Honouring WA’s first female MLC, Ruby Hutchison, who founded Epilepsy WA 60 years ago

Epilepsy WA is calling for the descendants of its founder Hon. Ruby Hutchison MLC to join its Diamond Jubilee 60th year celebrations in 2023.

The charity is celebrating six decades of helping the WA epilepsy community cope with this chronic neurological disorder – thanks to the foresight and dedication of WA’s first female MLC in the Upper House of the WA Parliament who also founded consumer watchdog CHOICE. 

Ruby Hutchison was a passionate trailblazer – a former homemaker, dressmaker and mother to seven children who attended university in her 40s to study politics and master multiple languages. 

Ruby immersed herself in serving the WA community and championing rights for all – a strong woman firebrand whose forthrightness and passion brought about controversial change at a time when women were only granted a vote if they owned property.

Founding the Epilepsy Association of WA in 1963 and serving as President for a number of years, Ruby raised awareness of epilepsy globally, receiving the prestigious Global Epilepsy Ambassador Award from the ILAE – International League Against Epilepsy – in 1969.

Ruby also founded consumer watchdog CHOICE, determined to inform consumers about their rights having seen men and women around her fall victim to salesman product traps. Both Epilepsy WA and CHOICE represent Ruby’s sense of equality, justice, and compassion.

As well as inviting Ruby’s family to participate, Epilepsy WA is also issuing a callout to anyone who has ever been assisted by or had ties with the charity over the past 60 years to join its Diamond Jubilee events and walk the first symbolic lap of its Purple Walk 4 Epilepsy WA on Purple Day, Sunday March 26 (at Curtin University) to unite West Aussies for epilepsy awareness.

On Purple Day more than 40 landmarks in cities and towns across WA will light up in purple for Purple Lights 4 Epilepsy WA from 6pm to shine the spotlight on epilepsy awareness. 

Epilepsy WA proudly continues Ruby Hutchison’s work fighting to reduce stigma and risk of injury from epilepsy and bring this hidden condition out of the shadows, offering a range of statewide essential epilepsy support services and epilepsy management training.

Media contact: Epilepsy WA CEO Emma Buitendag on 0402 628 669 ceo@epilepsywa.asn.au