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Dot Collier, M.B.E.
Sydney editor and community activist

Dot Collier (Dorothy Noreen Collier) (image)

Dot Collier

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Dot Collier (full name: Dorothy Noreen Collier), M.B.E., was a respected newspaper and community activist in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.


In the years 1936-88 Dot worked as the honorary secretary of the Maroubra Chamber of Commerce.She was listened to with respect by politicians of both ends of the spectrum and at both local Council and State levels.

In 1967 the Randwick Ratepayers and Residents Association was established with her assistance and guidance. She supported the N.S.W. Police's Neighbourhood Watch initiative which she believed contributed to local community spirit and brought people together.

Beginning in 1942 Dot, together with her husband Harold, ran The Messenger Print Pty. Ltd. and edited The Messenger newspaper and she continued at the helm after the latter's death in 1981.

She helped establish the "Windgap" Special School for handicapped children in Coogee. With the help of others in the community, Windgap filled a great community need since its inception in the 1950s.

Dot was a longstanding member of the Prince Henry Hospital Auxiliary. She was "instrumental in having many changes made for the staff, patients and family members of ill persons"[1] at the hospital. With the assistance of her husband and of the members of Rotary, she helped set up Rotary House, a motel-type accommodation available at modest rates to the family members of country patients being treated at the Royal Prince Henry Hospital.

Later on, she worked closely with and provided valuable guidance for two organisations -- A.R.A.F.M.I. (Assocation for Relatives and Families of the Mentally Ill) and A.M.I. (Alliance for the Mentally Ill). Both of those organisations were strong advocacy bodies which worked towards developing community awareness of the difficulties experienced by families and friends of the mentally ill.

She worked tirelessly in making submissions and raising public awareness with the goal of making changes in the Mental Health Act at both the Federal and the State levels. She fought for a better share of resources to be allocated for the care of the mentally ill and urged the many different mental health groups to come together and present a united front.

She also promoted the raising of funds for research into better mental health medications so that sufferers could find relief from the then troubling side-effects of their medicines and would thus would thus be more likely to continue with their prescribed treatment and live normal lives and enjoy their work and social activities.

Over the years Dot Collier was also associated with literally scores of other community and charitable organisations.

Recognition and Awards

• Randwick Council's Inaugural Awards for Outstanding Community Service -- awarded jointly to Dot and her husband Harold.

• Paul Harris Award - awarded by Rotary and rarely awared to a woman [1]

• Don Collier Memorial Fund - $5,000 initially donated by the mourners at Don Collier's funeral and further funds raised by Rotary and other organisations(e.g. A.R.A.F.M.I.) to the total of $10,000 for the benefit of the mentally ill and administered by The Hunter Hospital, Newcastle.

* M.B.E. [Member of the Order of the British Empire], 1971, "for service to the community". [2]

• Collier Place - small street in a new housing estate in South Maroubra named in 1991 to honour Dorothy and Harold Collier.


"Dorothy was a great lady of many talents. She could see possiblities for improvement in many situations. She had the capacity to formulate plans to change those situations and to bring to fruition what appeared to many as ' the impossible' . [1]

She was very generous to people of all backgrounds and cheerful. She had a love of her extended family and many friends. She had a great gift of story telling, a great command of language and a vivid imagination.

Personal Life

Dot Collier was the daughter of Albert Donovan, a newspaper owner and an alderman on Randwick Council.

At the age of 13 she "visited patients at the Prince of Wales Military Hospital, carrying matches or packets of cigarette papers in a wicker basket, with fellow students from Randwick High." [3]

In her youth she was interested in music and had her own twelve piece band at Kingsford and entertained people during the Depression years.

She was married to Harold Collier, who passed away in 1981. They had two children, Keith and Don. Keith was involved in the printing business, and Don (or "Donnie" as he was nicknamed) suffered from schizoprenia from an early age.

After a long struggle with cancer, she passed away on 9 March 1991.


1. "Maroubra Loses a Community Leader", in: The Messenger, 13 March 1991.
2. 1979 Birthday Honours, Retrieved 21 September 2017.
3. Katrina Willis, "A Publisher Inspired to Serve", in: Southern Courier, c. May 1988.

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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)

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