Her dream became reality in the 1980s with the creation of Pat Thomas House and last week, board members, volunteers and guests celebrated the opening of the Estelleanne Shelter that can accommodate six families in crisis.
The shelter has been open for 12 months.
The Estelleanne Shelter is named in honour of Mandurah resident, the late Anne Russell, who died in 2010, aged 54, and left money from the sale of property in her will for the shelter.
The shelter is transitional medium-term accommodation for women and children affected by domestic violence, in partnership with Pat Thomas House.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a serious and enthusiastic community dived into fundraising for a women�s refuge with wheelbarrow races on Pinjarra Road and other events.
Although former state and federal politicians Kay Hallahan and Wendy Fatin helped with government funding, it soon ran out.
The financial situation was grim and an old house on Pinjarra Road was obtained for a peppercorn rental.
The house was condemned and so dilapidated that when a workman fixed a window, he told a volunteer that if anyone closed it the wall could fall down.
But the refuge was on its way and the rest is history.
Now, as former mayor Paddi Creevey told guests at the opening last week, a magnificent organisation exists today offering a range of services.
More, page 34