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Ratcliff, Patricia Margaret Fitgerald OAM

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Ratcliff, Patricia Mary

Awarded for service to Cultural Heritage

Born: 14 May 1928

Died: 31 May 2010

Entered on roll: 2011

Patricia Ratcliff was born in Victoria in 1928. She attended school at Dandenong until the age of 13 and then attended Stott’s Business College. She later gained matriculation to the University of Melbourne.

Patricia married Dr Eric Ratcliff in Brisbane in 1964 before they settled in Tasmania for his work.

Patricia was a passionate protector of heritage buildings and an historian. 

During the 1960s, Patricia became a Member of the Southern Regional Committee of the National Trust. She and her husband were responsible for the establishment of the Derwent Valley Group and, after moving to Flinders Island, were responsible for the formation of the National Trust Furneaux Group.

The Furneaux Group set about saving and restoring the significant heritage building, Wybalenna Chapel. The Chapel was restored and is now a historic site. She wrote its history, The Story of Wybalenna.

Patricia was also responsible for organising a petition with over 4 000 signatures to save Macquarie House which now stands as an elegant Georgian building gracing Civic Square, Launceston.

In 1984, the owner of the C H Smith Building decided to have it demolished, despite it being listed on the National Trust Register. Patricia led a group of supporters who stood in front of the excavators to protect the building. The building is now to be restored and its historical value retained.

Patricia was a founding member and inaugural Secretary of the Launceston Historical Society. She also introduced the John West Memorial Lecture in conjunction with The Examiner newspaper at this time.

Patricia produced a number of historical publications. Of particular note, and twenty years in the making, is The usefulness of John West: dissent and difference in the Australian colonies, (2003).

Patricia was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2004 for service to the preservation of heritage buildings and to the recording of historical events in Tasmania.

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