Tireless advocate for town

Not enough recognition has been given to Rose Murphy, nee Woodland, in Wodonga.

Rose was born in 1864 to John and Winfred Woodland. At the time Yackandandah Shire Council administered Wodonga and John Woodland was a Wodonga representative. In 1876 when Wodonga separated from Yackandandah John was elected our first Shire President.

In 1886 Rose married Joseph Murphy who had been a teacher at Wodonga West. Sadly Joseph died eight years later and Rose conducted an accountancy office in Melbourne for some time.

In 1908 Rose returned to Wodonga and became Shire Treasurer at a salary of £10 per annum, and also assisted her father in his duties.

Then in 1913, on the death of her father, Rose was appointed Shire Secretary. It was a role she filled until 1932. It was reported in The Argus “This lady enjoys the distinction of being the only one of her sex who has filled a municipal appointment. Mrs Murphy was subsequently chosen as treasurer to the Wodonga Waterworks Trust.”

In 1919 Rose worked hard to raise funds for the erection of a band rotunda in Wodonga Reserve which had been known as Schlink’s Green. The final cost was £197. The reserve had been laid out as a result of funding provided to Shires to provide employment for returned soldiers. At the opening of the Rotunda the reserve was renamed Woodland Grove in recognition of the late John Woodland.

During the Great War Rose gave outstanding service for the cause for which Australia fought, she was involved in various community efforts caring for the comfort of troops. Her home was a welcome refuge for soldiers who may have been far from home.

Due to ill health Rose resigned from Council in 1932 and continued to reside in Havelock Street.

On her resignation the Wodonga and Towong Sentinel reported “From 1913 until the end of 1932 the duties were carried out without a hitch. Councillors and those closely associated with the Council know how well those duties have been executed, and how often she has managed to keep Councillors within the bounds of the Local Government Act.

Rose passed away in October 1939, not having had children, and is buried in Wodonga Cemetery.