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VALE BARBARA HOLBOROW OAM - NSW SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR 2012
The National Australia Day Council is saddened by the passing of NSW Senior Australian of the Year 2012, Barbara Holborow OAM at the age of 81.
Barbara was awarded the honour in November 2011 for her tireless commitment to achieving better judicial outcomes for children.
Living with diabetes since she was 13, Barbara fought the odds as a single mother to establish a career for herself as a lawyer, working during the day and studying at night first for her Leaving Certificate, and then for her law degree, graduating at the age of 40.
Barbara’s philosophy was that ‘every child is everybody’s responsibility.’ As a magistrate, she was instrumental in setting up free legal aid for children in NSW, a care court to deal with cases of neglect and a special jail for first-time offenders aged 18 to 25. She allowed television cameras into her court, believing that an open and transparent process would help reform the system.
After her retirement from the bench in 1994, she continued to defend the rights of children. Over the years, many foster children came under her care and, while working at a refuge, she met a young Aboriginal boy named Jacob who she later adopted. Barbara wrote three books on her experiences with children and throughout her life continued her fearless crusading, lobbying government and garnering media attention.
“Barbara was an extraordinary woman with endless energy,” Tam Johnston, Acting CEO of the National Australia Day Council said.
“She had a solid belief in humanity, a wonderfully wicked sense of humour and a immense commitment to her community.”
“She truly made a difference to our nation and to our youth”.
Our thoughts are with Barbara's family and friends.