Driven to help others

Nicole SalmeriSouth Western Times
Former Zonta president and life member of Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre Nan Martella still describes herself as the ‘driver’ of many community group and organisations.
Camera IconFormer Zonta president and life member of Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre Nan Martella still describes herself as the ‘driver’ of many community group and organisations. Credit: Nicole Salmeri

Born a leader and still a leader in many aspects after all of these years, Bunbury woman Nan Martella has been a driving force for many community organisations in the South West.

Nan and her husband Charlie have been in the South West for 43 years and have no plans to leave their beachside home anytime soon.

“I’m a Kirup girl and so is my husband,” she said

“I went to Busselton Senior High School and I was a prefect there and I really loved my hockey.”

We all know one of those people who could pick up a tennis racquet or kick a ball like they have been playing the sport for years, well Nan was one of those girls who was just good at every sport.

“I got sportsman of the year the two years I was in Busselton in 1962 and 1963,” Nan said.

“I was right into sport but hockey was my main sport and I managed to make State level and now I’m a life member of Australs Hockey Club.”

Moving throughout life, Nan then went off to Claremont Teachers College to live out her dream of becoming a teacher.

“We did a three-year course, one of actual teaching and the other two we got to go to Curtin to learn how to teach chemistry,” Nan said.

Although being a South West girl, Nan did not mind exploring the country, working and playing sport in the Wheatbelt.

“I used to teach out at Narembeen and opened up a home economics centre in Kulin,” she said

Always looking for something new to set her mind to, Nan is one of those women who will rarely say no to any opportunity that comes her way.

“When I joined Zonta I basically took on chairman of one of those committees, a lot of people in those days joined but didn’t necessarily want to become leaders.”

“I was the vice-president then I became the president not long after that.

“I was also involved in the Zonta committee for conference and was also the Zonta chairman of district public relations and communication.

“I’ve always been very community-minded and so has my husband Charlie.”

Never one to hold back, Nan loved to take things head-on and give everything a go.

“I joined Zonta because I like to be involved and I’m not happy to just sit back and watch, I’m one of those people that are just painful because I’m always talking.

“At the time everyone kind of sat back and no-one wanted to be the chairman so I said ‘OK, I’ll do it’.

“I’m a big part of the Zonta International Women’s Day breakfast and I organise the guest speakers.”

It seems the trend has followed through another generation with Nan’s daughter and sister both involved in Zonta.

“My daughter Penelope Martella was a president of Zonta and my sister Irene Bell is also involved in Zonta.”

Not only is Nan heavily involved in Zonta but she has spent a lot of her spare time at Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre volunteering.

“I’m also now a life member of BREC,” she said.

“When I was leaving the school, one of the parents asked if I’d be interested in volunteering at BREC, so I did.”

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