A Dedicated and Knowledgeable Volunteer: Fellow Volunteer Samuel Doering Talks of “The Service of Fay Grosser”.
Earlier this year, the Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery accepted the resignation of long-serving volunteer and committee member, Fay Grosser.
Fay was one of the founding members of the Gallery in 1996, and she was elected to the first Committee in July 1997. Fay served as Secretary for nine years until 2007, where it was commented that her successor had ‘big shoes to fill.’
Samuel Doering, the Gallery’s youngest volunteer recalls his time with Fay volunteering at the Gallery.
“I had the privilege of working closely with Fay for many years. In early August 2012, I visited the Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery with my sister, Emily, who was doing research on the Neales Flat School. I was greeted by an enthusiastic volunteer, Fay, who guided me around the displays at No. 19 Bruce Street, and answered my questions.
“Sensing that I had an interest in local history, she suggested that I volunteer there. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity, and next week, I journeyed with her to Eudunda to share the role of the Saturday afternoon shift. Being a twelve-year-old volunteer, I was the youngest at the Gallery, but I enjoyed it immensely.
“Fay always had a particular passion for local schools. She would dutifully research many of the rural schools from as far afield as Stonefield to Brownlow and Buchanan to Julia. Though these schools are long closed, she would bring them to life by collating photographs of classes and organising valuable documents from former students to be displayed for visitors. On many occasions she asked me to photocopy papers and photographs, add insightful captions, laminate display copies and reorganise files; it was all done under her watchful gaze.
“As well as this, Fay made it her mission to identify photographs of Eudunda from yesteryear, with many coming from the Eudunda Courier Newspaper Collection, and others with little provenance or few identifying features. Her many years in the Eudunda community allowed her to identify a great number of faces, ensuring their names will be remembered for posterity. Charting family histories was also where she dedicated a considerable amount of time at the Gallery, often correcting lineages and adding photographs. I recall typing many photograph captions for her so that she could assemble display boards.
“Owing to a fruitful life on the family farm at Neales Flat, Fay would often share personal stories and recollections, much to the delight of visitors. Her memories would colour the experience of all visitors to the Gallery.
“I had the privilege of serving with Fay for more than seven years until she decided to relinquish her role at the Gallery. In August 2020, the Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery Management Committee thanked Fay sincerely for her years of dedicated service, by offering her Honorary Life Membership at the Gallery. Ever the modest volunteer, Fay was thrilled and humbled to receive such a token of appreciation.
“I shall miss the many kernels of wisdom she imparted to me and other volunteers at the Gallery. One thing is for certain: the Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery has said goodbye to a dedicated, wise, and passionate volunteer. We have big shoes to fill.”
Photo: (L) Fay Grosser being presented with her Life Membership Certificate by Delilah Balmer (Chairperson Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery)