ENSURING THE COMMUNITY’S WELFARE
22 September 2016
At a recent graduation ceremony, Central Queensland University (Rockhampton) conferred an Honorary Award of Companion of the University on Anne-Marie Kinnane rsm. This award publicly recognizes the achievement of a person in the community or University who has provided exceptional support in the development or enhancement of the community. The University’s citation reads: ‘Sister Anne-Marie Kinnane has been an influential educator who has utilized her knowledge, skills, personal drive and leadership qualities to make connections and build strong relationships to support the Rockhampton region.’
Before commencing full-time study in 1968 at the University of Queensland (Brisbane), Anne-Marie taught in Rockhampton’s Diocesan primary schools including Biloela, St Patrick’s School (Mackay), Neerkol, South Bundaberg, Barcaldine, South Mackay and then in secondary education at the Range College.
Mother Mary Fabian Connell, who was then the Mother General of the Sisters of Mercy in Rockhampton, encouraged Anne-Marie to complete a Social Work Degree with the intention of having a qualified consultant for the development of the various aspects of social work in the region. Anne-Marie’s final placement at the then Catholic Family Welfare Bureau in Brisbane shaped and confirmed the concept of a local Diocesan Centre to offer similar services to families and individual people. In 1971, Anne-Marie completed a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) and as the first qualified Social Worker in the region, Anne-Marie was determined to do what she could to meet the needs of the city and surrounding areas.
During ongoing consultation with a local Diocesan priest, Fr Frank Gilbert, the Christian Family Centre opened its doors in Rockhampton on 29 January 1974. Both Anne-Marie and Fr Frank were significant people in the development of this Centre, known today as Centacare. From these humble beginnings, Centacare now provides services in Mackay, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Central Highlands, outreaching many communities. As a commissioner with the Australian Social Welfare Commission, Anne-Marie saw the agency she founded develop into a caring network, providing preventative and developmental services for people and families. Throughout the 1980s, Anne-Marie held the position of Chair of the Student Affairs Committee of CQ University Council and was highly regarded in her role.
Anne-Marie was Director of Centacare until 1989, after which she took up the position of resource person with an involvement in parish development, pastoral planning and social justice, first for Rockhampton Diocesan Pastoral Services and later at the Mercy Administration Centre in Rockhampton. Anne-Marie coordinated Mercycare, a welfare outreach of the local Sisters of Mercy, as well as coordinating an ecumenical project, the Family Emergency Accommodation Programme (FEAP). Over the years, Anne-Marie’s planning and facilitation skills were engaged, not only by the Sisters of Mercy, but by many local government, community and church organisations throughout Central Queensland and beyond.
As the founder of Centacare, Anne-Marie initiated community development work in a welcoming, inclusive way and the Rockhampton region has benefited enormously from her energy, vision, care and commitment to ensuring the community’s welfare.
Messages to: Anne-Marie Kinnane rsm