Member of the Week – Mary Tarr
Well known throughout The Nationals for her good cheer and hard work, the delightful Mary Tarr makes the first edition of our new segment for the Roundup – Member of the Week. Celebrating our members who have gone above and beyond for the good of our great Party, there’s no better place to start than with Kempsey local, Mary.
Mary Tarr was born in the Macleay and raised on an isolated cattle property between Armidale and Kempsey.
She first joined the Country Party as a young woman, wanting to pursue work in town. Her then local member for Raleigh, Jim Brown, knew her parents well from his days as an insurance agent so gave her a reference and signed her up at the same time. She’s been heavily involved ever since.
A former Oxley Woman of the Year award, Certificates of Appreciation and Merit from the Nationals, a Certificate of Appreciation, Merit and Life Membership of the RSL Women’s Auxiliary, and Fifty Years Service as a Justice of the Peace are all recognition of the devotion she has for her community.
Despite a lifetime of achievement, Mary's generous and humble nature is summed up by the fact that she was most proud to achieve a badge from her local blood-bank when she surpassed 100 donations. Each of those donations has been put to good use, with a bout of ill-health being the only thing stopping Mary pushing on towards the double century mark.
If this love and care for the community can be matched, it’s by her love of the bush and her staunch defence of the land, followed closely by a life-long love of horse-racing for which she regularly reported on in the local press. She also loves national affairs, subscribing to all three major papers, much to the delight of the local newsagent.
When Mary first joined, the Country Party in NSW had one of the biggest memberships of any political force in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the deeply rewarding friendships of her fellow members that she says she has enjoyed most fondly.
When asked about her favourite memories of the Party she is pretty quick to put the focus back on her fellow members , “the phrase ‘salt of the earth’ springs to mind. So many fascinating life stories, so many different approaches and solutions to problems but all striving for a common good”.
Pushed for an example she recounted the story of a luncheon during her time as Chairman of Kempsey Branch. Mark Vaile, the then acting Prime Minister of Australia, and Andrew Stoner, Leader of the NSW Nationals were the guests. Making her remarks to the gathered crowd, Mary took aim at a celebrity so-and-so who had taken a public swipe at Australian culture and values:
“Nowhere else in the world, would you have the Prime Minister here with a State Leader, without guards or minders, addressed by their first names by everyone, debating politics and viewpoints with everyone, piling their own plates at the smorgasboard and getting their own drinks.”
Those are the values of the National Party, Mary says. It got her the biggest applause she’s ever had the pleasure of receiving.
And those are her final words of advice to other members too – “stay strong and true to Nats values because it’s needed more than ever.”
You might remember Mary from her inspirational endorsement of Luke Hartsuyker MP during last year's Federal Election:
We are seeking your help in writing about members you think are inspiring and worthy of a good write-up, so if you have someone in your electorate you think we should be writing about, please feel free to get in touch with the office on 02 9299 5811 or Membership Officer Jack Mallick at email@example.com.