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Why community and connection are so important

Steph Ryan MP

This magazine throws a spotlight on the stories of more than 50 community groups and businesses, and over 110 people in Kilmore.

I’d like to thank each and every person who gave their time to share their stories.


Red Hat Society

Updated: Mar 22, 2019

In a world where many little girls dream of being princesses, it seems that grown women can live the fantasy. At least, that’s according to Jan Childs of the Red Hat Society in Kilmore.

Jan Childs of the Red Hat Society in Kilmore
Jan Childs of the Red Hat Society in Kilmore

Jan is impeccably presented: purple dress and red hat; she is ‘Queen’ of the Rubies and Peals chapter of the Red Hat Society in Kilmore.

Jan, who is also known as ‘Queen Janesca’ is part of global movement that provides women, particularly those aged over 50, to have fun and make enduring friendships.

“Women of a certain age still want a social life,” Jan says. “We want to be able to have ‘me time,’ separate to the baby-sitting of grandchildren or the rigours of charity drives”.

Jan initiated the Rubies and Pearls chapter in Kilmore a couple of years ago. She had been a member in Queensland but new to town, found that she didn’t know many people.

“There just aren’t a lot of opportunities for women my age to socialise, to dress up, go out and have a good time,” Jan says. “That’s why I decided to start the Rubies and Pearls chapter”.

Women over 50 wear red hats and purple dresses. Women under 50 wear lilac dresses and pink hats.  Together they attend all sorts of events, from coffees and lunches, to more elaborate affairs like boat cruises and gala dinners.

But the group is not just about fashion and frivolity. Jan says that the community plays an important role in maintaining and improving the mental health of women.

“When you move into older age, it can be very isolating,” Jan says. “The kids grow up and move out of home. You retire. Rubies and Pearls is a social group, but we provide support and care, too”.

To run a chapter well, Jan tells us that you must be organised, particularly where medium to large events are involved.

In just two years, the Rubies and Pearls chapter has become extremely active, with three major events planned for 2019. In addition to local members, women come from as far as Shepparton, Geelong, Bacchus Marsh, Surrey Hills and Bendigo to join in.

Like any kind of royal undertaking, being a Red Hat Queen involves a lot of commitment. But Jan doesn’t seem phased.

“I’m just an ordinary person. But when my red hat goes on, my little girl comes out to play".


8 March, 10.30am.

Champagne and Shopping at Copella, followed by lunch at Oddfellows Café.

11 April, 10.45am. 

Boat cruise on Lake Nagambie, with games (Red Hat bingo) and a picnic lunch. $25pp.                      waitlist

25 July 11.30am for 12:00pm.

Celebrate 18 years of Red Hatting in Australia: 60 ladies will attend a Rock n Roll party at Kustom Burgers, Red Lion Brewery.   waitlist

Interested in being in Rubies and Pearls or attending an event? Contact Jan Childs


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