The Ann Williams Clark Award
History of the Award
The Ann Williams Clark Award for ‘Long and Outstanding Service by a Member to his/her Affiliated Club’, was established in 1998 by the Federal Committee of the Garden Clubs of Australia Inc.It was first presented at the 1999 AGM to Mervyn Gordon from Lindisfarne Garden Club and hence until 2011 when, with the numbers of nominations being too numerous, a decision was made to review the Award.
The Judges and Committee in 2011 made the decision that Affiliated Clubs may now only nominate onemember of their Club, per calendar year, to receive this Medallion for presentation by their club. It is in recognition of the nominated member’s long and outstanding service to their club.
Ann Williams Clark
Ann was born in Philadelphia into a very musical family and she often spoke of the happy evenings they spent together. She trained as a nurse and when American troops were being sent to the Philippines in WW2 she decided to enlist and go with them to care for the sick and wounded. Unfortunately, the nurses were taken prisoner by the Japanese and they were confined in very poor circumstances and feared for their lives. They had to exist on a starvation diet – one small bowl of rice a day and this they supplemented by eating anything they could find foraging in the undergrowth, ginger roots being a delicacy. Eventually free, she married an airman and they were posted to New Zealand and ultimately Sydney.
Ann had many interests, all enjoyed equally. She loved the garden. She was a born horticulturist and she knew every tree and plant you could produce, all by their Latin names. She loved music and belonged to Killara Music Society for many years, spending much time organising the programs for each meeting. She also attended the opera regularly. Ann loved people and was renowned for her hospitality, her beautiful cooking, and entertaining.
Ann really enjoyed being active in the Garden Clubs of Australia for so many years; helping new clubs to be formed, visiting outlying clubs to have direct contact with the members and giving them advice. She was overjoyed to see what lovely gardens could be grown with loving care under difficult conditions such as drought, flood, and frost.
Due to poor nutrition and lack of facilities in the wartime POW camp, her health deteriorated and she constantly required medical attention over the years. She never complained and lived a normal life as long as she was able.
She had two sons, one residing in Sydney and one in America. When she could no longer fly, she missed being able to see the two grandchildren and it was a delight when they visited. Ann passed away on 2nd January 1999.
She was a much loved an energetic member of the GCA Federal Committee (travelling widely to promote the organisation) and giving so much inspiration, warmth and hospitality, burning up her sometimes-flagging energy, to promote the GCA motto ‘Friendship through Gardens’. Ann was a member of both Killara and Chatswood Garden Clubs NSW.
In 1982 Ann was awarded a Life Membership of The Garden Clubs of Australia.
Ann’s positions with The Garden Clubs of Australia were:
- 1971 Federal Committee and Acting Treasurer
- 1972 Treasurer
- 1973-75 Vice President
- 1976 Vice President & Editor (Quarterly Magazine)
- 1977-78 President and Editor
- 1978-80 President
- 1980-82 Vice President and Director of Zones
- 1982-83 Editor
- 1983-86 President
- 1986-97 Welfare Officer