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Dr  Joan Elizabeth Hunt Ph.D. Obituary
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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

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Preview Entry
Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling.

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September 19, 2018
I met Joan in 1987 when doing an exchange with my family for a year. My sister's and I went to Ross Creek and Joan couldn't have been more welcoming. That year left a lasting impression on me and I distinctly remember thinking how much more relaxed and fun it was than our UK primary school. Like a previous memory, I also wrote my first (and probably last) book with Joan's help and still have it today.

Joan and Gary became family friends and have visited my parents often on their trips to London. I stayed with them during my gap year and Joan happy took me back to see Ross Creek and the house we had lived in. She also kindly drove me and my friend down to the Great Ocean Road as we couldn't afford to pay for a tour. Even being pulled over by the police for speeding didn't dent her enthusiasm!

My mum was already looking forward to Joan and Gary's next visit to the UK. She will be sadly missed.
September 19, 2018
Joan was a friend and mentor who through her love of history, gave to so many people and especially her colleagues at the Woady Yaloak Historical Society. On a personal level she taught by example and was always available to offer guidance and support. Her consummate professionalism was always obvious and something I valued on the occasions I sought her advice. Her passion was contagious and the knowledge of local history she held in her head was without equal. When conducting the annual guided tour of the Piggoreet township, the details of which Joan compiled, I would tell the punters that here, according to Joan, in 1865 lived Joe Blogs his wife and dog who was blind in one eye, had three legs and 15 fleas. That's the dog not Joe. Such was the detail of her research. Thank you Joan for your friendship you are very much missed Jim Brown
September 19, 2018
James Brown on behalf of the Woady Yaloak Historical Society Inc.
Sadly the Society lost a founding member recently with the sudden passing of Dr Joan Hunt from a severe stroke. Joan was a personal friend and colleague, and a stalwart of our Society.
Her enthusiasm and passion saw our group grow since its inception to be one of the most respected rural societies in the state. During her career in local history many groups have benefited from her membership and academic input. Groups such as the Dandenong and District Historical Society, the Ross Creek History Group, the Linton Historical Society, the Snake Valley Historical Society, the Ballarat Historical Society, the Genealogical Society of Victoria, and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Her association with the committee of our Society was over a period of twenty years with most of those as president. This saw our membership grow to over 300 members for a period, and set the high standard that we continue to uphold.
Her publications and articles have been recognised as authoritative works on local history with her book detailing the history of Ross Creek, Forest and Field as a typical example. Her research on the Piggoreet Township was extensive and detailed and forms the basis of the annual guided tour the Society provides. Her PhD was granted in 2015, the subject of which is the history of the Springdallah goldfields. Unfortunately she will not see the publication of the book that has emerged from her research. Without question it will add to the already impressive legacy she has left all those in the district with an interest in the past.
She was always approachable and made herself available to all. Her consummate professionalism and attention to detail were her hallmarks. She was eagerly sought as a guest speaker with an innate ability to hold an audience and share her knowledge. She leaves us with fond memories and the sense that it was indeed a privilege to work beside her as a colleague and a mentor. Our thoughts are with her husband and consistent supporter Gary, and the family.
September 15, 2018
How lucky we were to have Mrs Hunt as our primary school teacher in little old Ross Creek school. Last I was in Australia while helping mum and dad sort through some 'archives' from under the bed and in the shed I came across the "letter diaries" where Joan wrote to us modelling how to take an interest in others and share our experiences, thoughts and feelings. She'd write things like "What a beaut newsy letter that was", or "Do tell me about ...". Reading over Joan's words thirty years later I was overcome with deep gratitude that as a kid I felt seen, understood, challenged and truly cared about. In writing to Joan I was free to develop my own identity by writing about my interests, dislikes, proud moments and struggles. Joan took us to the Smythesdale cemetery to look at gravestones and imagine the lives of people in the gold rush days. I remember interviewing my grandmothers (wishing I had one of Mrs Hunt's fancy cassette recorders for historians) and making my first family tree. She took us to writers' conferences and helped us publish our own stories which my kids now love to read. We had pen pals in other schools, and from other countries. Joan would tell us stories of Veronica's adventures in SriLanka. In the 'archive sorting' I came across a letter Veronica had written to me teaching me how to write my name in Sinhalese or Tamil, I don't remember. How lucky that I had the experience of seeing myself in connection to my family and community history, and in connection to the wider world. Thank you, Joan. I wish your family peace and wellness. Georgie Watts