Rosemary Foot (ASHTON) AO BA
1954 - 1956
Politician, Board Member, Investor
Rosemary participated fully in University life while a student at the Women’s College. The varied friendships she formed in the mid-fifties broadened her outlook after a strict country upbringing and being a boarder at Frensham, Mittagong.
In 1960, Rosemary married old Pauline, Robert Foot. After their divorce, Rosemary and their daughters, Catherine and Charlotte, lived in Sydney. Her marriage to Bernard Arens took place in 1990 and ended with his death in 2000.
Rosemary served as the Liberal Member for Vaucluse in the New South Wales Parliament from 1978 until 1986. On becoming Deputy Leader of the NSW Opposition in 1983, she was the first woman in Australia elected to a leadership position by a major political party at either State or Federal level. Subsequent to her challenging political career, she served on the boards of numerous voluntary organisations as well as a number of State and Commonwealth advisory bodies. Significant among these have been the NSW Association for Mental Health, the Australia Council, Tourism NSW, the Eastern Area Health Service, the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation, CARE Australia and the Australian Heritage Commission.
In 1999, Rosemary was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia for service to the community, particularly in the areas of health, the visual arts, women’s interests and politics.
Her longstanding interest in sculpture has now become one of her priorities. Since 1992, she has been one of three private sponsors to select Australian sculptors for participation in Art Omi’s annual international artists’ workshop in New York State. In addition, she has recently been appointed to the Board of Sydney-based Sculpture by the Sea.