(Deceased 24 July 2014)
Cecily Gilson was born 4 July, 1925 in Samarai, PNG. At the age of 6 weeks old her parents moved to Sydney, where she grew up. Cecily was educated at Woolwich Public School, Fort Street Girls High School and Sydney Technical College where she studied mechanical drawing.
Cecily worked in what was then the PMG’s Department then for a surveyor in Sydney. She married on 26 April,1946 and moved to Brisbane in 1948, where her first three children were born.
In 1955, the family moved to Melbourne where Cecily’s fourth child arrived in February, 1960.
Cecily was a member of Mothers’ Clubs, School Community Associations, Neighbourhood Watch and Inner Wheel.
The following are Cecily’s own words:
“My first involvement with TasCOSS was after death of my husband in 1965, when TasCOSS helped me to set up a Community Information Centre in a small room in the Clarence Council Chambers, as they and Council had for many years seen a need for this.
“When Eastlands was developed the owners provided a small rent free office from which we operated for 20 years, then came computers, Glenorchy Info-line, State library infoservices and the Eastlands management wanted rent, so we closed.
“In its early days when I first ‘met’ TasCOSS, the organisation had no permanent office, no money, no paid staff, and board meetings were held wherever they could be. As for accommodation, it consisted of vacant space in unused buildings we were allowed to use rent free, some needed much cleaning before the move in, e.g. rooms in one of the old warehouses in Salamanca Place (demolished to make way for the Law Courts) were scrubbed — the City Council rat catcher visited. At one time TasCOSS had an office in the Lands Department building.
“The first Christmas Card Shop was opened in a small vacant office in Murray Street (also rather dirty), opposite Hadley’s. Charities wishing to have their cards displayed and sold there put them in empty shoe boxes, clearly labelled and placed on racks (I think these racks were the backs of unwanted church pews which were to go to the tip). The shop was manned by volunteers from the various charities. There was rarely enough change in the till! It makes me very happy to ‘see’ TasCOSS now, its professionalism, dedication, optimism, co-operation and knowledge.”