Hazel Hawke

She may have been the wife of one of the country’s most charismatic Prime Ministers, but Hazel Hawke won her place in Australians hearts in her own right. After suffering with dementia for several years, Hazel, 83, died peacefully last night. Kaye had the privilege to interview Hazel a few years ago and it’s an experience she will treasure.

I had the privilege of interviewing Hazel Hawke back in 2000 as one of our first YOURLifeChoices magazine cover subjects.
 
What a lady! She invited me to her home which backed onto one of Sydney’s national parks. We sat in her back garden – she was a keen gardener – and watched native birds dive bombing the birdfeeders she had placed in her trees. She was warm, intelligent and strong on issues that mattered most to her.
 
In particular, she was working hard to raise awareness of the plight of the East Timorese. In fact she had just visited there and was sponsoring a young girl who lived in Dili. She was still a passionate pianist and told me she played every day. She was one of Australia’s most loved first ladies and This morning on ABC Radio reporter Michelle Grattan summed it up when she said that Hazel Hawke used the role of Prime Minister’s wife to advance a lot of good causes.
 
We have lost a genuinely good person.

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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