Gwen Jarvis

Gwen Jarvis
Living Treasure

Gwen Jarvis was the second daughter of Charles and Doris McPhee and was born at home in Close Avenue, Dandenong in 1922. 

She attended Dandenong West Primary School followed by Dandenong High School, where she was a prefect in her final year. 
Church was an important part of her family’s life and it was here that Gwen met her husband, Maurie.  They were married in the Methodist Church in 1944, when Maurie was home on wartime leave from the Torres Strait Islands. 

Gwen and Maurie had supported each other in the numerous ways.  They contributed to the welfare of the community, including throughout Maurie’s long service in local politics. As a committee member, Gwen worked to provide or improve many community facilities such as the Truby King Infant Welfare Centre, Dandenong West Kindergarten and Primary School and the Girl Guides Association. 

For forty years she was a volunteer with Dandenong’s Festival of Music and Art for Youth.  She also helped establish the YWCA in Dandenong and her work was recognised when their facility in Hammond Road was named in her honour.

In all her voluntary capacities, Gwen had been motivated by a genuine love and compassion for all people. She was happiest in the role of making others feel comfortable and welcome. This was a feature of the way she fulfilled the role of Lady Mayoress of Dandenong on three separate occasions and work as an Elder in Dandenong Trinity Uniting Church.

In her private life, this generosity of spirit led Gwen to open her home to others in need.  There are many other organisations that have benefited from Gwen’s input, but its perhaps her association with ‘Wallara’ that had been of greatest significance to Gwen. She had gained enormous satisfaction from contributing to the growth in the facilities that ‘Wallara’ provides for those with different abilities.