Venera honoured for fundraising


Venera Ucalano with her award on Australia Day.
Venera Ucalano with her award on Australia Day.

Born in Bayswater to Italian parents, Venera Ucalano was “thrilled” to receive the City of Bayswater Premier’s Australia Day Active Citizenship Award on Australia Day.

Ms Ucalano became Lang Hancock’s secretary at Australian Blue Asbestos in Wittenoom in 1963.

Some Wittenoom friends and acquaintances have since died of mesothelioma and lung cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos.

Her “other half” Umberto was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1986 and was successfully treated, but he died from bile duct cancer in 2011.

In 1987, her “best girlfriend” died from cervical cancer, sparking Ms Ucalano’s determination to raise funds for the Cancer Council.

Ms Ucalano sold homemade preserves and handcrafts at stalls to raise money for the Biggest Morning Tea, while her late partner also grew plants to sell.

“I go up $100 a year, last year I sent $1900, the year before $1800… I intend to continue,” she said.

Ms Ucalano has also worked at Daffodil Day stalls, hosted Girls’ Night In events and door-knocked for Red Cross and the Heart Foundation.