16 September, 2022
Probus Club News
By Shirley Marks
The September meeting commenced with the usual formalities, followed by the induction of three new members who were welcomed and presented with their name badges by president Pat Thompson. These were Sally Corliss, Jeanette Cruickshank, and Bev Rogers.
Mrs Thompson then read a nomination
which had been received suggesting
that Shirley Mudford be conferred with
the honour of life membership of the
Probus Club of Gilgandra for her outstanding
service to the club. It was noted
that Shirley Mudford has taken on the
role of president twice and has also held
most other positions within the club
since joining in 1998. She always supported
any activities that the club has
been involved in, travelled on many trips
organised by probus and has a keen interest
in preserving the history of the club,
having many photograph albums of past
Only last month she (at the age of
94 years young) was the club’s guest
speaker talking about how probus came
about in the UK, how it expanded to
Australia and NZ and then Gilgandra.
Mrs Mudford, who was present at the
meeting and had no idea of what had
been planned, was overwhelmed when
president Thompson invited her to accept
life membership of the club and then presented
her with a beautiful bouquet.
Following a lovely morning tea and
congratulations, guest speaker co-ordinator
Phil Yeo, prepared to introduce guest
speaker, Gail Babbage – however the
vagaries of modern technology intervened!
Ms Babbage was then invited to
give a brief talk to those present and
return to the October meeting with her
For Ms Babbage life commenced on a
farm owned by her parents near Breelong
National Park. She was the eldest of a
family of eight, five girls and three boys.
Those who attended Australia Day concerts
at the club in past years’ would
remember well the recitations and songs
performed by her father Col McCarthy.
She then went on to give an overview
of career in architecture, which has been
her passion and life work.
On finishing high school in Dubbo,
Ms Babbage set off to study in San
Francisco. She worked and studied business
management in a beautiful restaurant
owned by Nestle and from there she
worked in Boston, New York, Philadelphia
and London eventually working in
marketing for Foster Wheeler, a global
engineering company. Here she visited
an oil platform in the North Sea and her
engineering interest was sparked.
Eventually, Ms Babbage returned to
Australia and in the 1980s moved to Brisbane
where she commenced work with
Robert Riddel. Riddel Architecture eventually
merged with Conrad Gargett Riddel
who undertake work in conserving old
buildings and turning them into something
new, in addition to new constructions.
Works have been undertaken for
state and federal governments and also
the United Nations.
in Ethiopia and Myanmar are encouraged
to take care of their own buildings
and are supported in their work. She continues
to be involved in all these works.
On the local scene, she reminded us that since returning to Gilgandra she has converted the old masonic temple into a lovely home with mezzanine level and her next challenge is converting the 3D’s Butchery shop into a provedore/coffee shop with entertainment area. The next meeting will be really something to look forward to, with Ms Babbage illustrating her interesting talk with pictures of the many architectural styles she has worked on.