Barb is a whirlwind in her local community

Barb Phillips standing in a garden beside a house smiling.

They say that when a job needs doing, give it to a busy person. That description fits Barb Phillips of Glenorchy to a tee.

When the Tasmanian chapter of the Girls’ Friendly Society (GFS) decided to publish its history, Barb was the obvious person for the task. She had been a member of the ministry organisation since 1959 and had a keen interest in researching and writing family history.

Her book God’s light shines: the story of the Girls’ Friendly Society in the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania: from 1901-2012 was launched by the Society’s world president in 2015.

Barb is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the Tasmanian chapter. “Only four of us are under 70 years old,” she says. “They’re a great bunch. We meet at my house every second month and we also enjoy going out for lunches.”

The GFS is not the only community organisation Barb is involved with. Her association with the Girl Guides started 32 years ago when her five-year-old daughter joined up and it continued when three more daughters came along.

In her current role as District Manager of the Wellington Guides (a unit that spans several of Hobart’s biggest central suburbs) Barb oversees the finances and a team of leaders.

“This year marked 110 years for guiding in Tasmania so we’ve had some big events to celebrate and there’s a State camp coming up for the older girls,” she said.

The Guides presented Barb with a Banksia Award last year to recognise her service to the district. She has also received a Boronia award and Faith Awareness award.

Barb has been a volunteer at Calvary Hospital for the past 16 years. She was recognised with a Spirit of Calvary Award in 2018. She still volunteers for two days a week compiling documentation for patients booked in for surgery and data entry. She was also until recently the manager of the uniform shop at Lenah Valley Primary School.

In the little spare time that she has, Barb enjoys reading, quilting, knitting and researching and writing the family history. In August 2017 she graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Diploma of Family History. “I hate sitting around!” she says.

With her five children and their families living in Victoria and New South Wales, Barb has her fingers crossed they will be able to come together this Christmas.

“Four of the five have medical careers and are currently working on the COVID frontline vaccinating, testing and contact tracing,” she says. “My first grandchild has just graduated with a degree in Medicine from the University of Hawaii and I wouldn’t be surprised if her younger sister heads the same way.”

Barb has used Anglicare’s home care services for the past five years. She finds the domestic and gardening assistance invaluable as it “takes pressure off ageing joints”.

“It’s a real blessing, I am so lucky.”

Anglicare supports the Every Age Counts campaign. Today is Ageism Awareness Day – find out more here.

Read a media release from Anglicare Australia here.

More information

Anglicare’s home care services ensure older Tasmanians can remain living at home for as long as possible. You are welcome to phone us on 1800 466 300 to find out more.

Barb thoroughly recommends the Diploma of Family History that is available through the University of Tasmania. “You can enrol at any time and you can choose the order in which you take the units,” she says.

The Girls’ Friendly Society welcomes new members.

The Wellington District Guides are currently looking for new leaders aged 18+ and junior leaders aged 13-14. Please contact Katrina Sparkes on 62 444408 if you are interested.

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