About Motherless Daughters Australia

WRAPPING OUR ARMS AROUND DAUGHTERS AND FAMILIES

Our aim is to help women, girls, and families navigate the emotional distress and lifelong impact caused by the loss of their mothers. We believe that with the right support, guidance and resources, motherless daughters feel less alone and more supported in their life journey. 

By providing a space to grieve in an empowering and positive way, and offering support as they navigate life and it’s many milestones without mum - daughters and families alike can become stronger together. 

Embracing women's lived experiences of mother loss is at the centre of our work. Bringing together women of all ages and backgrounds to comfort and support each other in a non-judgmental space, Motherless Daughters provides the platform to facilitate discussion that might otherwise not have been possible. 

For us, it goes beyond care and support of daughters and families, it’s about raising awareness in the community of the often overlooked impacts of mother loss. The more aware families, friends and colleagues are of what to look out for, the more we can all support daughters in coping with the loss of one of life's most precious relationships.

A LOSS THAT LASTS A LIFETIME

Mother loss can have a profound impact resulting in deep emotional scars and mental health challenges. There are millions of women in Australia coping with this loss.

Of the 12M women in Australia,
3,738,000
have lost their mothers.
Approximately
1,200,000
women have experienced mother loss before the age of 44.

SUPPORTING DAUGHTERS AND FAMILIES

What We Do

Our work focuses on three core promises. Building connections - we’ll create opportunities for women, girls and families with young children to connect with one another and receive support to cope without their mum.

Creating awareness - we’ll educate the community to equip them with the skills to support women and girls who have experienced mother loss. Present evidence - we’ll research and always remain curious about our community’s experiences to inform future activities and services, so they remain relevant and valuable to our members. 

We deliver on these promises through a range of events and support programmes.

Party Popper
Events
Facebook Icon
Private online community
Angel wings icon
Awareness programs
Illustration of two friends with arms around each other
Support programs
Illustration of a Journal
Commemorative initiatives
Illustration of a magnifying glass
Research and thought leadership

Our Vision

To be the leading national not-for-profit organisation that represents, informs, supports and connects women and girls after their mothers have died.

Our Mission

To connect and inform women and girls whose mothers have died, by supporting them through life’s journey as they navigate the everyday, including life’s milestones, without their mum.

Our Values

Respect

Everyone processes their grief in their own way, at their own pace. We respect how our community chooses to cope.

Empathy

We strive to understand the emotions of our community and create a space to share and be open, together.

Non-judgement

Every daughter's experience is different. We will foster an environment where experiences and emotions are shared without judgement.

Collaboration and Connection

Together we’re stronger, so we’re committed to working closely with our community to provide the best possible support.

Transparency

As a registered charity, we’ll provide you, our community and stakeholders, with transparency in all we do.

Authenticity

We’re on this journey ourselves, so we’re committed to being authentic and sharing our own journey with you.

Meet The Founders

Portrait of Danielle Snelling

Danielle Snelling

Danielle was 23 when her mother Rosa, aged 56, died from a rare form of gynaecological cancer in 2012. Rosa shared in the joy of Danielle completing her Bachelor of Education degree and encouraged her to follow her passion for teaching. Following Rosa's death, Danielle continued to pursue her teaching career in South Eastern Victoria. 

As Danielle had such a close and special relationship with her mum, she felt as though her whole world had fallen apart and found it difficult to contemplate the finality associated with death. Not knowing anyone her own age that had also experienced the loss of a mother left Danielle feeling misunderstood and lonely. 

Danielle longed to connect with another woman who was in the same shoes, but there was no support specific to losing a mother. 

While riding the waves of grief, Danielle decided to invest her time and channel her energy into creating the support network she would have liked available and to change the path for future motherless daughters. In 2013, she reached out on an American Mother Loss Facebook page with the hopes of finding a Victorian-based woman in the same shoes and who might share her vision to connect girls and women whose mothers have died.

Eloise Baker-Hughes responded and the two met where they discussed all things mother loss. It was here the idea of Motherless Daughters was born.

Portrait of Eloise Baker-Hughes

Eloise Baker-Hughes

Eloise was only 13 when her mother Janet, aged 47, passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack in 2002. Janet was on her way home from work and had stopped by the local florist to buy a bunch of flowers for her own Mother's birthday, when she went into cardiac arrest.

Eloise grew up living with her dad, step mum, two older brothers and step brother in Melbourne. As a teenager, Eloise often longed to have her motherless life understood and supported by her fellow peers at an all girls school and also in the wider community. 

A chance online connection with Danielle made for an instant friendship and special connection In 2014, in fact, Danielle was a bridesmaid in Eloise's wedding. The opportunity to help create and establish Motherless Daughters Australia was an absolute dream come true for Eloise as its vision and ideas spoke strongly to her heart. 

Eloise has faced many of life's milestones without her mum, but was fortunate enough to have had her maternal grandmother by her side supporting her for most of these milestones until 2020 when she passed away. In 2020, Eloise became a first time mum to daughter, Matilda.

Our Board

Portrait of Mark Woolley

Mark Woolley

(Chair)

Mark has worked in both the corporate and not for profit sector and has a passion for bringing business and community together. He is a lawyer with extensive experience in providing advice on major property/planning transactions and advising on property and governance related issues.

Mark connected with Motherless Daughters through his wife’s experience; “both my wife and mother had amazing close relationships with their mothers who they talked to just about every day. The bond between them was incredible and I wish MDA had existed then so that there had been an opportunity to engage with other daughters when their mothers passed.”

Over the course of his career, Mark has been part of executive leadership teams and led professional service teams. Mark brings expertise in developing national capabilities and competencies.

Portrait of Sally Browne AM

Sally Browne AM

Sally Browne has had a diverse life… as a teenager she played the washboard with the Red Onion Jazz band. In the late 60’s she became a Fashion Designer, started her own business and won a myriad of awards for excellence in fashion design and business leadership.

Sally is an Australia Day Ambassador and serves on a number of committees and boards. She is also involved with philanthropic activities through her Charitable Foundations. Sally’s mum died of Motor Neurone Disease when Sally was a young mother herself. 

Over a decade ago she started a group for young women who had lost their mothers, sweetly known as ‘Girls without Mummies’. She has always had a real soft spot for young women who lose their mums and is honoured to be involved with Motherless Daughters Australia.

Portrait of Brad Ward

Brad Ward

Brad is a leading brand and strategic marketing advisor and researcher. He is a Company Director of Medical Minds Pty Ltd, a leading strategic marketing and brand development organisation for medical and health care professionals.

With a national reputation for helping to deliver innovative brand strategies and advertising solutions for health care professionals and organisations, Brad uses evidence-based marketing science and consumer behaviour research to design competitive advantage.  

As a marketing researcher and academic, Brad has expertise in consumer psychology, practice led research, service innovation, consumer anthropology, digital marketing and emerging digital technologies.  

Acknowledging the critical shortage of specialised grief support for Australian daughters who have lost their mothers, Brad is committed to helping raise awareness and understanding of the social and psychological effects of this unique type of loss. 

Portrait of Kelly Curtain

Kellie Curtain

Kellie is a former broadcast journalist, with more than 15 years experience covering News and Current Affairs for Australia's major television networks.

Kellie recently spent six years living in the Middle East. Her move to expat life came when she was 42, a year after losing her mother Pamela to breast cancer, who was 71.  For the self-confessed 'home body', leaving Australia and her close network of family and friends was a big step, but no bigger than the prospect of life without her mum who had been her best friend and part of her day, everyday.  

Life in the sands provided an opportunity to heal and to write the book she didn't know she had in her. 'What will I wear to your funeral?' is a memoir about final conversations before dying. It's raw, funny, heart breaking and depicts the unique bond between mother and daughter. 

Kellie is currently a consultant for Breast Cancer Network Australia and an ambassador for Advanced Care Planning Australia.

Portrait of Echo Beltsos-Russo

Echo Beltsos-Russo

Echo loves nothing more than bringing people and businesses together through shared purpose to build truly meaningful relationships and brands.

With experience in advertising and marketing, Echo has lead entire marketing functions throughout her 20 year career, to deliver outstanding results across brands such as Libra, Nestle, Pacific Brands and the University of Melbourne. 

With executive leadership experience and a Bachelor of Psychology, Management and Marketing from Monash University, Echo brings a deep understanding of human behaviour and psychology to Motherless Daughters Australia. 

After losing her mum at 36 to cancer, Echo wanted to contribute to an organisation that allowed her to share her story, while helping others through the unique and enduring labyrinth that is mother loss. 

Portrait of Christina Liosis

Christina Liosis

Christine is a progressive Financial Services leader and experienced non executive director.

Bringing a wide range of financial and risk experience to Motherless Daughters Australia, Christina’s specialist skills include risk and corporate governance, audit, finance and strategy.  Christina has been providing  Enterprise Risk Management  support to Wealth Projects and  Services to a large Wealth mangers  and industry funds in the past ten years. 

Prior to that, Christina has enjoyed many years experience managing stakeholders namely- regulatory relationships from a Risk perspective with the regulators APRA and ASIC. Christina has worked  as a CFO supporting Audit & Risk Committees, Risk Committees and Boards to develop appropriate financial systems, Risk Frameworks and reporting  to suit the risk profile of the organisation.

Christina is passionate about helping young girls and women reach their full potential and sees the work and support provided by MDA as critical for those women who have experienced the overwhelming impact of mother loss, especially as important life milestones approach

OUR SUPPORTERS

We are honoured to have the following supporters believe in our vision to be a national not for profit organisation that represents, informs, supports and connects women and girls whose mothers have died, to help navigate the everyday and life's key milestones.

OUR COMMUNITY

LOOKING FOR SUPPORT FROM WOMEN WHO GET IT?

DONATE TO MDA

SUPPORT DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY NEED IT MOST.

Motherless Daughters Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional owners and custodians of the land, sea and nations and pay our respects to elders, past and present.
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