Mary Binks was born in Devonport and attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School and Shaw College (now St Brendan-Shaw). She loved the stories the sisters told of saints and faraway lands so much so that, after completing her Catholic education, she became a journalist and then a foreign correspondent.
Reporting the human side of stories in places of conflict, Mary had many adventures and saw much suffering. Along the way, she witnessed the devastation caused by Agent Orange in Vietnam, experienced the tensions of life in Israel, met the farmer who found the terracotta warriors in China and was detained by authorities after a demonstration in Tiananmen Square.
Mary’s loving heart and facility with words helped children in Indonesia suffering from cancer. Mary started a fund that continues today and has been renamed ‘Mary’s Cancer Kiddies’ in her honour. This fund, that Mary considers her biggest achievement, assisted 535 children last year. The motto is “Every child deserves a chance”.
While in Indonesia, she took on a personal responsibility to sit with children as they were dying, and pay for their funerals. She met Aldo, a young boy with an abdominal tumour and became very fond of him. When he died, Mary wrote about his death and sent the story to various magazines.
This was a catalyst which started the flow of funds as readers responded. The money raised helped save the lives of babies, pay for their treatment and ensure that families stayed together.
Today Mary is back living in Tasmania with her husband and three children. She relishes the peace and normality of Evandale. She is very happy when nothing much happens!
The fund Mary began continues and today is run by a small group of volunteers based in Jakarta and Hong Kong who raise and manage the provision of funds for medical treatment of children from poor families in Indonesia.
As Mary says, “Every child has the right to life and every mother has the right to take her child home.”