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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1105

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Government in the Senate) (Attorney-General) - Mr President,it is with deep regret that I inform the Senate of the death on 9 September 1974 of Her Excellency Lady Kerr, wife of the GovernorGeneral. I know that all honourable senators will appreciate what a tragic loss her death has been to her husband so soon after assuming Australia's highest office.

Lady Kerr was born at Molong, New South Wales. She was a social worker by profession but worked only in a part time capacity in the early years of the war. She spent some time with the Family Welfare Bureau and in Melbourne with the Australian Imperial Forces Women's Association. She was later Secretary of the Hospital Almoners Institute in Sydney. Although she was offered full time executive positions in the social work field, she preferred to spend most of the time bringing up her 3 children and running a home for her husband when he was at the Bar in Sydney. In later years she specialised in marriage counselling and performed voluntary counselling work for the New South Wales Marriage Guidance Council. When her husband became the Chief Justice of New South Wales she fully particpated in the activities of her husband who was also Lieutenant-Governor.

Lady Kerr was not well when the appointment of her husband as Governor-General was announced in February this year, but she recovered sufficiently to allow her to travel with him to London to be received by the Queen and to participate in the 150th anniversary celebration of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Soon after she took up residence at Government House in Yarralumla she went to Sydney as a result of a serious illness. She died in the early morning of 9 September.

I am sure that all honourable senators will recall how pleased we were to see her in this chamber on the occasion of the swearing-in of Sir John Kerr. I am sure that all members of the Senate will join with me in expressing our deepest sympathy to Sir John Kerr and his family in their bereavement. Mr President, I move:

That the Senate expresses its profound sorrow at the death on 9 September 1974 of Her Excellency Lady Kerr, wife of the Governor-General, and places on record its appreciation of her meritorious public service and conveys its deepest sympathy to the members of her family.

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