Interest and approval in a proposal to name the Walpole Library the “Elizabeth Gerner Walpole Library” is growing steadily.
Thomas and Elizabeth Gerner made Walpole their home as newlyweds in 1969. Thomas actually took up residence in 1967. Elizabeth was a trained librarian and with her knowledge and experience available, it wasn’t long before she was part of Walpole’s library system. In fact at the annual general meeting of the Walpole Lending Library in July 1969, she was elected to the committee and the following year became Secretary/Librarian, replacing Joyce Bellanger on her retirement.
Elizabeth was determined that Walpole should be part of the State Library Service. Her first approaches to the Manjimup Shire Council were not entirely successful, mainly due to the fact that Manjimup did not have a State Library, but she was not to be deterred and in May 1982, Walpole became the 200th State Library, largely due to Elizabeth’s determination and endurance! The library also moved into new premises at that time.
This milestone brought the then President of the State Library Board, Robert Sharman and other dignatories to Walpole. Special guests were Doris Hull (president of the library for twenty years) Joyce Bellanger (former librarian) and Walpole’s current librarian Elizabeth Gerner. Thomas Gerner opened the function and Robert Sharman said that Walpole was fortunate in having the services of such an experienced and highly qualified librarian as Elizabeth Gerner. She was complemented for her untiring efforts in choosing and cataloguing the 1000 new books allocated to Walpole.
Elizabeth retired in 2001 after thirty three years of service. She was respected throughout the district in this position in her passion for books and reading and in her personal day to day contact with library members.
Walpole resident John Kolo said that his wife often took their two little girls to the library and Elizabeth had instilled a lifelong love of reading in them. He said, “With Elizabeth at the helm, that library was the heart of Walpole”.
The district mourned the recent, sudden death of this quiet and unassuming lady. She left a legacy of service to her district, including thirty years membership of the Walpole Nornalup and Districts Historical Society with Thomas, culminating in their Life Memberships. Also, since 1987 she and Thomas hosted groups of young people on their property to take part in the character building Outward Bound activities. The Walpole Yacht Club, the provision of Aged Care Homes in Walpole, assistance with all things musical…the list of interest and support in the district continues.
And what of Elizabeth herself? She was essentially a family person and family occasions were special to her. She delighted in her garden, enjoyed sewing (and her friends will tell you that her work was perfect). Her experience and expertise as a cook were renowned and her special interest was playing the recorder. She was also a member of the CRC Committee for over 20 years.
Little wonder that the proposal is gaining momentum.
My sincere thanks to Thomas and the Walpole Nornalup and Districts Historical Society for their assistance with information.
Dear Walpole Community,
We are excited to announce an online voting page where you can voice your opinion on whether or not to rename the Walpole Library after Elizabeth Gerner. Elizabeth was a very special lady that brought the library to Walpole and helped make it what it is today. Your vote is important, as it will help the Shire of Manjimup make an informed decision that best reflects the wishes of the Walpole community.
You can also stop by the CRC to vote on paper if you so choose.
The voting page will be open from 5th April 2023 to 30th April 2023 and will take only a few minutes to complete. All you need to do is answer a simple question – “Do you support renaming the Walpole Library to Elizabeth Gerner Walpole Library?”
We welcome your comments and feedback, which will be used to inform our decision. We encourage you to share this voting page with your friends, family, and colleagues so that they can also participate and have their say.
Thank you in advance for your participation, and we look forward to hearing from you.