top of page
  • Writer's pictureHon Sam Farraway MLC

Lilliane Brady OAM


Mr Farraway says—


I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:

1. This House acknowledges with sadness the passing of Councillor Lilliane Brady OAM on the 7th of February 2021 at the age of 90 and extends its deepest sympathies to her family.

  1. Acknowledges the many years of public service given by Lilliane as a staunch advocate and fighter for her beloved Cobar and rural and regional communities across Western NSW.

  1. Recognises a lifetime of achievement and the lasting legacy left behind as the longest serving Mayor of Cobar Shire Council, and as NSW’s longest serving female Mayor.

  2. Joins with the people of Cobar in celebrating the life of a true champion of Western NSW, someone who didn’t suffer fools and who continued to fight for her community until the end -Lilliane Brady OAM.

"Thank you Mr President.

I bring this motion to the House today to reflect upon a true champion of Western New South Wales and her beloved community of Cobar – Lilliane Brady OAM.

Lilliane, for those of you that never had the opportunity to meet her was small in stature but larger than life in her love of Cobar, its people and the future prosperity of rural communities in Western NSW.

Born in Lake Cargelligo on the 29th of December 1930, Lilliane’s heart was always with rural and regional communities.

Lilliane moved to Cobar from Sydney with her late husband Dr Allan Brady and their 3 children on the 19th of November 1964, intending to only stay for a year in the town.

Famously Lilliane’s initial reaction when arriving in Cobar was “the most God Forsaken town I had ever seen and I didn’t want to get out of the car.”

- It took just two weeks for the people of Cobar to win Lilliane over and she soon claimed Cobar to be one of the best places on Earth – A belief she strongly held until the very end.

In her first and last Podcast appearance Lilliane reflected on those first few weeks in Cobar

“I remember the policeman coming when we arrived in Cobar and picked our baby up and put him in the police car and went all around Cobar. And I thought that’s unusual, and it was.”

In 1974 Lilliane first stood for Cobar Shire Council at a by-election and was elected, this was a surprise to her husband Alan whom she didn’t advise until the morning before that she intended to run.

Some locals were against Lilliane running for council, referring to her as the Doctor’s wife and someone who should not speak out, they underestimated Lilliane something I’m sure they never did again.

In fact it was The Hon. Jack Renshaw who told her that she would be well suited to Local Government as she was a ‘strong woman who had principals’ an assessment I don’t think anyone who knew Lilliane would argue.

Running for Local Government was not about self-promotion, pride or ego – it was about rolling up her sleeves and getting things done.

In fact what prompted this move into public service was the death of an elderly man, alone, in an ambulance as he was being transported from Cobar to Orange.

He was being transported this distance because in 1974 there was no aged care facility in Cobar and it was the policy for the local hospital to send elderly people away for care.

Lilliane went to see the hospital CEO, who told her it was the policy – Lilliane told him to “stick it, I’ll build a facility.”

In 1982 The Lilliane Brady Village was opened.

Lilliane and 14 other local women created the Geriatric Fundraising Committee and they hosted fundraisers of all kinds from Kangaroo Shoots to Mardi Gras to reach their $70,000 goal.

The Lilliane Brady Village is a not-for-profit facility that now has 34 beds that comprises of a hostel, a nursing home and a multipurpose health centre which is connected with the Hospital.

As someone who couldn’t stand red tape or bulldust the Lilliane Brady Village was the first of many projects to better the lives of the people of Cobar which include a mayoral fund for cancer support, the Grey Mardi Gras to help drought stricken farmers and the Cobar Quids initiative to support local small business.

Her love for Western NSW came above all else and she was willing to do what it took to get outcomes. In fact in one of my visits to Cobar last year Lilliane threatened to put a porta-loo out the front of Parliament and sit in it until Cobar Shire got what they needed to upgrade public toilets.

One of Lilliane’s most famous exchanges happened during a community cabinet meeting when The Hon. Carl Scully mentioned how lovely Lilliane looked “I’m here for finance Minister not romance,” was Lilliane’s quick witted response much to the shock of most in the room I’m sure.

It was this tenacity, selflessness and blunt approach that gained Lilliane the respect of everyone who met her – no matter their political background.

This respect was made clear at her State Funeral which was attended by people from every political persuasion, past and present including our colleague The Hon. Mick Veitch, the Deputy Premier and The Minister for Western NSW and the Opposition Leader all from the other place.

Serving on Cobar Shire Council for a total of 40 years, 20 of those as Mayor. Lilliane’s dedication to her community and all rural communities never wavered.

When asked what she enjoys most about being a Councillor Lilliane responded with “Being involved in the community, not every day is the same and a lot of the things you do have nothing to do with being a Councillor.”

Lilliane was the selfless, strong, driven leader that Cobar needed and she saw her community through mining booms and downturns, drought and social change.

Always seeing opportunity and never giving up, Lilliane was an inspiration to not only those in Cobar but to many across New South Wales – particularly women wanting to make their mark in Local Government or other forms of politics.

Lilliane was the first female President of the Western Division Councils, she was on the Executive Committee for Local Government, and was the first Cobar member to hold a position on the Executive Committee of the Mines and Energy Related Council.

She received many accolades during her time including being an Order of Australia Medal recipient for her service to local government, and to the community of Cobar, a Centenary Medal recipient, winner of the Women Out West Award and was the first ever recipient of the Life Time Achievement Award from Local Government New South Wales.

Not that the accolades mattered to Lilliane she always said “I haven’t done it so much as the people of Cobar, the people of Cobar have been good to me.”

Last year I had the pleasure to present Liliane with the first ever NSW Minister for Local Government Award for Women, alongside my colleagues The Hon. Adam Marshall and Dugald Saunders MP.

An Award that is now formally named after Lilliane.

And it was with great pleasure that I note recipients of the Young Achiever’s Award will now also receive the Lilliane Brady OAM Scholarship.

Her advice for those nervous about running for public office or fighting for their cause.

“You will always have idiots get in your way, but if you have got a goal, go for it. Don’t be nervous because if you are nervous, you won’t achieve it. Just get in and do it.”

The week before Lilliane peacefully passed away I visited Cobar and had the pleasure of attending the first sod turn of the new TAFE NSW Connected Learning Hub with The Hon. Geoff Lee.

Funding was also announced for local projects that will secure water supply to Cobar, help begin the development of an Industrial Area and announce funding that will help upgrade Cobar’s ageing infrastructure, including the Cobar swimming pool.

All of these projects were important to Lilliane because they are important to Cobar and its future.

Whilst she couldn’t physically be with us on that day, she was there in spirit and her influence on these projects was evident.

Whilst her achievements in Local Government and her love of Cobar was what we all know Lilliane for, it wasn’t her only passion.

One of her other passions was horses and horseracing.

Lilliane had many horses with their jockeys wearing her colours on their silks -yellow with a blue horseshoes and sleeves, but it was Magic Bella that would give Lilliane her biggest thrill by winning the Cobar Cup 2015.

At 7-1 Lilliane put $2,000 on Magic Bella and walked home that day with $18,000 – taking the time to call those that didn’t follow her betting advice an idiot for not listening to her.

Similar to her role as mayor she approached horseracing with a no BS attitude and sometimes the losses outweighed the wins but she never gave up and never lost her passion.

Lilliane also enjoyed gardening, the food at the local Chinese Restaurant, a beer and of course above all else she loved her family.

She was as passionate about her 3 Children and her 4 Grandchildren as anything else and was very proud of everything they had achieved, despite her disappointment that they all lived so far away.

Unfortunately in the last year or so Lilliane had been hindered by asthma and heart troubles and had planned to hang up her mayoral robes in September.

"I reckon there are still things to be done and I'm good at getting money from the politicians.” Lilliane said to Heather Ewart on ABC’s Backroads, which aired the week before Lillianes passing, another milestone to Lilliane’s name.

From Buronga to Bourke, Balmain to Broken Hill you will find people who either knew Lilliane or have been inspired by Lilliane.

Her achievements put not only Cobar but all of Western NSW in the spotlight and have made many of these great communities what they are today.

As someone of small stature, many wouldn’t believe the stories of Lillianes ferocity, councillors often reflect on the time she hit the gavel down so hard during a Council meeting the top flung off and made it’s way across the room, she was tough as nails and didn’t suffer fools, those who underestimated her soon learnt of their mistake.

Lilliane’s selflessness, determination, tenacity, stubbornness and passion all contributed to the strong personality we knew and will remember her by.

Her legacy is so much more than the awards she was given, it is more than being the Mayor of Cobar Shire Council.

Lilliane is Cobar, the optimism of it’s people, the future they see for their town,

The new NSW Tafe Connected Learning Centre, the sealed roads and improved infrastructure,

Those elderly citizens who get to stay in Cobar with their families and support networks and the Cancer patients and farmers who were able to put food on the table despite tough times

That is Lilliane.

Those of us that knew Lilliane are better people because of it and those that learn from her and are inspired by her will be better because of her legacy.

Lilliane achieved more for Western New South Wales and it’s rural communities as one small lady, than most politicians in this place and the other will ever achieve after a lifetime of trying.

Nationals, Liberal, Labor Lilliane didn’t care, all she cared about was her community and the people that called it home.

Western New South Wales and the Cobar community was lucky to have Dr and Mrs Brady roll into town in 1964, had it been any other town they may not have stayed.

From starting as a two and a half pound newborn in a shoe box, Lilliane will be remembered as a giant for her unwavering dedication to Cobar and Western New South Wales.

Her shoes may have been small, but they will never be filled because simply put there will never be another Lilliane Brady.

I send my deepest condolences to Lilliane’s children and her grandchildren in this time.

I hope that they have been comforted by all the anecdotes and stories of the life lived by their mum and nan and on behalf of everyone in this house, the other place and across rural and regional New South Wales we thank you for sharing her with us and the community of Cobar for so many years.

Vale Lilliane Brady OAM"


bottom of page