At the Annual General Meeting of the Society in August this year, we welcomed our new General Secretary Jane Bradshaw, saying farewell to Jan Baker-Finch after 9 years’ in this role. Jane brings a life in service to others to the position, seeking always to see the best in her fellow human beings and build community from this basis.
Born in 1957, Jane is from the southernmost state of Australia, the apple isle of Tasmania (lutruwita*). She originally trained as a nurse and still works part-time in the public hospital sector as a clinical nurse consultant in liver diseases. Her professional experiences with trauma, domestic abuse and addiction are a critical influence in her ongoing commitment to the gesture of ‘caring’, in nursing and in the wider community, and one she hopes will be a signature of her new role as general secretary.
She retains, however, special interest in the threshold periods of human life: birth, death and convalescence, and has specialised birth and death doula training. She is currently training in Anthroposophic nursing through Taruna College in New Zealand and is a member of the Australian Anthroposophical Medical Association (AAMA).
Jane first met Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy more than 30 years ago through Waldorf education (known as Steiner Education in Australia) when seeking a school for her first child. As she became more interested in the spiritual philosophy underlying the Waldorf curriculum, she became aware that there was a language for the spiritual world she had always known existed but had been previously unable to describe.
With Jean Hearn, the then Tasmanian Branch secretary of the ASinA, as her spiritual mentor, Jane gradually became more deeply and actively engaged in the Anthroposophical movement, volunteering in the local Steiner school Tarremah (Hobart), first as kindergarten aide, then as chairperson (a role she held for 12 years) of their Parents and Friends Association; joining the Anthroposophical Society in the 1990’s and the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science in 2000.
In 2009, Jean asked her to assume the task of leadership for the Tasmanian branch of the ASinA, a role she continued until recently, ceding this task to her husband Cole, a fellow Anthroposophist and biodynamic gardener. Together they continue to host regular local study groups and events. In the past year she has broadened her scope of volunteer engagement to work collaboratively with the ASinA branch representatives, the ‘Futures group’ and the management group of the ASinA to find and explore new and enhanced ways of consciously working together to strengthen the anthroposophical community across in this wide and climatically diverse country.
Sharing the unique expression of the southern hemisphere with the global Anthroposophical community is important to Jane and she acknowledges the deep connection of the indigenous Aboriginal peoples to the spirit of the land, as custodians of this land, and welcomes all opportunities for the sharing of story and wisdom toward a cultural healing.
*lutruwita (pronounced loo-tru-wee-ta in the palawa kani language is the Aboriginal name for the land of Tasmania.