03 February 2016

Edna Hopkins, Canberran of the Year 1980

Edna Hopkins was one of the pioneers of English as a Second Language (ESL) education in Australia.

She first began teaching English to Jewish refugees while still at University in Queensland in 1938. As a young bride in Palestine in 1948, Edna experienced for herself the isolation and frustration of being unable to make herself understood in a new country.

Settling in Canberra in 1960, Edna taught English to newly arrived students at the ANU and in 1968 became Canberra's firs permanent, full-time teacher of English as a second language in schools.

She was active at a local and national level in ESL curriculum development, even after formal retirement in 1978.

Further biographical detail about Edna Hopkins is available on our website, as is a history of the Canberra Citizen of the Year Award and a full list of awardees.
The 40th consecutive Canberra Citizen of the Year will be announced by the Chief Minister during Canberra Day Celebrations in March 2016.

Image source: ACT Heritage Library image 007236, Canberra Times Collection