About Us

The Institue Of Home Economics Australia (NSW Division)

The Home Economics Institute of Australia (NSW Division) is a dynamic organisation drawn from members across the profession. The Association was formed in 1962 and therefore has a long history.

The NSW Division is conduit to the National Institute which was established to:

  • provide a national focus for home economics and home economists
  • promote public recognition of the role of home economists
  • set professional standards for the practice of home economics and promote the professional standing of home economists
  • encourage and assist home economists with continuing education and professional development
  • encourage, initiate and coordinate research into areas related to home economics
  • cooperate and affiliate with bodies at a state, national and international level, concerned with the education and advocacy for families and households in their everyday living
Membership is through the National Body www.heia.com.au and entitles you to support and activities in NSW as well as National benefits.

Membership will give you access to:

Member only activities
Conferences, seminars and functions provide professional information as well as an opportunity to network with colleagues in the industry. You can join HEIA by visiting the national web page and downloading an application form www.heia.com.au

A Newsletter is produced each quarter and is the main source of communication between the Management Committee and the membership. It carries dates of the activites, special events, useful new websites, educational and industry reports.

This online feature provides an opportunity for you to have your say on matters effecting Home Economics and related topics.

Job bank
A special place for job vacancies to be advertised.

Upcoming Events
Check the home page for some of the events. Join and you can find the dates and venues of all forthcoming events.

General meeting details
The Management Committee meets on a Saturday approximately four times per year. Dates/times are advertised in the general meetings table all members are urged to attend and participate.


It was considered by those working in the field of Home Economics, people from industry, public utilities, education (secondary, tertiary and technical), and journalism, that a professional association should be formed. A meeting was called on November 1st 1961 by Jean Peacock, Inspector of Schools in the NSW Department of Education and an Interim Committee elected. On 28th February 1962 the Association was formed and elected Edith Cox as its President and Jean Learmont as Secretary. Throughout that year the Committee worked to prepare a Constitution and By-laws for the Home Economics Association of New South Wales. The Presidents who followed in the ensuing early years were:

1964 - 1966 Clare Collins
Secretary Jean Learmont
1966 - 1968 Ruby Riach
Secretary Maisie Frost
1968 - 1970 Edith Cox
Secretary Connie Wright
1970 - 1972 Bettie Beasley
Secretary Margaret Greenhalgh
1972 - 1974 Doreen Andrews
Secretary Jean Duncombe
1974 - 1977 Jess Phillips
Secretary Connie Wright
1977 - 1980 Connie Wright
1980 - 1982 Edith Cox
Secretary Connie Wright
1982 - 1984 Edith Cox
Secretary Mary Evans
1984 - 1986 Dilys Rogers
1987 - 1988 Heather Crawford/Leigh Whyms
Secretary Dorothy Clampett
1989 - 1990 Leigh Whyms
Secretary Louise Godwin
1990 - 1992
Secretary Louise Godwin
1992- 1994 Louise Godwin
1994 - 1996 Heather Crawford
Secretary Eileen Mitchell
1996 - 1998
1998 - 2000 Sherry Hill
Secretary Julie Gay
2000 - 2001 Heather Crawford
Secretary Julie Gay
2003 - 2004 Louise Duvernet
Secretary Julie Gay
2005 - 2007 Gail Clarkson
Secretary Julie Gay
Secretary Kiri Valsamis
2007 - 2009 Sneza Stamenkovic
Secretary Kiri Valsamis

It is possible to list several High Achievers from those early days of the Association. Nancy Foskett was employed by the NSW Department of Agriculture, Women’s Extension Services when the Association was formed. Nancy’s work brought many educational services to rural women. She was highly respected for her knowledge and means of delivering it across the State. Shortly after her retirement the position was closed.

Clare Collins trained as a teacher during the 1930’s and joined a nursing corp to serve in New Guinea during World War II. She took up a position with St George County Council as a Home Economist after the War and joined Sunbeam Corporation in 1949. As a Home Economist, Clare left a mark in industry. She demanded high standards from all those who had worked with her and kept her contacts with schools to develop much co-operation between schools and her employer. After her untimely death, Clare’s husband, Michael O’Connor, donated an investment of funds to provide a scholarship for tertiary students for the following ten years.

Jean Peacock retired from the NSW Department of Education as an Inspector of Schools. She was a driving force in the early years to form the Home Economics Association after its formation. Jean’s History of Home Economics in NSW which was published by the Association in 1982, is a significant publication on a library shelf.

Una Clarkson was senior home economist with the Sydney County Council and contributed much to the planning and activities of the Association was able to use the meeting facilities of the Sydney County Council on many occasions.

Betty Dunleavy was a senior home economist with the Australian Gas Light Company who became involved in the activities of the Association very early in its history. She also was able to make available meeting rooms at her place of employment and contributed a great deal to the discussions concerning education and qualification of home economists.

Edith Cox MBE retired from the Sydney College of Advanced Education as Acting Dean of Secondary Studies in the Sydney Institute of Education. Edith was the first President of the NSW Association of Australia. Her professional expertise, energy and commitment to Home Economics has been recorded in several places. The Journal of the Home Economics Association of Australia which Edith edited for twenty five years was an outcome of her vision for a professional association.

Ruby Riach OAM was presented with a HEIA Fellowship. She has been a member for over thirty years. She has been a conference speaker, published in journals, served as President and Executive member of NSW and the National body. She excelled in her education career, has been made a fellow of the Australian College of Education, and was awarded the Advanced Education Meritorious Service Medal, and a Medal of Order of Australia for her contribution to education.

Bettie Beasley 1970-1972 was a lecturer at Sydney teachers College when she joined the Association soon after its formation. Bettie held the position of Public Relations Officer in the National Association when the Offices were in NSW. She was a reliable and remembered Welfare Officer, both state and national levels and continued in this role for many years after her retirement from emplyment. Her dedication to the work of the Association (state and national) was evident by her committed involvement in the organisation of meetings, seminars and conference where her attention to details always ensured a warm welcome and hospitality to visiting delegates. Over a period of twenty five years she made a memorable contribution to the preparation and distribution of the HEAA Journal.

Dilys Rogers was a Vice President for four years and President for three years after she became lecturer in Home Economics at Sydney Teachers College. Her background education (Bachelor of Arts) gave her a special role in writing and delivering courses in cultural and historical studies related to Home Economics. After retirement from Sydney College of Advanced Education she took her interest and skills in home economics and understanding of other cultures to Western Samoa where she developed Home Economics curricula and teaching methods to assist teachers and students focusing on the objective of developing a self-supporting system in Home Economics educaiton. Over a period of five years in co-operation with the Department of Educaiton in New Zealand and the University of Northern Territory, she worked towards this objective with a great deal of success.