Jill Dowd has dedicated much of her life to one of Australia’s greatest institutions: the Royal Life Saving Society. The not-for-profit organisation has been doing its best to keep Australia’s waterways safe for more than a century. Ms Dowd has worked with the Northern Territory branch of the RLSS for more than 10 years, serving as finance manager and later as water safety unit manager.
She was born in South Australia, but a work opportunity for her husband brought them and their young family to the Territory – and they fell in love with the place. Ms Dowd was hired by RLSS executive director Floss Roberts. “Working for life saving appealed to me,” she says. “It‘s a good community service.” She decided to settle in Darwin. “The opportunities for families with young children growing up are great.” She has raised her three children in the Territory.
Despite her long history with Royal Life Saving NT, Ms Dowd admits that even though she can swim she’s “not very good” at it. “But I was very adamant our children would learn to swim at a young age.” Ms Dowd loves the Territory but she and her husband have decided to return to their home state. “I’ve been with Royal Life for 12 years and my husband finished his position last year. “I’ve always had a yearning to go back to rural South Australia.”
Ms Dowd is handing her position over to Laura Withers, who has been with Royal Life Saving NT for two years. She is the coordinator for Darwin’s school swimming program.
Ms Dowd says her job is going to good hands. “Laura understands the challenges of working for a not-for-profit organisation.”
Ms Dowd looks back fondly on her time with Royal Life Saving. “There are so many beautiful stories from over the years. I’ve had wonderful experiences. “It’s a very special organisation. The thing I’ll miss most is the people – they’re an amazing team.” TQ