Clarence Valley Citizen Of The Year Evelyn Gane waves the flag on Minnie Water beach after the announcement at Australia Day celebrations. Photo: Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner.
Clarence Valley Citizen Of The Year Evelyn Gane waves the flag on Minnie Water beach after the announcement at Australia Day celebrations. Photo: Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner.

Tribute to the ‘cheeky’ Mayor of Wooli

SHE moved to the Wooli area after a lifetime in Sydney, and it didn’t take her long to make her mark.

Evelyn Gane, who became known as the “cheeky” mayor of Wooli, has passed away aged 89.

Born on 13 November 1932, she worked as a pathology administration in Sydney with her husband Morris.

During that time, they had four children, Michael, Lesley, Phil, Stephen and by the time of her passing had nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

After moving to the area, she became involved with the community, and was one of the founding members and the public face of the ubiquitous Goanna Pulling Championship, a job she took for more than 17 years.

Always one to improve her community, and not afraid to speak up, she lobbied the state government for a permanent police station for Wooli, and also managed to get a doctor to come to the town.

Evelyn Gane with politicians and police commissioners at the opening of the Wooli police station
Evelyn Gane with politicians and police commissioners at the opening of the Wooli police station

She was awarded Citizen of the Year twice for her work, once for Pristine Waters Council, and in 2010 for Clarence Valley Council, an honour she treasured.

“I love the challenge community and volunteer work presents,” she said in 2010.

“I love meeting new people and helping those less fortunate than myself. I have seen the best and the worst in people through my endeavours and have learnt from every experience.”

With husband Morris a keen golfer, they moved into Fairway Dive in South Grafton where she lived there until his death in 2016, when she moved into Dougherty Villa.

She was a keen volunteer for a local eye specialist, making cups of coffee and talking to people while they had drops put in.

She was also an active member of the library, and was more keen to spend time with the staff of the villa, rather than residents because “she wasn’t old”

“She’s was a real character, an absolute character,” son Michael said.

“We were just blown away about who came into see mum, there was a constant line of people that went into see her.

“They called her “Mrs Goanna”, but our grandkids always said she was the mayor of Wooli.”

Her funeral will be held at the Christchurch Cathedral today (Saturday) at 10am.

Evelyn Gane at the goanna pulling
Evelyn Gane at the goanna pulling


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