Sydney became the first women’s classified service club in Australia. mabel palmer

Enthusiasm was high and the new club immediately set about its service program. One of the first services undertaken by Quota in Australia was the establishment of a cottage known as “Quota Cottage” at the Hammondville Settlement.  This settlement served destitute families throughout the Great Depression and was established by the Rev. Hammond in 1933; today, Hammondville is a suburb of Sydney.

Unfortunately, as the first classified service club for executive women in Australia, the members of this fledgling club had no other organization in Australia to turn to for guidance.  There were no airmails, cables were expensive, and surface mail meant that inquiries and replies took months to be received.   Understandably, irregularities of classification and membership occurred, the Bylaws were not always understood completely, and the club had many difficulties.  After some time, the Board of Directors decided that the Sydney club should be wholly re-organized and that the Quota International Bylaws and Charter should be accepted.  As a result, the club was re-organized, and though a few of the original members had resigned, the ones who stayed were strengthened by this restructuring and by those who had joined in the intervening years.

The Charter of the present Quota Club of Sydney was received by its President, Minnie Gates on   September 28th, 1937, together with a gavel presented by Dr. Mabel Palmer of Davenport. This began a tradition for subsequent clubs in Australia to be presented with a gavel on their Charter by those who organized the club.

Through all of this communities all over Australia were experiencing the difficulties engendered by the Great Depression and the start of the Second World War. Thankfully, the Sydney Club progressed despite these challenges and when the temporary District 13 was formed, the opportunity arose for a new club to be chartered in Orange!  So, on February 3, 1940 11 members traveled to Orange for the chartering of the Quota Club of Orange by Governor Edna Davidson. The Quota Club of Katoomba followed soon thereafter, but by this time every community was wholly occupied with the “war effort”.   For the first 10 years, while the District was temporary, the District Governors were all appointed by the Board of Directors and were all members of the Sydney Club, with the exception of Helen McCormick who was a member of the Orange Club.

In 1942 President Effie Loudermilk reported at the Mackinac Island, Michigan Convention that there were a total of 75 Quotarians in Australia, and referred to them as “a brave and active group of Quotarians.”

After the war, community service and club growth began in earnest – an Extension Committee was set up and the North Coast area of New South Wales became the focus.  There was great excitement and the NSW area was ripe for a visit by the International President to present the Charters and further inspire the Quotarians in NSW. President Marie Higgins undertook the visit, and a wonderful round of inter-club visiting took place at the presentation of a “most triumphal succession of Club Charters”; namely the Lismore, Grafton, Murwillumbah, Kyogle, Kempsey and Taree Clubs. marie higgins

President Marie Higgins’ Christmas message for the “Quotarian” was written from Lismore.  “Tonight, as I write this Christmas Message, I am sitting on an open porch in Lismore, NSW. My trip to Australia has enabled us to join hands in true Quota spirit, and the Christmas season will be enriched with a new unity and a closer bond between our four countries”.   (Mexico City had received its Charter at the 1947 Convention in Victoria, British Columbia, making Mexico the fourth country in Quota Club International.)

The next 10 years saw great development in the growth and influence of Quota in Australia – the formation of over 30 new clubs and the establishment of three new Districts, the 24th in 1950, the 26th in 1954, and the 28th in 1957.  With 1956 came another visit to Australia by an International President – May Virginia Valencik.  International President Valencik attended the First Combined Conference of Australian Clubs and the first Seminar of District Governors which were held in Grafton, NSW and attended by 209 members from 31 of the 32 clubs then chartered. may valencik

Australia’s early leaders broke the mold of Quota’s all-American leadership by being nominated and then winning a seat on the Board despite their relatively small proportion of members.  The first of these leaders was Taree Past Governor Dr. Joan Redshaw who was elected Director 1966 – 68.  By the 1970s there began a succession of South Pacific Area Directors who had Board seats as-of-right, thanks to the efforts of their elected predecessors who had insisted on recognition.  As of 2019 Australia has now produced six International Presidents, two International Directors, 19 South Pacific Area Directors and 2 Vice Presidents – 2018 being the first year in 52 years that Australia did not have Board representation. Joan Redshaw

By 1980, New Zealand had become the fourth country to join Quota International, (Mexico had since been lost).  The Area concept was established which categorized clubs into the South Pacific and Atlantic Areas.  As a result, the Ninth Combined Conference held in 1980 was renamed the First Combined Conference of the South Pacific Area.  The conference was held in conjunction with the first International Convention in Australia, which took place in Sydney and had over 1,000 members in attendance.


May…… Service is what ‘We Share’


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