Virginia Edwards AM
Virginia Edwards (Smith ’56) has always had a huge interest in the welfare of animals. She has volunteered at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in North Melbourne for 50 years, helping to shape Lort Smith into the unique organisation it is today. Over this time, Virginia has seen many changes and felt privileged to have worked with wonderful people who all share the philosophy of the Hospital, understanding the strength and importance of the human–animal bond.
Virginia has a firm history with the Hospital. Her grandmother was the Victorian Vice-President of The Animal Welfare League in 1928 and organised many charity balls for the Hospital.
For 35 years Virginia was a board member, chairing the Hospital’s fundraising committee and being part of the creation of the new Hospital building which opened in 2000.
Virginia was a researcher for the Hospital’s history, The Kindness of Strangers, written by Felicity Jack in 2003, and discovered an enormous amount about Lort Smith and its relationship within the community over a long period. She was also strongly involved with the Hospital obtaining Deductible Gift Recipient status, which helped to boost its fundraising ability.
Virginia was honoured in the 2016 Australia Day Honours as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to the community as an advocate for the welfare, care and support of sick and injured animals, and to philanthropy. She is currently assisting the organisation of Lort Smith’s 80th birthday and in the future wishes to set up an archive.
Virginia has been one of the longest serving committee members of the St Catherine’s Old Girls’ Association. She was President in 1982 to 1983, the year her daughter Eliza was Vice-Captain of the School, and again in 1995 to 1996 for the memorable 100th anniversary of St Catherine’s School.
Virginia lives in Melbourne with her cat from Lort Smith, Mr Darcy and a beautiful Golden Retriever, Hallie.
Photo by Chris Hopkins, Fairfax Media