Sept 2017 Sydney Morning Herald
Australian philanthropist and socialite Lady Fairfax died peacefully at her family home 'Fairwater' in Point Piper. Family and friends gathered for her funeral at the historic St Mark's Anglican Church in Darling Point, where her eldest sons Garth Symonds and Warwick Fairfax delivered eulogies. Two of the great passions of Lady (Mary) Fairfax's extraordinary 95-year-life were philanthropy and opera.
Stamp of approval: Lady Mary Fairfax was featured in a series titled Australian Legends.
One of the most unlikely of people, Tim Palmer, 22, shared his memories of the woman who was instrumental in allowing him the gift of hearing. Lady Fairfax was one of the greatest financial supporters of research into hearing loss, including the Children's Cochlear Implant Centre, now the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, a service of Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. Lady Fairfax, together with businesswoman Jenny Tay, formed the East West Foundation, which supported the Metropolitan Opera scholarship awards and the Children's Cochlear Implant Centre.
The signature event of the foundation was the East West Ball held at Lady Fairfax's home, Fairwater, the proceeds benefiting children, such as Mr Palmer, who was diagnosed with profound deafness at six weeks of age. Mr Palmer received a cochlear implant in 1996, at the age of two. At 13, he received his second cochlear implant. Today, he coaches young soccer players, is a talented public speaker, writes for online publications about football, manages and writes his own blog, and achieved an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) in the 90s.