Mrs Lynette Ninio was the Lady Mayoress of the City of Adelaide (married to the Lord Mayor) from 1993-1997.
Early Life and Career
Lynette Ninio was born to Lois and Frank Gibson, in Adelaide, on 15 February 1942 – the eldest of 4 daughters. She was educated at Allenby Gardens Primary School, Adelaide Girls High School and graduated as a pharmacist from the University of Adelaide. Lynette met her husband, Henry, when they worked as pharmacists at Ravesi Chemists. She also worked with Henry in the business he established some time later, Piaf Parfumeries. They have two children, Jacqueline and Daniel Marc.
Community involvement has always been part of Lynette’s life – she had been involved with “mothers’ clubs” at her children’s kindergarten and schools, as well as being involved in other community organisations including the Beit Shalom Synagogue as Board Member and President. Becoming Lady Mayoress, and taking on the various duties associated with that role, was an extension of her community work. As Henry had been a member of the Adelaide City Council for some years, Lynette had an active involvement with the Lady Mayoress’ Charitable Trust Fund Committee (later known as the Lady Mayoress Committee) and also understood the importance of the civic role undertaken by the Lady Mayoress. When Henry was elected as Lord Mayor, Lynette was able to comfortably make the transition to Lady Mayoress. She was energetic and innovative. In addition to accompanying the Lord Mayor, she also attended and hosted many functions in her own right.
An important part of the duties of the Lady Mayoress was to be Patron of many community organisations. In this capacity, Lynette was called upon to present Service Awards, Badges, and Prizes. She regularly attended special functions arranged by the Senior Citizen Groups in the City area and reciprocated by inviting these groups to tea in the beautiful Queen Adelaide Room, followed by a tour of the Town Hall. Lynette was invited to speak to groups such as the Probus Club, Country Women’s Association and various Church Fellowships – usually the topic was “the role of the Lady Mayoress”.
Lynette appreciated the contribution made by volunteers and met regularly with volunteers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (the Lavender Lads and Ladies and the Royal Adelaide Hospital Auxiliary). She also attended functions at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and presented prizes for the annual Craft Display.
As Lady Mayoress, Lynette was invited to join the History Trust Board, Child Health Foundation, National Trust, Lions Eye Care Foundation, Minda Centenary Committee, the Florey Medical Foundation and the Advisory Committee to the National Breast Cancer Council. Lynette chaired the Arthritis Foundation Development Committee and was a Board Member of the Adelaide Progressive Jewish Congregation. She was also a member of fundraising committees including the Ronald McDonald House Committee and the South Australian Women’s Olympic Committee. It was an extraordinarily busy time as meetings for these organisations were in addition to her Civic role. Always interested in the Arts, Lynette was a Board Member of Leigh Warren Dancers, Fiesta and also the Performing Arts Club Committee of the Independent Arts Foundation as well as chairing the Friends of Fiesta.
Whilst community involvement took up a lot of her time as Lady Mayoress, there was also the Civic role where Lynette hosted Receptions held in the Queen Adelaide Room and also the Lady Mayoress’ Room. Receptions were held to welcome interstate and overseas groups to Adelaide, to honour special guests and included a Reception to honour Dame Roma Mitchell when she retired as Governor of South Australia. Special Appeals such as Daffodil Day for the Cancer Council and the Vinnies Winter Appeal (for the Society of St Vincent de Paul) were also launched by the Lady Mayoress. Receptions were often held for lesser known charities. Lynette believed it was important to promote these charities and lift their profile enabling the community to be aware of their work.
In addition to the busy Civic role, the Lady Mayoress chaired the Lady Mayoress’ Committee. This Committee, originally founded by Lady Mayoress Valmai Roche, helped small, low-profile organisations by organising fundraising events. During Lynette’s term, funds raised enabled 96 donations to be made to needy organisations. The majority of the events were held in the Town Hall, in this way promoting the City and its beautiful heritage Town Hall and Banqueting Room.
Lynette has fond memories of several Lady Mayoress’ Committee events: the Lady Mayoress’ Fashion Design Awards, which showcased emerging young South Australian fashion designers; the Rose Ball, held during the Adelaide Rose Festival; the Mothers’ Day Morning Tea and the Children’s Christmas Party for underprivileged children. Generous sponsorship by South Australian companies ensured the success of these events.
There were many memorable occasions during her term as Lady Mayoress, but, for Lynette, highlights included her involvement with the Women’s Suffrage Centenary and its many events held during 1994, the Ball to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of Red Cross also in 1994, and Australia Remembers events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in 1995.
In 1994, under Lynette’s direction, a committee was formed to organise “Town Hall in Bloom” when the civic and public areas of the Town Hall were opened to the public. Groups such as the Country Women’s Association, the Woodville Academy of Floral Art, the Lady Mayoress’ Committee and City florists all participated to transform the building with magnificent floral arrangements. This was a very popular event with visitors travelling from the country and outlying suburbs to view the display.
Open days were held during 1996 to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the building of the Town Hall. Thousands of people visited the Town Hall during this time and members of the Lady Mayoress’ Committee were in attendance in the Council Chamber, Queen Adelaide Room, Colonel Light Room, the Lord Mayor’s and Lady Mayoress’ Room.
As with previous Lord Mayors and Lady Mayoresses, Lynette and her husband, Henry, travelled overseas to Adelaide’s four Sister Cities: Christchurch, New Zealand; Austin, Texas; Himeji, Japan; and Penang, Malaysia. In 1993 they travelled to London to represent the City of Adelaide, at the invitation of the Lord Mayor of London, to attend a Conference of Australian Lord Mayors and in 1994 they visited Israel at the invitation of the Mayor of Jerusalem.
Having the support and loyalty of Adelaide City Council staff, in particular, the staff of the Lord Mayor’s Office: the catering staff, the drivers and administration staff; made these busy years a very happy and fulfilling time and their commitment is wholeheartedly appreciated by both Lynette and Henry.
During Lynette’s term as Lady Mayoress, she travelled widely and met people from all walks of life. She was given an insight into the community which she may not have otherwise had and is grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve the people of Adelaide in this way.