The wife of the Lord Mayor or appointed Lady Mayoress traditionally held the role of Chair of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Committee. When Alfred Huang became Lord Mayor he decided to reinstate the tradition of a Charity Committee which had been known before as the Lady Mayoress’s Committee. This had been disbanded by his predecessor, Jane Lomax Smith.


As Alfred Huang’s wife did not wish to have a public role, Karin Dunsford was elected as the Interim Chair, to direct the activities of the new Lord Mayor’s Charitable Committee until a Constitution was established and the first AGM could be held. The first event on 8 May 2001 was a Mother’s Day Morning Tea that was a great success with 223 guests attending at the Town Hall and the funds raised going towards Catherine House.

The Inaugural Annual General Meeting was held on Friday 10 August 2001 at the Town Hall. At the Meeting the Constitution was presented. The purpose of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Committee was stated: “to raise and distribute funds for the purpose of assisting registered charitable organisations within South Australia, with preference given to assisting charities within the boundaries of the City of Adelaide” and to “conduct fundraising activities or other such measures or activities as may be selected by the Association from time to time for such purpose.” At the Annual General Meeting Karin Dunsford was successful in being elected as the Chair of the Committee which was an honour and privilege. Sue Marshall was elected as Treasurer and Stephanie Clampett as Secretary who all enjoyed a very compatible working relationship and a lasting friendship. The Lord Mayor was very supportive and encouraging of the role and the activities of the Charitable Committee.

Activities and achievements 

During the term of the Lord Mayor Huang (2000 – 2003) there were many fundraising events for many different charities organised. Some of the events included a dinner dance, lunch with speaker (Peter Barry of Jim Barry Wines) at the Wine Centre, a superb lunch on 20 February 2002 in the Queen Adelaide Room with catering provided by celebrity chef, Ann Oliver. The Mother’s Day morning tea became a tradition and was held each year with speakers invited to come along with either their mother or daughter and to share their stories of motherhood. This was always quite an emotional and intimate event as it touched upon personal relationships. I remember well the Mother’s Day function in 2003 when one of the speakers was Sturt footballer and Magarey Medal winner, Tim Weatherall who attended with his mother. The room was in total silence as Tim recalled his remarkable escape from the Bali bombing where the Sturt football team was celebrating their premiership win. It was one of the most personal and moving personal experiences that had been shared and it was unforgettable. The speakers were always generous with their accounts and the guests who attended with their own mothers and daughters, found it to be an inspirational occasion.

In 2002 the committee held the Rose Ball at the Town Hall as an event in the Adelaide Rose Festival program. The Town Hall auditorium was transformed with elaborate decorations made entirely of roses that were designed by Kathryn Fahlbusch of Executive Flowers. The guests were entertained by a performance by the international group Potpourrie and funds were raised by a live and silent auction which had received very generous donations. It was a glamorous and very aromatic event (the scent of roses was an added delight) and a highlight of the committee’s term.

In 2003 the Committee also organised a wonderful parade of many outfits from personal collections, to celebrate the thirty year business anniversary of the designers George Gross and Harry Watt. A luncheon was held in the Banqueting Room and a splendid parade of George and Harry outfits over the thirty years was presented with the committee members as the models. The guests of Honour were absolutely thrilled to see how their designs had been appreciated over three decades!

During the three years the committee successfully raised money for many charities which included Catherine House, Youth off the Streets, Diabetes SA, Minda Inc and many others. At Christmas, the committee members also contributed gifts to the Christmas Tree of presents in the Town Hall foyer that were then distributed by the Salvation Army to those in need.

The Committee’s constitution set out that the aim was to support charities within the City of Adelaide and it was very successful in achieving its mission and also bringing many people to the Town Hall.

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Recollections of Karin Dunsford