Cover image for Jessie and Leo Luckman
Jessie and Leo Luckman
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Jessie Sheila Wakefield was born on 6 May 1910 in Willoughby, Sydney, NSW, to Percy and Ethel Wakefield (nee Magee). At the age of 4 the family re-located to Tasmania where Percy took up the position of Manager of the MLC Assurance Company in Hobart. The family settled in West Hobart. Jessie began piano lessons at age 5 and showed musical talent from this early age.
She made her debut radio solo broadcast at age 15 and with subsequent studies at the NSW Conservatorium of Music and University of Tasmania, went on to become a music teacher and professional musician, playing both cello and piano, and sometimes percussion, with the Hobart Symphony Orchestra (later ABC Tasmanian Orchestra) and the 7ZL Studio Orchestra.
When the 7ZL station was taken over by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), Jessie was engaged by the ABC as a player and also as a script writer and presenter for the ABC Music Education section. 
Jessie married Leo Luckman in 1943, fellow member of the Hobart Walking Club which she had joined in 1936 and to which they were both made Honorary life members (Leo in 1950 and Jessie in 1963). They were also active in skiing and in caverneering, (foundation members of the Caverneering Club in Tasmania). Jessie and Leo also carried out research into Aboriginal artefacts in North west Tasmania
During World War II, in 1943, Jessie joined the Australian Army Education Service and went to Western Australia where, amongst other duties, she gave recitals at army stations. She returned to Tasmania and Leo in 1946.
Leo was a stonemason, having learnt the craft from his father, Edwin Luckman. Leo worked in the restoration of many significant colonial sandstone structures - Ross Bridge, St David's Cathedral, St Mary's Cathedral, various churches, the GPO and the government Treasury building. He also had farming interests in the Sorell area. Leo was a keen photographer and member of the Southern Tasmanian Photographic Society. He was introduced to camping and bushwalking by his father who had built many of the Mt Wellington huts around the turn of the century. Leo's lifelong love of the Tasmanian landscape and wilderness exploration was recognised by the naming of Lake Leo and Luckman's Lead in the Arthur Ranges in his honour. Leo was also a member of the Field Naturalists Club and Royal Society of Tasmania.
Jessie and Leo were some of Tasmania's first conservationists. Together they joined campaigns to save Tasmania's environment, heritage and natural resources. They believed strongly in the importance of old-growth forests, wildlife and wilderness.
Leo died suddenly in August 1976, aged 64, and Jessie died in May 2014 aged 104.

Information Sources:
Mercury (Tas), 25 January 1997 and 6 May 2010; Saturday Evening Mercury (Tas) 18 December 1976; "Wilderness Pioneer, Part 1" in Leatherwood, 2004; Nomination form for Order of Australia (NS5860/1/6); "A Tasmanian Life", paper presented to the Tasmanian Historical Research Association on 10 March 1998 and published in Papers and Proceedings March 1999 (Vol 46, No. 1)
Hobart Walking Club (NG667)21 Nov 1929