Edith Vivian Patricia Upton: A Life of Service and Dedication
Edith Vivian Patricia Upton, or “Pat” as she was known to friends and family, was a woman of service and dedication. She was born in 1926 in Greendale, Victoria and grew up in a family of strong women. Her mother was a nurse, while her grandmother was a pioneering physician. Pat followed in their footsteps, dedicating her life to helping those in need and advocating for the rights of those facing discrimination.
Pat’s first foray into public service came in the 1950s, when she joined the Australian Red Cross and began working in their refugee program. She was an active member in the organization, and eventually became the organization’s first female national president from 1971-1974. During her tenure, she oversaw the introduction of a new refugee policy that allowed for more humane treatment of refugees and improved their access to services.
In addition to her work with the Red Cross, Pat was also a passionate advocate for the rights of Indigenous Australians. She worked with the National Aboriginal Conference to ensure the implementation of the 1967 referendum, which granted Indigenous Australians the right to vote. She also worked with the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and the Council for Aboriginal Rights.
Throughout her life, Pat received numerous awards for her work. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1987, and in 1998 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Melbourne.
Pat was an inspiration to many, and her legacy lives on through her tireless dedication to public service. She was an advocate for the rights of all Australians, regardless of race, gender or class. Her story reminds us of the power of service and dedication, and of the importance of standing up for what we believe in.