Community celebrates legacy of Kalamunda theatre legend Terry Hackett


Carrie Ridley-Clissold with some memorabilia. d472098
Carrie Ridley-Clissold with some memorabilia. d472098

THE community is celebrating the remarkable legacy of theatre legend Terry Hackett, who passed away at Kalamunda Hospital on July 20 after a short battle with cancer.

Daughter Carrie Ridley-Clissold said from the moment her mum arrived in Kalamunda from Sydney in 1969, she began to leave an indelible thumb-print on the sleepy village.

“In 1970 she opened the Lesmurdie Play Centre with her friend Morven Bryce after they were unable to find a kindergarten for their daughters,” she said.

“Mum then had working mothers begging her to let the children stay over the lunch break, as it was impossible for them to work full-time, so in 1973 they opened up the Lesmurdie Day Care Centre, only the second long-day care centre in Perth at that time.

“Mum always said that this was her feminist contribution, helping women to be able to work full-time.”

Mrs Ridley-Clissold said as well as raising four daughters and running a business, Terry always found time to be active in the community.

“She was involved with the Kalamunda netball and basketball associations, Kiwalies Netball Club, Ray Owen Reserve, Kalamunda Swimming Club, and helped establish the Aces Basketball Club,” she said.

But Mrs Ridley-Clissold said her mum’s passion lay in the theatre and it was the fledgling Kalamunda Amateur Dramatic Society (KADS) where she found her creative home.

“Over the years they transformed the little church in the town square into a theatre which holds a special place in the hearts of the community,” she said. “She won many awards over her 45-year involvement in the club but she was most proud of her three Finley Awards, the highest accolade for community theatre in WA.

“She also taught drama in Bandyup and Riverbank Prison and received recognition for a play written by the prisoners titled Mates for Life.”

“Her most recent achievement was winning the Norfolk Island One Act Play Festival with her best friend Dee Howells in a play specifically written for them by playwright Yvette Wall.”

The Independent Theatre Association will name a State Theatre Award for Best Ensemble Production in Terry’s honour.

Mrs Ridley-Clissold said her mum did not slow down in retirement, rather devoting even more time to the community.

“She was a regular volunteer at the Catholic Church in Lesmurdie, the local Reconciliation Circles, Meals on Wheels, Kalamunda High School canteen, the Visitors Centre and the Kalamunda Hospital canteen,” she said.

“She was also an active member of the Kalamunda Learning Centre and Choir.

“And she volunteered for over 15 years on the Red Cross Soup Patrol, feeding the homeless in the city, work she was very proud of. Mum was often the kind stranger, giving to others without fanfare.

“When she would go out to feed the homeless, she would often take off her woollen scarf or warm jacket and give it to those doing it tough.

“She lived her life with passion, energy and kindness. She understood the importance of community, human connection and empathy.

“She was loved and respected by all those who knew her.”

Terry Hackett’s funeral will be Wednesday, August 2 at 11am at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Lesmurdie. This will be followed by a ‘Celebration of her Life’ at the KADS Theatre at 12.30pm. All welcome.