Joy Baluch

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Nancy Joy Baluch AM (10 October 1932 – 14 May 2013) was an Australian politician who served as Mayor of Port Augusta from 1981 to 1993 and from 1995 until her death. Her term as mayor of 29 years is believed to be an Australian record.

Baluch was born in Port Augusta to George Budgen Copley and Jessie Stuart, née Parker. She attended Cook and Port Augusta Primary Schools and Port Augusta High School. She married Teofil Stefan Baluch, a Ukrainian who had been imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp in World War II. She worked as head stenographer for the Mechanical Engineering Branch of Commonwealth Railways between 1949 and 1953, and was owner/proprietor of a motel from 1961 to 1981. She was elected to Port Augusta City Council in 1970.[1]

Baluch became involved in local politics after her son, a severe asthmatic, was born and she became a campaigner for improved health services. After becoming mayor in 1981, she led the successful effort to ban drinking in public places in Port Augusta.[2] She also came to public notice when she imposed a night-time curfew on the citizens of the town in order to reduce violence.

Her husband died 16 years before she did, of lung cancer. As he did not smoke, it was attributed to the power stations where he worked. Baluch campaigned for solar-thermal technology to replace coal-fired power.[3]

She died, still the serving mayor, on 14 May 2013 after a long period with breast cancer.

Honours[edit]

Joy Baluch was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.[4]

She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 "for service to local government in South Australia, particularly through contributions to economic and regional development, and to the community of Port Augusta and region".[5]

A bridge over the Spencer Gulf will be named in her honour.[6]

Baluch starred in a documentary by Dick Smith called Ten Bucks a Litre, released on 1 August 2013,[7] which included a dedication towards her at the end.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lofthouse, Andrea (1982). Who's Who of Australian Women. Methuen Australia. pp. 55–56.
  2. ^ Crouch, Brad (15 May 2013). "Joy Baluch: Iron lady with a big heart". The Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Long-serving outspoken mayor dies". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  4. ^ It's an Honour: Centenary Medal; Retrieved 16 May 2013
  5. ^ It's an Honour: AM; Retrieved 16 May 2013
  6. ^ "Outspoken Port Augusta Mayor Joy Baluch dies after breast cancer battle". The Adelaide Advertiser. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  7. ^ Ten Bucks a Litre. "Ten Bucks a Litre : ABC TV". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  8. ^ Smith, Dick (presenter) (1 August 2013). Ten Bucks a Litre (Television film). Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Civic offices
Preceded by
W. I. C. Howard
Mayor of Port Augusta
1981–1982
Succeeded by
K. Naisbitt
Preceded by
K. Naisbitt
Mayor of Port Augusta
1983–1993
Succeeded by
R. Robertson
Preceded by
R. Robertson
Mayor of Port Augusta
1995–2013
Succeeded by
Sam Johnson