Home College Angels on show at the Zoo

Angels on show at the Zoo

Danielle Robertson & Dena Blackman

Once upon a time back in the years before 1967, young mothers were expected to show the true spirit of Australia by being superwomen. They were able to balance a family household within a tight budget of one income and never allowed to fall ill. In those days, some lucky young mums still had a great support group of extended family who lent a hand when the going got tough. Then times changed, breadwinners were obliged to become mobile and their partners were expected to cope in unfamiliar surroundings as young families moved away from their support group. One such person was Dena Blackman who had moved interstate leaving friends and family back in Queensland.

All was fine until shortly after the birth of her third child when she fell ill. With two other children under the age of six there was no assistance available from local councils or government. Dena realized just how many young women must have been in the same situation, One Sunday morning she was vacuuming the lounge and the thought came to her “If only I could have dialled an Angel to do some of the routine housework, I may have been able to cope better”. The words “dial an angel” kept repeating themselves in her head. She realised there should be an Agency that catered for the short-term needs of stressed families.

Founded in March 1967 by Dena Blackman, DIAL-AN-ANGEL grew quickly from a one person, one-telephone office to 11 offices nationwide, four of which are franchises. The Company now employs 50 full-time staff with over 10,000 registered Angels providing quality home and family care to tens of thousands of satisfied clients.

To put Dena’s achievement into perspective it was only one year after the removal of the marriage bar in the Commonwealth Public Service that required all women once they were married to retire from the workforce! Moreover, it took until 1971 for the first bank to provide a loan to women without a male guarantor.

DIAL-AN-ANGEL has always been “a family affair". Four generations of Dena’s family have been involved in the business over more than four decades, including Dena’s mother, three daughters, a niece, a cousin, and more recently her eldest granddaughter. A vital ingredient in the success of the business is Dena’s belief that a family business is the crossroad of two amazing and unparalleled experiences. One experience is the raising and nurturing of a family. The other is the building and nurturing of a business as a livelihood and an expression of personal vision and achievement.

Dena believes that family businesses are an excellent way to introduce younger members to the wonder and excitement of the commercial world whether or not their future lies in the family business.

Established in November 1996 the Canberra office serves all areas of the ACT, Queanbeyan and surrounding areas. With a phone call, DIAL-AN-ANGEL Canberra is able to provide Angels for housekeeping & home cleaning, gardening & home maintenance, nannies, childcare & babysitting, disability care, supervised contact visits, pet care, caretaking, aged care, in-home nursing and even for assistance with home & corporate functions.

DIAL-AN-ANGEL is just one of the family businesses taking part in the Family Business Australia (FBA) Family Expo at the National Zoo & Aquarium on Sunday 9 November. The FBA Family expo is a fun family event filled with new ideas, products and solutions to help Canberra families. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.fbafamilyexpo.com.au, email fbaact@fambiz.com.au or phone (02) 6292-1573.

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