Joan Killorn, one of the co-founders of what later became 2GLF has passed away aged 87
Born Joan McConkey in 1930 in North Sydney and after getting married to Kevin Killorn moved in to the then very new housing estate at Busby in Green Valley in 1967.
Once settled in Green Valley, Joan found a lot of women with nothing much to do outside of the home and it was there her tireless and almost endless community work begun. At the time “The Valley” was very short on community facilities and Joan and her friends sought to change that.
In the early 1970’s, the Whitlam government through the Australian Film Institute, set about establishing a series of Video Access Centres in Liverpool and Fairfield with the Liverpool centre being in Green Valley. Joan became involved with the Video centre and later became its manager.
Meanwhile a movement began across Sydney that saw the establishment of self-help clinics for Women. The first was established in Leichhardt and the response was overwhelming. It was the first women’s health centre in Australia and it was fully funded by the Federal Government.
The following excerpts are from the Liverpool Women’s Health Centre’s web page:
At the end of 1974 a submission was made for funds to establish a health centre for women in western Sydney.
Meanwhile at the community video access centre in Green Valley one of its workers, Susan Varga, was talking with local women about women’s issues. She was instrumental in bringing together a group of “Valley” women to discuss the realities of their lives, their concerns, their needs and to develop a set of plans for the following year, 1975, International Women’s Year.
The group that formed was convened jointly by Joan Killorn and Kay Ferrington, both women active members of the Green Valley community. The group wanted to see a multipurpose women’s health and resource centre and a women’s refuge established in the area. Susan was able to link the group with the Women’s Liberation group that had set up Leichhardt Women’s Health Centre.
Upon learning that a submission had been made for a centre in western Sydney, the Green Valley women petitioned their inner-city sisters requesting that the proposed new centre be located in Liverpool.
Joan Killorn, when interviewed recently, recalled the making of a video entitled “There’s no way she’s going to be sent home” that was used as a lobby tool to try to persuade the inner-city feminists … and persuaded they were. And so Liverpool Women’s Health Centre was set up on the first floor of commercial premises in George Street, Liverpool, just a short walk from Liverpool station.
Back to 1973 and Film Australia and director Peter Weir came to Liverpool to record a community meeting and produce the landmark documentary called “Whatever Happened to Green Valley.” Shortly afterwards, Joan with neighbours Frank Scambary & Jim Tumeth came up with the idea of starting community radio. At that time, broadcast licences were not easily handed out and following the first FM Australian test transmission in 1975, it took until 1982 for the permanent FM licence to be granted – and in September 1983, 2GLF-FM was born. 2GLF started in a disused council building in Christie Street that came about purely because of Joan’s powers of persuasion with Liverpool Council. Joan Killorn continued to work tirelessly to keeping 2GLF in the minds of Liverpool Council and in the minds of residents and community groups. News came in the mid-1990s council notified 2GLF they intended to sell the Christie Street property. This set Joan in motion to hit up council for a new location and after many negotiations, Liverpool Council agreed to allow 2GLF to use the School of Arts Building in Macquarie street in 1999.
Joan continued to volunteer day in and day out for 2GLF as well as raising a family – and if that wasn’t enough, Joan somehow managed to fit in time to do work for the Young Adults Disabled Association (YADA) and run as a candidate for the Liverpool City Council elections.
Joan withdrew from 2GLF in 1999 but continued to work continuously for the community until relocating to the Gold Coast a few years ago.
The people of Fairfield and Liverpool as well as the members and presenters of 2GLF remain indebted to Joan’s hard work over the many years and for having the vision to create a local community radio station in the first place.
A few years ago, Joan moved to the Gold Coast to be with two of her children and her grandchildren.
Joan’s funeral will be held on the 18th October at St Therese,’ in Miller at 10:30am.
An Aural history of 2GLF by Joan Killorn can be heard here: