Inductees 2012 - Freda Jacob

Freda Jacob

Ninety-two-year-old Freda Jacob says she’s always been a driven woman. She was just the second occupational therapist in the State and began her career after World War II. Much of her early work was with people who had been left crippled by polio epidemics. She went on to found the Independent Living Centre WA in the late 1970s and helped establish the State’s first School of Occupational Therapy.

She was born into a farming family in the small Wheatbelt town of Shackleton. During the war she helped her younger brother run the farm before joining the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force for a year.

At the end of the war she came home to find her brother had married so she had to leave the farm and find a job. Deciding on OT, she set off to study in Sydney.

“I felt these people needed a chance to get back to normal lives,” she said of her career choice. She worked at the Society for Crippled Children and Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, later becoming the head of the OT department at Royal Perth Hospital.

Ms Jacob was involved with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists and travelled the world attending conferences.

She was also a charter member of the Zonta Club of Perth, part of a worldwide organisation of professionals working together to advance the status of women. She led a team to establish six other Zonta clubs in WA, retiring from the club last year after 39 years.

As circumstance has it, Mr Right only came along very early and then very late in her life. She married her childhood sweetheart, Hal Finkelstein, 10 years ago after first meeting him as a child in Shackleton.

They lost touch for decades until they met again in 1999. “The years didn’t make any difference when we saw each other again,” she said.

The West Australian

Article Index
Inductees 2012
Jahna Cedar
Linda Fistonich
Professor Colleen Hayward
Annette Howard
Freda Jacob
The Honourable Antoinette Kennedy AO
Kerry Newick
Dr Casta Tungaraza
Linda Wayman
Professor Samina Yasmeen
Roll of Honour - Susan Adelaide Casson
Roll of Honour - Dr Roberta Jull
Roll of Honour - Dame Annie Florence Gillies Cardell-Oliver
Roll of Honour - Florence Hummerston
Roll of Honour - Isabel Johnston
All Pages

follow us on