Kathleen Holmes OAM joined the Zonta Club of Sydney in her capacity as a business executive with Unilever, however her greatest achievement was the founding of what is now known as Glaucoma Australia with Dr Ivan Goldberg in 1986.
Kathleen Holmes was born in 1923. After her schooling she went to business college, and in 1941 she joined the Women’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force and was posted to Wagga Wagga for a year’s service.
After the war she worked in England, and was a personal assistant to the managing director of Australian Paper Manufacturer (APM), which allowed her to travel internationally investigating developments in paper and coal industries. On returning to Sydney in the 1950s she joined Unilever.
In 1956 she was a delegate to the first Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conference and gave the final address, despite being one of only a few women to attend.
In 1977 she was made a life member of the Australian Human Resource Institute.
After being treated by Dr Ivan Goldberg for glaucoma in 1983 she worked with Dr Goldberg to establish the organisation now known as Glaucoma Australia. She initially opened her house to allow volunteers to work together from her lounge room. By 1988 the Foundation was incorporated and registered as a charity and when it outgrew her living room she employed a national executive officer to take over day to day running of the organisation. Kathleen was awarded her Order of Australia Medal in 1996 for services to community health, particularly through the Glaucoma Foundation of Australia. Glaucoma Australia continues to award the Kath Holmes scholarships to assist trainees with travel to glaucoma related meetings and for the best presentation by a Registrar.