Extraordinary lady leaves $4.3m fortune to Newcastle's homeless in her will

The former home of Lillian Fardell at The Terrace, The Hill.
The former home of Lillian Fardell at The Terrace, The Hill.

In life and in death, Lily Fardell left an extraordinary impression.

Lillian Fardell.

Lillian Fardell.

Her final wishes were formally carried out on Friday when her $4.3 million estate was handed to St Vincent de Paul Society to help the charity better serve the Hunter’s homeless children and their families.

Her charity and generosity knew no bounds, and her legacy amounts to the largest single donation ever given to St Vincent de Paul.

In her final will read after her death early this year, the Fair Lady of the The Hill ordered that her home and its contents be auctioned with all the proceeds going towards housing homeless youth.

Her home, the historic Pacific House at 4 The Terrace on The Hill, sold for $2.3 million in June. Its contents were auctioned in September. Combined with the sale of a share portfolio, the final figure came to a staggering $4.3 million.

Mrs Fardell’s nephew Michael Ellis, who had cared for Lily in her final 15 years, attended Friday’s brief ceremony attended by St Vincent de Paul representatives and her solicitors from Bilbie Dan who had managed her affairs.

“It was an extraordinary bequest,” solicitor Nick Dan said. “It’s certainly the biggest single donation I’ve ever seen as others tend to divide it up among various charities.”

Peter Fishlock, the president of Vinnies’ Maitland-Newcastle division said the money would be used for the purpose intended by Mrs Fardell, providing shelter for homeless children and their families.

Born at Minmi, Mrs Fardell moved into Pacific House in 1958 with her husband Noel who died about 15 years ago. Her generosity was renowned, as were the tea parties she would hold for friends on the wide verandahs of Pacific House which look out across King Edward Park.

Hundreds of people packed into the auction of the home’s contents, many wanting to buy a small memento through which they could remember the extraordinary lady.