Maydena pioneer farewelled

THERE was a large congregation at the funeral of Maydena pioneer Mona Cannan at St Matthew’s Church in New Norfolk yesterday morning. Born at Westbury in 1926, Mrs Cannan lived a long life of community service and will be sorely missed in many parts of the Derwent Valley.

Mrs Cannan’s association with the Derwent Valley began when she was appointed as a teacher at Westerway Primary School in 1946. She met and married Ross Cannan and the couple were among the first families to move into the new homes built when Maydena was established as a newsprint town. The couple had seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mr Cannan died about 10 years ago.

Mrs Cannan spent many years teaching at Maydena Primary School and delighted in its growth from two to five classrooms. She was a life member of the RSL Women’s Auxiliary and was awarded the Gold Badge, a national RSL Award. In later years she helped establish the Waratah Day Club which organised many events and outings for senior citizens of the Maydena area. She was secretary of the Maydena Community Development Association during the critical years of the newsprint company’s withdrawal from the town.

Mona’s keen interest in local history led to her writing many articles for the Derwent Valley Gazette and ultimately the publishing of a book titled Winds of Change: Maydena and its School, as well as a contribution to The Derwent Valley: From Federation to Millennium.

In 2001 The Gazette and Norske Skog recognised Mona as a Community Leader of the Month. In the same year, students of Maydena Primary School created a cardboard cut-out of Mona which was entered in the national “Peoplescape” project as part of the Centenary of Federation. This life-size representation was one of 5000 from around Australia which were displayed at Parliament House in Canberra.

Yesterday’s largely attended funeral was conducted by Celia Hooker, who recalled her own association with Mona over the years. Mona’s final resting place is at the Tyenna cemetery.

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