Member of the Week - Mary Beven
It all started for Mary when her friend Wally Mitchell decided to run for Parliament and asked her to lend him a hand. Back then, Broken Hill was Labor territory and there wasn’t strong Country Party support out in the Far West. So when Wally came to town, Mary and her husband Peter introduced him to everyone they knew.
Although Wally was unsuccessful, Mary and Peter joined the Country Party soon after the election and Mary has been a dynamic force in the Party ever since.
Mary has many great memories from her time in the Party. She recalls her first ever Conference in Cobar being excellent and quite the learning curve – by the end of it, she knew how the Upper House and Parliament worked.
In 2007, Mary passionately campaigned for the Party to elect John Williams, who was up against Labor incumbent Peter Black. They won the seat on just over a 10 per cent swing.
Mary remembers hurrying back to the campaign office to announce excitedly, “We won our polling booth!” To which she got the reply, “Mary, everyone won their polling booths.”
Manning the polling booths is something Mary loves. “It’s great. There is always people you know from around town handing out for the other parties. You get to have a bit of a joke and trade insults, nothing nasty of course just poke a bit of fun!”
When Mary’s not helping out with the Nationals, she’s putting her heart and soul into other areas of the Broken Hill community. She has been highly involved in the Royal Flying Doctor Women’s Axillary and over the years she’s held many roles including President and Treasurer. Mary also organises the Royal Flying Doctors' Ball once a year – a full-time job in itself.
Caption: Mary (second from the right) with the Royal Flying Doctor Women's Axillary
Mary also volunteers once a week at the Broken Hill Hospital Kiosk, which is said to be the best in NSW and for a long time, has been part of the Isolated Children’s Parents' Association, an organisation which is so important for kids and parents who are living far out in the bush. As well as this, once a week Mary takes part in a game of Scrabble to keep her mind sharp.
Mary’s advice to current members is to hang in there, stay involved and keep active.
She believes it is her years spent with The Nationals that’s allowed her to become such a good public speaker, after time as Treasurer of the Broken Hill Branch and Secretary of the Parkes FEC when John Cobb was the Member. She remembers the first time she spoke publicly being so nervous she had to grab a glass of brandy after.
Mary is ecstatic that Conference will be held in Broken Hill this year and is looking forward to welcoming Nationals members to town.
“It’ll be great for people to see what our beautiful town has got to offer. We had some rain recently so the land is looking very nice right now.”
Cover photo caption: Mary Beven with husband Peter on holiday in France.
Cover photo courtesy of Mike Blake, Broken Hill Branch