Founder of Age Concern dies

Jean Hall
Jean Hall

JEAN Hall, the former social worker who founded Age Concern Albury-Wodonga in 1977, died in a Sydney nursing home last week, three months after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Age Concern and School for Seniors, which she also started, have had a profound effect on the lives of several thousand over-50s over 35 years.

Mrs Hall, 86, was a Melbourne vicar’s daughter who experienced polio from the age of five to 11 and could not play sport until she was 14.

As Jean Hammond, she studied social work at Melbourne University.

In 1948 she married Geoff Hall, a former prisoner of war in Changi and Japan.

The couple had three children — Brenda, Janice and Peter — and in 1970 they moved to a property at Jindera, running an Arabian horse stud.

A television program about a school for seniors in Sydney prompted Mrs Hall to think of starting one for Albury-Wodonga.

Both Age Concern and the school for seniors began in March 1977, with Mrs Hall being Age Concern president until 1983 and voluntary co-ordinator of the school.

However, she always insisted the work wasn’t hers alone but involved many co-workers.

Mrs Hall worked mostly voluntary, and almost full-time, for Age Concern until 1998, being chief executive officer from 1983 to 1988 when it had grown to merit a paid officer.

Her honours included the Order of Australia Medal and Albury citizen of the year in 1984.

In 1998, due to poor health, Mrs Hall reluctantly retired from Age Concern and she and Mr Hall moved to Laurieton on the NSW north coast, joining their daughter Brenda in Sydney in 2004.

She returned to the Border for the 30th anniversary of Age Concern, remarking that the original idea had been driven by boredom.

“We moved up here from Melbourne and there was nothing for old people to do,” she said.

Mrs Hall said the school was always “more than the learning, it is the camaraderie and the funny things you remember most.”

A funeral for Mrs Hall will be held at Pennant Hills today.