Local Government NSW (LGNSW) is mourning the death of NSW’s longest-serving female Mayor, Cobar Shire’s Lilliane Brady OAM.
Cr Brady, 90, died peacefully in Cobar hospital in the early hours of Sunday, LGNSW President Linda Scott said yesterday.
“Our deepest condolences go to Lilliane’s family, friends, and the community of Cobar,” Cr Scott said.
“Lilliane was an irrepressible, unmitigated force of nature and it’s hard to imagine our sector without her drive, impish sense of humour and unwavering commitment not only to the people of Cobar, but also to local government as a whole.”
Cr Brady held the position of Mayor in the central western mining town for more than two decades in total, and served as a local councillor for 40 years.
In 2018 she was awarded LGNSW’s Lifetime Achievement Award for services to local government and her community.
The feisty nonagenarian with a love of racehorses was known through Macquarie Street and in Canberra as a woman with little tolerance for bureaucracy or bulldust.
“Anyone thinking they could dismiss her arguments soon learnt otherwise,” Cr Scott said.
“One legendary exchange came during a community cabinet meeting when a State Government Minister tried to divert her with personal flattery.
“Lilliane more than had his measure, and snapped right back: ‘I’m here for finance, Minister, not romance.’
“That anecdote illustrates her tenacity and refusal to take no for an answer, and Ministers at all levels of government have learnt not to underestimate her determination to get the best possible outcomes for the people of Cobar Shire.”
Cr Brady first moved to Cobar from Sydney with her husband Allan and her three children in the 1970s, and what was supposed to be only 12 months soon became 50 years.
In 1974 she ran for council after an elderly man, transferred to Orange due to a lack of aged care facilities in Cobar, died alone.
In 1982, she opened the Lilliane Brady Village – now a 34-bed not-for-profit facility comprising a hostel, a nursing home, and a multipurpose health centre connecting the village and the hospital.
She campaigned for her community right up until her death, seeking a new hospital, better infrastructure, and a fairer return of the mining royalties that flow from the town to the NSW Office of State Revenue.