A small rural Victorian charity has raised almost half a million dollars for breast cancer research.

Story Sue Wallace  Photos Guy and Catherine Cameron

Jill McKinnon couldn’t have imagined how the Rangers, a small group she founded in 1995 in north-east Victoria to bring country women together, would grow to hundreds of members and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.

Outgoing president Georgina Burston, of Benalla, says Jill, who is now in care, was living on a farm near Violet Town when she formed the group. “Her plan was to provide a meeting place for country women in beautiful gardens and venues, where everyone could listen to interesting and inspiring guest speakers, with any fundraising going to breast cancer research. All they had to take was a chair and a sandwich on the day.”

The first Rangers’ newsletter was mailed out in 1995 inviting friends to join the new group and a month later more than 60 women had signed up. Now, with more than 370 members, the Rangers Foundation has given more than $450,000 for breast cancer research via the Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation, through raffles, subscriptions, ticket sales and donations. The membership base encompasses all ages, and includes people from throughout Victoria and NSW.

“The Rangers Foundation is a small but successful not-for-profit organisation that is still about ‘friendraising’ – the reason for its being – as well as fundraising,” Georgina says. “Bringing country and regional people together to socialise and have a day out together is a formula that works, with the Rangers continuing to grow and we have just welcomed our first male member, Jack Good from Moyhu.” Jack says he is keen to enjoy the beautiful gardens, interesting guest speakers and raise money for such a good cause, and he would encourage other men to join

This story excerpt is from Issue #155

Outback Magazine: June/July 2024