KIAMA’S first female mayor, Ruth Devenney, will be farewelled at a private funeral after she passed away suddenly last Thursday at David Berry Hospital.
Kiama Mayor Sandra McCarthy served her first three terms on Kiama Council alongside Mrs Devenney and described her as a champion for Minnamurra.
‘‘I remember sometimes as mayor, Ruth would come up to me and ask, ‘What about Minnamurra? Is there anything there for Minnamurra?’,’’ she said.
Cr McCarthy said Mrs Devenney was a critical thinker, who stood up for residents’ rights and saw potential problems before they happened.
‘‘With her critical questioning, she was often proved to be right,’’ she said. ‘‘She was very much ahead of her time, she was a person of conviction.’’
Kiama Downs resident Richard Maitland, who served as Mrs Devenney’s deputy mayor on the 1991-95 council, said she was passionate about the environment, heritage and culture of Kiama.
‘‘The Spring Creek area (rehabilitation) was heavily pushed by her. She was a leading light for North Kiama Neighbourhood Centre. She’s left a significant legacy,’’ he said.
Mrs Devenney served on the council from 1990 until 2008. She became Kiama’s first female mayor for the 1991-92 year and became deputy mayor to Joyce Wheatley the following year.
A section of the Swamp Oak Forest between Minnamurra and Dunmore, which she rehabilitated with the Minnamurra Environment Group, was named Ruth Devenney Reserve last August. She called the reserve her proudest achievement.