Necia Mocatta

Necia Mocatta devoted much of her life, energy and enthusiasm to the betterment and dignity of the lives of women and children. She believed that the family unit was the foundation on which a caring, prosperous society was built and focused her attention on strengthening it at local, national and international levels, rather then pursuing broad issues of gender equality. An astute and successful businesswoman, she became actively involved with the National Council of Women at a state, national and international level as president of both NCW South Australia (1980–1983, 1996) and the National Council of Women of Australia (1985–1988), and as a Board member (1988–1991) then vice-president (1991) of the International Council of Women.

Necia Mocatta (née Homan) was born 14 January 1938 in Kadina, South Australia. She was educated in Kadina, followed by Paskeville and Girton Girls’ School (now Pembroke School). She married George Somerset Mocatta and had four children.

When Mocatta and her family lived in Tintinara and Keith, her community involvement revolved around mothers and babies, the church, the school and general community activities. To give the children a better education, the family moved from Tintinara to Adelaide, where both Necia and George were involved in the real estate business. Later, Necia Mocatta became a licensed sales person and was the first woman auctioneer in South Australia, building a reputation for ethical practice as well astuteness.

Mocatta’s interest in the National Council of Women began when she attended the South Australian branch as a delegate for the Soroptimists. She joined NCWSA in 1970 and, with her passion for organisation, hard work and efficiency, willingly took on executive responsibilities, becoming president from 1980 to 1983. She was made an honorary life member and agreed to be president again in 1996 when circumstances made it difficult to fill the role. She was national president of NCWA from 1985 to 1988. As national president, she looked to adopt business principles and practice; for example, she organised Qantas to supply sponsorship so Board members could attend conferences. Mocatta represented NCWA on various committees, including the National Forum of Non-Government Welfare Co-ordinating Bodies, the National Keep Australia Beautiful Council, the Parliamentary Disarmament Forum and the committee that established the Telecom Consumers’ Council.

After her term as president of NCWA, Mocatta was elected a voting member of the International Council of Women Board (1988–1991), becoming an ICW vice-president in 1991. She attended many ICW conferences, including Nairobi in 1979, London in 1986, and Washington in 1988, which was also the centenary of the International Council. She also attended executive meetings in Kiel, Lucerne, Malta and Auckland. Mocatta directed the triennial conferences in Bangkok in 1991 and Paris in 1994. She was also ICW co-ordinator of Development Projects and liaison officer to Project Five O, an international co-operative enterprise of five women’s service clubs concerned with vocational and other training for women and girls in developing countries and countries in transition.

Mocatta was a long-time member of the Liberal Party and served on the South Australian State Executive and the State Council and was vice-president of the Women’s Council. She became Mayoress of St Peters and a member of the Metropolitan Mayoress’s Charity Committee.

Mocatta also held office in a number of other organisations, including the presidency of the Torrens Soroptimists and club representative to the Soroptimists Regional Council. She was a member of the Steering Committee of the Non-English Cultural Background International Women’s Conference held in Adelaide in 1994, a member of the Australian Institute of Management, president of the Rostrum Club No. 2, and a foundational member and NCWSA’s representative on both the Women’s Information Switchboard support group, and the South Australian Jubilee 150 Women’s Committee. A committed Christian, Mocatta was also on the board of the St Laurence Home for the Aged (now part of Anglicare) for 10 years. She was an active member of All Souls Anglican Church, St Peters, being a member of the Parish Council and a lay assistant, sidesman and a member of the Sanctuary Guild.

Mocatta responded enthusiastically to the needs of women and families, not just in Australia but throughout the world. This interest was stimulated by attending conferences in Germany, Kenya and Korea, where she could see first hand the work of Five O.

Necia Mocatta was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1990 for her services to the community and was awarded a Ruth Gibson Memorial Award by NCWA in 1992. She was awarded the Adrian Stock Award for service to Rostrum in 1993 and 1995. She died in Adelaide on 4 December 2000.

Explore further resources about Nescia Mocatta in the Australian Women's Register.