Financial security born of prudent investment coupled with a long vital life gave Cecile Phyllis Connor many opportunities to financially support charitable organisations and causes dear to her heart. Following her death in May 2010 when she was 99, she ensured her generosity would continue by establishing a perpetual charitable trust in her Will to distribute income year-after-year to benefit charity in Victoria.

Miss Connor commenced her education at Melbourne Girls Grammar School (MGGS) in 1919 under Miss Kathleen Gilman Jones: the forward-thinking headmistress who did much to advance the education of young women and promote vocational training beyond the social conventions of the era.  Whilst never a strident feminist, Miss Connor was someone who always knew her own mind, and pursued her own many and varied interests with a passion. 

Unusually for a young woman of her background, in the 1930s after College she went on to work for the then still relatively new State Electricity Commission; learning shorthand, typing and bookkeeping. When Australia was drawn into World War II, Miss Connor became a driver for the army, and for a time was involved in collecting information on ports and airfields in the Pacific for the military secret service.

A valued client of Equity Trustees for more than 30 years, Miss Connor chose to leave the majority of her estate in the Phyllis Connor Memorial Trust for “the general benefit of charity in Victoria”, leaving the annual decision as to which charities and causes will be awarded grants at the discretion of her nominated trustees Mr Norman Bourke and Equity Trustees. 

Trusts in action

The Western English Language School (WELS)

In 2017, the Phyllis Connor Memorial Trust is funding the “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body” project at the Western English Language School (WELS), which aims to deliver after-school activities to “support and ease young women’s transition into Australian society and culture”. The activities will focus on women’s health, nutrition, hygiene, career pathways and opportunities, sports, networking and discussions relevant to their experiences.

WELS provides newly-arrived students in the South-West Victoria Region with their first experience of an Australian school. Students attend WELS for an intensive program in English language prior to enrolment in a mainstream setting.

Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand

Firmer Foundations supports women to build their financial capability, knowledge and skills through one-to-one coaching and group work. The program received $100k from the Phyllis Connor Memorial Trust in 2016.

A free service provided by the Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand network, Firmer Foundation helps those throughout the Mornington Peninsula and in the western suburbs of Melbourne.