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Barbara Millie Sattler MBE

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Barbara Sattler

Awarded for service to the Community

Born: 1926

Entered on roll: 2006

Barbara Sattler was born in Hobart in 1926, the only daughter of Bernard and Rita Kilmartin. She had an older brother, Geoff. She grew up in New Norfolk and attended St Brigid’s Convent School and later St Mary’s College in Hobart. Barbara was married in 1948 and has five children (one son deceased) and 14 grandchildren. Her husband passed away in 1986.

Barbara worked at the University of Tasmania until 1986. During this time, she was appointed to the University Council. She was also a member of the Advisory Board of the State Library of Tasmania and a member of the Advisory Boards of the Royal Hobart and St John’s Park Hospitals.

An hereditary eye disease affected Barbara’s brother when he was 18 and he became legally blind. Her aunt was also legally blind and Barbara realised what it meant when someone was cut off from the enjoyment of reading. This sparked her interest in library services for people with print disabilities. Barbara established the Hear a Book Service in 1972, with the financial assistance of the Tasmanian Apex clubs and friends.

For the first 18 years she was Honourable Secretary and she has been President ever since. The Hear a Book Service is a non-profit organisation based in Hobart serving people with print disabilities throughout Australia and New Zealand. The Service is the largest producer of analogue recorded books in Australia. The Service has a catalogue of more than 11,700 books recorded by volunteers in their own homes.

There are also monthly cassette selections available from a number of popular magazines such as Women’s Weekly, New Idea, House and Garden, Australian Geographic and National Geographic.

Barbara’s contribution and commitment to the Hear a Book Service, which spans 34 years, has been recognised with many awards including being made a Member of the British Empire in 1979 and being awarded the Centenary Award. She has also received the Award for Enterprise, the Advance Australia Award, the David Blyth Award from the National Federation of Blind Citizens of Australia, the Redmond Barry Award from the Library Association of Australia, and the Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International, and is included in the 2006 Who’s Who of Australian Women.

At 80, Barbara’s interests include her friends and family, the Hear a Book Service, being a Friend of Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, a member of the committee of the University of Tasmanian Retirees and being involved with the Soldiers’ Walk Inc, Queens Domain, Hobart. She is also a courier for the State Library.

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