The Footpath Library has been fortunate to receive funding over the past two years from The Greeba Jamison Perpetual Charitable Trust. Last year’s funding came just at the right time when our Melbourne mobile library services had been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and extended lockdown periods. The grant enabled The Footpath Library to recommence our programs at Queen Victoria Market and St Kilda, as well as extend to other locations such as Mitcham, Fitzroy, Flemington, and Prahran. This year’s funding ensures we can maintain and consolidate our existing programs in Melbourne.
Upon receiving the grants, The Footpath Library wanted to learn about Greeba Jamison, and we were delighted to discover more about this incredible woman, and her lasting legacy that lives on today via the Trust she established.
Greeba Jamison Hoskin was a journalist, teacher and book lover, from Armadale, in Victoria.
She began her career as a cadet reporter at The Argus newspaper before becoming a general news reporter and then moving to the women’s pages.
In 1946, she moved to The Age as a general news reporter, and in 1951 she took her first overseas trip to work in The Age London office, which saw her writing features.
In 1956, the then editor of The Age appointed Greeba as Women’s Editress. She was considered the right person for the times, and was highly respected as a journalist.
A year later, she married the man she referred to as her ‘exalted love’, Sydney Hoskin, who was a master mariner from New Zealand. Both Greeba and Sydney enjoyed a love of reading and books. They enjoyed a happy marriage, which was only shadowed by Sydney’s absences at sea, which Greeba found distressing.
When Sydney died in 1970, from complications during a minor operation, Greeba was devastated and she suffered crippling depression for the next fourteen years, although she noted in her diary that she ‘put on a good show of cheerfulness’.
When Greeba started to lecture on writers and travel at the Council of Adult Education, this helped to give her purpose and she began reading again. She spent the next 20 years teaching about writers from Jane Austen to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dostoevsky.
Greeba died in 2012 at the age of 91. Her will created a perpetual trust to encourage literacy; a final and fitting gesture from an inspirational journalist who called books her ‘lifeline and companion’, particularly in her later years.
The Footpath Library is incredibly grateful to Greeba Jamison for her foresight of a trust to support literacy. It is through her trust that The Footpath Library is able to continue to provide access to quality free books to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in Melbourne.
We extend our thanks to the Trustees of The Greeba Jamison Perpetual Charitable Trust, and to the Trustees of the Norman H Johns Trust for supporting The Footpath Library.
Greeba Jamison’s foresight has left a lasting legacy to support literacy in Victoria