Ann Wearne

Alpine Observer - - News -

What do you do?

I’m re­tired but in­volved with sev­eral dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions. My hus­band and I are also full-time car­ers for our son Mark who suf­fered a se­vere brain in­jury caused by a stroke in 2013.

I know you’re in­volved with the Wandiligong Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety? What’s that group re­spon­si­ble for and how long have you been in­volved?

The WPS man­ages and main­tains 49 hectares of land in Wandiligong from be­hind the pub down to Stephen’s Bridge. The group was formed by Co­ral Ben­nett who orig­i­nally mounted a cam­paign to save the Wandi Hall and wanted to pre­serve bits of Wandiligong that held sig­nif­i­cance. Co­ral also be­lieved in pub­lic ac­cess to pub­lic land so the Crown Land which the WPS looks af­ter was turned into a re­cre­ation re­serve through her ef­forts. Co­ral got me in­volved back in the 1980s and then she grabbed me again when I re­turned up this way in about 2005. I took on the pres­i­dency when she passed away. The WPS has got about 50 mem­bers and a com­mit­tee of seven. Its main fo­cus is reveg­e­tat­ing, weed con­trol and main­te­nance of the tracks and bridges. To main­tain nearly 50 hectares is a big ask so we rely heav­ily on lo­cal res­i­dents vol­un­teer­ing. Alpine Shire Coun­cil also sup­port us by giv­ing the WPS $5000 per an­num.

What other or­gan­i­sa­tions are you in­volved with?

I’m a di­rec­tor of North East Health in Wan­garatta. I worked in health and wel­fare for most my \ life and that’s some­thing I en­joy be­cause it keeps me in touch with the health sys­tem. I’m also on the board of NESAY (North East Sup­port and Ac­tion for Youth) which also op­er­ates out of Wan­garatta.

Tell us a lit­tle bit about the work you did in the health and wel­fare ar­eas?

I first started off work­ing for Ovens Val­ley Emer­gency Care and Ac­com­mo­da­tion which was a tiny lit­tle or­gan­i­sa­tion. We used to place kids in foster care, help young home­less peo­ple and we also had a cou­ple of car­a­vans for emer­gency home­less­ness which we’d move around the Alpine Shire for peo­ple and fam­i­lies. Af­ter that I opened a book shop in Wan­garatta for about four years then I en­tered pub­lic ser­vice, work­ing for what is now the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices. I started out in chil­dren’s ser­vices early on and then went on work in the dis­abil­ity sys­tem for 20 years. I was in Mel­bourne for that and then re­turned to North East as CEO of Ovens and King Com­mu­nity Health Ser­vice, a role I had un­til I re­signed in 2015 to care for Mark.

I un­der­stand your fam­ily has a long his­tory in the lo­cal area?

That’s cor­rect, I was ac­tu­ally brought up in Ever­ton but my fam­ily comes from Har­ri­etville. My fam­ily’s his­tory in the area goes back to the gold min­ing era. Both my great grand­fa­thers, Henry Wraith and Don­ald Gow were gold­min­ers. My grand­fa­ther on my fa­ther’s side Frank Wraith ran the gen­eral store in Bright and in Har­ri­etville. He also had the first ski hire and with pack horses used to take peo­ple up over the moun­tains. The Wraith side also owned the Har­ri­etville side of the Dargo High Plains which were worked by my fa­ther who was a cat­tle­man.

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