By Tate Papworth and Ewen McRae


A pioneer for women in ambulance services has been recognised for her decades of work.

Georgie Hall, who received the Essential Services Award at Brimbank’s Australia Day awards, said it was the perfect end to a momentous month.

“It’s very humbling to receive this award,” Ms Hall said.

“I’ve just marked 30 years in ambulance service, so this is the perfect way to top things off.”

Ms Hall has had a distinguished career in the service. In 1987 she was the third female to be appointed within the Ambulance Victoria metro region and in 1995 she became the first female to be appointed as a team manager.

Although she’s had a long and distinguished career, Ms Hall required convincing to apply for a position within the organisation.

“I was initially a nurse and was talked into applying for Ambulance Victoria,” she said.

“I’m glad I did because I absolutely love it and haven’t looked back.”

While her achievements have helped pave the way for other women, Ms Hall doesn’t consider herself a trailblazer.

“I don’t consider myself a pioneer or anything like that,” she said. “I just think I’ve been lucky to have found a job I love and to have had the support of the managers around me.”

Jacinda Richards was recognised as the Educator of the Year for her work as founder and chief executive of not-for-profit dance organisation L2R.

L2R provides free weekly hip-hop dance classes across Melbourne’s west, including taking on board young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“We listened to the voices that said there needed to be a free dance program for young, newly arrived people living in the west,”
Ms Richards said

“Really, it just started as a small community group and has grown over the past five to six years into a full-registered Australian charity working with over 120 young people.

“It was never a light bulb moment – it was just about listening to the community and going from there.”

Ms Richards said that while it had been a challenge to develop the organisation, seeing young people expressing themselves through dance and building friendships in the community made it a fun environment to be around.

“It’s always a highlight working with the amazing, diverse young people I get to be around every day,” she said.

“There’s been a lot of personal development and career development for me – learning how to be a CEO after a background in the arts … that has been interesting.

“But getting to dance every day, embracing dance and enjoying what arts and culture can do for young people has been huge to see.

“We want to build the capacity of the organisation into the future, and going with our vision which is, ‘We believe in one language; dance’.”