Who is Mary Downer?
Mary Downer, Lady Downer is a prominent South Australian patron, wife of deceased MP and high commissioner Sir Alexander Downer, and mother of former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. Mary became Lady Downer in 1965 when her husband was knighted.
Mary and her four brothers were raised in Adelaide where she was educated at Seymour College, a private Uniting Church school for girls. Her father, Sir James Gosse, was a prominent Adelaide businessman and philanthropist, as was her grandfather Robert Barr Smith. At the age of 18, in the thick of World War II, Mary, like her brothers before her, enlisted in the Army. She joined the Searchlight Battalion where she served as a truck driver in Western Australia.
Lady Downer moved to London with her husband in 1964 as he took up the post of Australian High Commissioner. Here she became involved in an Australian expatriate community, establishing the Chicken and Chablis Club which remains active today.
Lady Downer has been an active patron of the Mary Potter Foundation since 1994 . The Mary Potter Foundation works to raise funds to support the work of the Mary Potter Hospice operated by Calvary Health Care Adelaide and to support the development of services to the terminally ill and their families by the Mary Potter Hospice through the provision of additional buildings, facilities, equipment and/or services.