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Awarded for service to the Community, service to Government
Entered on roll: 2007
Jan was a great friend of the people of Burnie, willing to champion any cause she felt was in the best interests of the community. She really loved Burnie and wanted only the best for the city she cared so much for, and its residents of all ages and abilities.
Alvwyn Boyd, Mayor, Burnie City Council
Jan Blizzard was born in Burnie and married Michael Blizzard. They had three children - a son, Zachary, and two daughters, Kate and Emily.
After leaving school at age 14, Jan worked as a radio announcer on 7BU. Her radio career lasted from 1949-62 and was typified by her work for women and children, which touched so many people. She had a variety of career roles including restaurateur and small business owner. She was also a music teacher for many years and loved to help develop young musicians. She established a very successful youth choir and was involved with the Burnie Eisteddfod for several years. Jan also took a keen interest in her family's involvement with the Burnie Emu Musicians and Musical Society, and was actively involved for many years in local dance graduations in her role as compere.
Jan was a member of and Fundraising Quest Coordinator for Multicap Tasmania from 1983-99. She played a key role in the organisation and running of the state-wide Multicap quest. As well as being an important part of the social fabric of Tasmania, these quests were a major factor in raising awareness of and funds for Multicap, an organisation devoted to helping people with disabilities. She targeted young women she could see had the potential to do more and often convinced them to become the most they could be.
Jan also played a key role as the North-West Coordinator of the Republican movement and was a passionate advocate for the cause, running the North-West campaign almost single-handedly.
Her anger at a proposed cut to funding for Burnie Park led her to stand for election to the Burnie City Council. Jan was elected as the top polling candidate in 2000. She became involved in numerous initiatives such as the Burnie City Youth Council, Positive Ageing Committee, the 20-Year Management Plan for Burnie Park and management plans for West Park, Fern Glade and the foreshore. Council General Manager Paul Arnold, said he often referred to Alderman Blizzard as the “Minister for Parks”, such was her passion for Burnie’s parklands.
Jan was particularly passionate about providing a voice for all of her community. She believed that to be an effective councillor she should have the ability to genuinely listen to people and communicate their concerns, hopes, wishes or suggestions back to the council. As a well-loved community leader, Jan possessed a strong penchant for consultation and was closely in touch with the feelings of her community. She passionately believed in Burnie, and saw a very strong future for the city.
Jan was awarded the Centenary Medal in January 2001 in recognition of her service to the community and public.
Diagnosed with a brain tumour in early 2007, Jan died on 8 March 2007. Her daughter, Kate, recalls Jan’s great loves as being her family, her garden, jazz, football and her community. Jan was, in her own words,
“… a mature sensible woman not given to using meaningless phrases, but dedicated to hard work, setting goals and getting good results for the people of Burnie.”