Committee of Management

The Railway House is an incorporated association and has a set of rules which guide how it operates. The rules explain the Committee’s role and how it is chosen.  

What is the Committee’s purpose?  

The key roles of the Committee are: 

  • Compliance – checking to make sure the Railway House operates in accordance with legal requirements and its  
  • Finance – monitoring financial reports and deciding how funds should be spent 
  • Performance – supporting the Railway House to perform at its best by approving and monitoring important policies and plans 

How is the Committee chosen? 

At each annual general meeting, the members decide how large the Committee should be and elect the: 

  • president 
  • secretary 
  • treasurer 
  • ordinary members 

Each of these roles has specific responsibilities which are detailed in the rules. All Committee members are volunteers and must comply with the Railway House code of conduct. 

How much work is involved in being a member of the Committee? 

The Committee usually meets once a month. In addition to preparing for the meeting, committee members are also encouraged to support the Railway House by volunteering their expertise to support staff (for example, IT skills), attending events, supporting staff in developing policies and seeking funding and volunteering in programs. 

The Committee has created three subcommittees: 

  • Garden 
  • Finance and Risk
  • Fundraising 

Each of these subcommittees includes at least one member of the Committee of Management as well as other members selected by the Committee of Management. Becoming involved in a subcommittee is another great way to support the Railway House. 

Contact the Railway House if you are interested in joining the Committee of Management or one of the subcommittees. 

2020 – 2021 Committee of Management

Megan Scannell – President

I joined the committee of the Railway House last year.  I am particularly proud of the work I have done in collaboration with other committee members and staff, to:

  • Support staff and volunteers to deliver programs at the house which best serve our diverse local community
  • Enhance strategic planning
  • Refine governance arrangements and policies to ensure the Railway House meets legislative requirements and those of funders

 I have particularly enjoyed learning more about the programs run by the Railway House, participating in events and getting to know people who attend, volunteer and work at the House. 

I have lived with my family in Princes Hill for more than 20 years and have had a long career working in law and public policy with a particular focus on advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and the rights of children and young people.

After receiving my law degree in the United States, I moved to Sydney, Australia and worked as a solicitor in private practice and then Redfern Community Legal Centre.  Since moving to Princes Hill in 1994, I have held a variety of senior legal and policy positions in government departments and agencies.  As a Principal Policy Advisor in the Commission for Children and Young People, I supported the development and promotion of a range of resources designed to enhance child safety in organisations. 

In addition to my law degree from Harvard Law School, I have an Executive Master of Public Administration from Monash University and a Diploma of Family History from the University of Tasmania.

Kenneth Gardner – Treasurer

I formerly served as President of the Railway House committee of management. I have led the review of the House Constitution and an overall improvement in the governance of the Railway House.

I have a legal qualification and a background in management including CEO of Energy Safe Victoria and the Master Plumbers Association and am currently on a number of Boards in the construction sector. 

Rachel Tuffield – Secretary

I am a parent whose child has been using the services of the Railway House for over 3 years. My mother has been an active participant in the programs of the house since moving to Australia and it helped her to build her social network and to broaden her interests, so I have seen the positive impact the House can have.

My background is in the private sector and in state government working on how organisations and people can function more effectively and so I am keen to use my skills to support the committee in any way I can.

Tony Dalton – Ordinary Member

I am a resident of North Carlton and know that The Railway House has been an important contributor to local level social support and community-based education. It is seeking to grow its contribution to local community development, especially through the community garden project. My career was in university research and teaching in social policy, focussing in particular on urban development and housing.

I am now Professor Emeritus with the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University following retirement at the end of 2016. I have also been involved in non-government sector policy and advocacy through Shelter, ACOSS, Hanover Welfare, Housing Justice Roundtable and Launch Housing

Patricia Sexton – Ordinary Member

I’m a retired educator. Professionally I spent 19 years in Primary and Special Schools.  I was an active unionist and promoted issues of equity and access for women and people with disabilities.  Later, I worked with the Ford Motor Company in their Training Department, where I was employed to develop curriculum and deliver programs to people in the workplace who may have had very little formal education. From there I ran my own business as a Training Consultant specialising in team development and leadership skills. 

My other interest has been personal development. I attended The Augustine Centre in Hawthorn and later became a group leader. I volunteered in this role for many years and have always appreciated being able to apply what I learnt to my professional and private life. 

 I retired to become a grandmother at 58. My partner and I have a blended family that includes 7 grandchildren. We’ve been very fortunate to be involved in their early years as caregivers. Added to that I’ve been a  renovator, gardener, cook, keen traveller, and more recently a writer. 

Family and friends are a priority as is being healthy and fit, living sustainably and accepting difference. My most recent hobby is bottling produce from our garden. Pickled figs are a speciality. 

Esther Stewart – Ordinary Member

I am a Princes Hill resident and deeply value Railway House and its place within the local community. As a volunteer at Railway House for a number of years running the after school children’s craft class, I recently served on the Railway Garden Subcommittee during the gardens construction period and subsequent launch and initial operation.
I am a practicing artist and believe strongly in the importance of community.  I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts (honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts, a Master of Social Sciences and Humanities from the University of Melbourne and am currently completing a Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. 

Pam Tuffield – Ordinary Member

I have a degree in Social Sciences & a professional social work qualification. I worked with children & families for Local Authorities in the UK, managing a team of social workers for my final 10 years.  On retirement I moved to Melbourne in 2008 to be near my 2 daughters & 6 grandkids.

As a user of the Neighbourhood House (and a volunteer) I think it’s important for at least one committee member to be familiar with the day-to-day activities and programs from the participants’ viewpoint.  I have been participating in programs at Railway House for a number of years and I currently participate in the choir, community lunch, cooking class, tai chi, book club and the monthly bus trip.

Hannah McVean – Ordinary Member

I spent five years as a school councilor and president and presented at the Learning Environments Australasia Conference 2016, addressing education leaders and architects about designing a visible school culture owned by the school community to improve teaching and learning effectiveness. 

I have led projects in cultural transformation and education engagement, coordinated community mobilisation, run efficient research to uncover valuable insights, and implemented campaigns to raise awareness and increase understanding.  

I am also a trained facilitator who supports stakeholders via workshops and forums to work together on complex matters such as community issues or setting a strategic direction for an organisation. 

Diana Walpole – Ordinary Member

For over 20 years I have lived in Princes Hill and have been involved in and supported community based programs such as the garden at Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre, art courses and Tai Chi. Programs such as these support and enrich community life and provide many opportunities for new friendships.

I have many interests including music, trekking and travelling and am particularly interested in environmental & sustainability initiatives – and try to walk the talk by cycling everywhere. The establishment of a Community garden at the Railway House is a very exciting development.

I have worked in schools as a music teacher and librarian and am currently employed Tuesdays part-time at the Princes Hill Community Centre, another locally based organisation.