The early feminist

Publish date: 26 February 2024

Turning 100 is just a number for Peg Eaton.  Still living independently at Bethanie Geneff and active in fundraising, the centenarian celebrated her special February birthday with an afternoon tea and cake, surrounded by dozens of friends and family.

As a Foundation member of Bethanie, Peg is described by her son John as ‘an early feminist’. 

“I remember being at home with my brothers and sister at night wondering about dinner, because Mum and Dad were busy delivering furniture to welfare recipients,” said John.

“Dad was the muscle behind Mum’s operation; after finishing his regular workday at Bristiles he’d help her with whatever she needed doing.”

As the coordinator of the Christian Welfare Centre in Beaufort St, Peg ran welfare centres in the days when there was little government support.  She was also integral in establishing one of Perth’s first op shops in Northbridge.

“Mum was what we liked to call a ‘very practical Christian,’” John laughs. “She liked people around her that did good deeds.”

“She has continued to volunteer her whole life and was a real mover and shaker in that world; a pioneer.”

Her tireless work ethic began early when assigned to the Land Army during WWII.  Doing the ‘men’s work’ at home; milking cows, picking grapes, and tending the land was followed by service in the Women’s Army.

Peg was awarded an OAM in 2002 for service to the community, particularly through the Christian Welfare Centre and the Young Women's Christian Association .  Peg went on to advocate for better support for the ageing population.

While looking for care for her parents, Peg was uncomfortable with what was on offer at the time, being mainly the old C-class hospital model.  Disillusioned, Peg became an agitator in the aged care industry and the affiliation with Bethanie was a logical tie.

When preparing for her own retirement, Peg was proactive in making her own early decision, choosing to buy into Geneff 11 years ago.

“This was a great decision for her,” said John.

“She completely embraced the Village life and continued volunteering – she can’t help herself – and has been integral in some of their fundraising efforts.”

Peg continues to devote time and energy in raising funds for Bethanie’s Operation Christmas Child shoe box appeal, which sends up to 500 gifts to children overseas.

Peg doesn’t want a fuss made of her 100 years.  But for her five children, 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren (who refer to her simply as ‘Great’) there is no keeping them away from their ‘remarkable’ Peg.

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