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Marie Lowndes Charitable Foundation

In October 2015, Coast Shelter was approach by an anonymous benefactor wishing to establish a memorial to acknowledge Marie Lowndes’ contribution to the Central Coast Community. It was agreed that programs focussing on the prevention of domestic violence would be the primary aim of the Marie Lowndes Charitable Foundation. The Charitable Foundation was officially launched on the 18th December 2015 by Karen McNamara, Member for Dobell, and Lucy Wicks, Member for Robertson.

The establishment of the Charitable Foundation strengthens Coast Shelter’s existing programs which work with victims of domestic violence:
Kara Women and Children’s Refuge
Neleh Women and Children’s Refuge
Elandra Women and Children’s Refuge
Maya Young Women’s Refuge

The Charitable Foundation has allowed Coast Shelter to establish the following services:

Love Bites Program:
This Program provides a comprehensive educational program for local high schools to ensure that all of our young people have an understanding of domestic violence and their right to be free from abuse of any kind.

Temporary Accommodation Caseworkers
These specialised workers ensure caring and effective support to women and children fleeing domestic violence who are staying in Housing NSW’s Temporary Accommodation. We have also been able to purchase motor vehicles, including a twelve seater bus, to allow us to effectively facilitate the above programs. Coast Shelter is honoured to deliver these additional services in memory of Marie Lowndes’ and in recognition of her generous contribution to our local community.

About Marie Lowndes

Marie Lowndes was probably the most notable Director of Nursing at Gosford Hospital, she was a staunch feminist and a leader in nurse education. Marie Lowndes was the former Director of Nursing for Gosford Hospital and the first Area Director of Nursing for Central Coast Health. Marie was raised in Newcastle and her nursing career began in February 1947 as a student nurse at the Royal Newcastle Hospital.

In January 1956, after working at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Waratah where she gained her Midwifery Certificate, Marie joined the staff at Gosford hospital and, after three years in general wards, Marie was asked to pioneer a program of expansion of the district nursing service in Woy Woy and surrounding areas.Marie became involved with many community activities, supporting the health services and many in-house hospital activities, raising funds to improve health services.

The establishment of the Hospital Chapel was her 'baby'. Marie completed her Diploma of Nursing Administration and, in 1972 after serving as Deputy Matron since 1964, became the third Matron (Director of Nursing) of Gosford Hospital in 1972. She went on to become Area Director of Nursing until her retirement in 1987. Marie was a very strong advocate for nurses and nursing education during her nursing career. It was under her leadership that Gosford Hospital came to be highly regarded throughout the state for its nurse training and education programs.

In 1979, Marie was appointed Chairman of the then NSW Nurses Education Board, further raising the profile of nursing. She also held a number of other influential positions including: Council Member, the then NSW College of Nursing; President, of the then Institute of Nursing Administrators of NSW and ACT; and Member of the Professional Advisory Committee to the then NSW Minister for Health. Her contribution to nursing was recognised in 1981 when she received the honour of Member of the Order of Australia.

Marie's administrative ability, extensive health care experience in both the hospital and the community settings, as well as her personal qualities enabled her to make a tremendous contribution to the role of the nurse and nursing in health care. Nursing was Marie's life work - she had drive and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy and was a gifted public speaker. Marie was held in high esteem throughout nursing and the health services of New South Wales and the community on the Central Coast. After a long illness, Marie died on the 6th June 2010.