A tribute to the O’Donnell women

A tribute to the O’Donnell women: Honouring life by saving life

At Adara, we are lucky to have remarkable people in our community of supporters. People who seek out opportunities to give back. People who innovate and push boundaries. People who leave a lasting impact on communities across the globe.

One of our long-term supporters, philanthropist and businesswoman, Michelle Garnaut AO, recently made a significant gift to Adara. This gift was in honour of her great friends, Patricia and Mietta O’Donnell and their mother, Maria. These women came from a family of incredible women who dedicated their time to others through their own unique approaches.

By honouring the lives of these women in this meaningful way, Michelle is changing and saving countless others. Michelle penned the below piece to pay tribute to the O’Donnell women.

Patricia O’Donnell came from a long line of remarkable women. She was teacher, mentor, benefactor, adviser, agitator and supporter of so many remarkable projects be they educational, literary, cultural, academic or scientific. She was on various boards, actively working to make the changes she believed in. Much like the great team at Adara.

Patricia, her sister Mietta and her mother, Maria, were all marvellously elegant, monumentally understated women who shunned the limelight but loved being an integral part of the culinary, cultural and communal fabric of Melbourne. They quietly used their influence to make long-lasting changes. Much like Adara.

Her adored sister Mietta was the restaurateur who founded the esteemed restaurant “Mietta’s” in the mid 1970’s. In the early 80’s she and partner Tony Knox revolutionized not only the dining scene but also the cultural life of Melbourne by offering a stage and platform to many in the arts, be they performers, poets, writers, actors, comedians or singers.

In the late 80’s Patricia joined their ranks, taking on the lease of the magnificent old Queenscliff Hotel. She oversaw a major renovation and restored it to its former glory, creating a jewel of a hotel and another literary and cultural palace in the historic seaside town.

They also had a bottomless well of generosity, quietly supporting, helping, advising, giving and encouraging so many people, young and old, novices, students and the experienced, with little regard for social stigma.

I had the great privilege to count all of these women as my friends. They encouraged me and helped me and guided me and advised me through and welcomed me into their lives.

In their honour I wished to make a contribution to Adara, an organisation I know they would truly admire.

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