Joan’s life-long commitment to canoeing began in the late 1940’s when Joan joined Bruce Morison to convene a meeting that established the Youth Hostels Association Canoe Club. The club provided the opportunity for YHA members to experience canoeing up to 1974. In fact, they actually conducted the first NSW Canoe Championships under the auspices of the NSW Canoe Association.
Joan’s involvement with canoeing crossed all disciplines and facets of the sport at local, state and national levels.
With a background of club and state canoeing administration, Joan was elected to the honorary position of Secretary-General of the Australian Canoe Federation in 1983. Her vision and enthusiasm for canoeing consolidated the establishment of the first national office in 1986 and her subsequent appointment as the National Executive Director.
Joan worked tirelessly to establish a sound financial base and efficient management procedures, which moved the organisation of canoeing from the kitchen table to a respected sporting administration. This was a period of extensive growth for canoeing and the result at international level confirmed the credibility of the organisation.
Joan was held in high regard by the Australian Sports Commission and took every opportunity to initiate development proposals and attract increased financial support.
The establishment of the national training centres for Flatwater (Gold Coast) and Slalom (Tasmania) were a direct result of her persistent lobbying to the government.
When Joan stepped down from full-time working 1988, she directed her energy and enthusiasm unto a myriad of voluntary canoeing activities.
From the organisation of state and national events, to the conduct of Board of Canoe Education courses, coaching individual paddlers and competing in canoe marathon events, to working at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Joan has always been in the midst of the action!
In 1992, Joan was awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) for services to the sport of canoeing and in 2003 became a life member of Australian Canoeing.