About Mary Ranken
Miss Mary Ranken, who lived in Northern Ireland, was concerned with the poverty and lack of facilities for women and children in her area. In 1893, she planned and had built a Rest Centre in “Coleraine”. It was believed to be the first of its kind in that country.
She was a great-aunt of Mr T. R. Lyle of “Calala” Curlewis. On a visit to Ireland in 1923 Mr Lyle was most impressed with the Rest Centre, and being a man vitally interested in the well-being of the women and children of his own community considered a similar one would fulfil a need in Gunnedah and district.
After consultation with local Council he purchased and donated land in Marquis Street and requested that a Rest Centre building be constructed on this site. The building to be named “The Mary Ranken Women’s Rest Centre” – to perpetuate the memory of his aunt and her original idea. The centre was erected and furnished by “The Gunnedah Municipal and Liverpool Plains Councils” and officially opened in 1959.