Memorial Service for Ruth Alicia Charlton


Welcome everyone to this Memorial Service for Ruth Alicia Charlton who was a life member of the Australian Dispute Resolution Association otherwise known as ADRA. My name is Katherine Johnson, and I am the current President of ADRA and the Coordinator of Pave Peace a sister organisation whom we must thank for the use of this venue today.

The stream available below was recorded via Zoom from the Parkes Room at NSW Parliament House to honour and celebrate Ruth’s life and PAVE would like to extend a special thanks to Peta Waller-Bryant and to Ian Delahunty for making this venue possible in such a short time.


The Recording of the Memorial Service


We also thank Ruth’s husband Geoff for sending the live streaming details for Ruth’s funeral which occurred on Monday 5 September at 1.30pm. It was a lovely celebration of a life very well lived of which I am sure Ruth would have been very proud. Like that session, this Zoom session will be recorded to send on to Ruth’s extended family in England.

Before we proceed any further however, I would like to read the following Apology from ADRA’s Patron the Hon. Terry William Sheahan, AO.

Terry says,

It is with deep regret that I note the passing of Ruth Charlton.

As Patron of ADRA, I also sincerely regret that I am unable to attend the memorial on 8th, either in person or on Zoom. I extend my sincere condolences to Geoff and all who held Ruth close. May her noble soul rest in peace.

Many younger devotees of ADR may not be aware of how significant Ruth Charlton’s role in its advancement has been. Those of us who have been involved for many years are in awe of her efforts and her standing – we stand on the shoulders of several giants, but none more significant than Life member, Ruth Charlton.

We thank Terry for his condolences.

There were also apologies for this memorial from Mary Walker a Fellow of ADRA, who is currently overseas and from Amber Williams, the CEO of Resolution Institute who is currently interstate and from Ruth’s daughter, Natasha.

ADRA thanks Amber Williams for sending this Zoom link to the members of Resolution Institute via its Pulse newsletter so that they too can participate in this memorial service. We thank all you who have joined us today via Zoom. Amber has also organised Fiona Hollier to represent Resolution Institute in her place at today‘s memorial and we welcome Fiona as well as all those who have attended here in person today whom I will introduce very shortly to say a few words each about Ruth.

On behalf of ADRA therefore, as its President, I extend ADRA’s condolences to Geoff and his family and I also extend my personal condolences as does my partner, Ashley Wood. 

For me, Ruth was not just an inspiration but living proof that being a woman in a world with as much animosity against Dispute Resolution as there was 30 years ago from the legal profession in Sydney was still no barrier to getting things done.

Dispute Resolution in Australia survived those difficult days from the efforts of giants like Ruth who continued to simply work silently in the background, pushing the wagon of Dispute Resolution as the way forward for the future. Ruth leaves a legacy as the editor of the Australian Dispute Resolution Journal for over 30 years and that is just one of her accomplishments.

The journal began its life as a newsletter from ADRA and ADRA is very proud that it was the original home of such dispute resolution devotees who became giants in their field, like Ruth Charlton.

We will now begin the service with some words from Ruth’s husband, Geoff Charlton, followed by Allan Parker, a life member of ADRA, then Deborah Lockhart, CEO of Australian Disputes Centre, Anne Ardagh a Fellow of ADRA, and last but not least from Fiona Hollier representing Resolution Institute.

We also have in attendance, Ruth’s and Geoff’s son, Christopher Charlton, David Ardagh (Ann’s husband), Jane Houselander (an Executive member of ADRA), Margaret McCue, (Treasurer of ADRA), Nina Harding (member of ADRA) and Paul Lewis, ex-President of ADRA, all of whom will be offered the chance to say a few words about Ruth should they choose to do so.

After the speeches there will be a posthumous award for Ruth from ADRA that will be received by her husband, Geoff and following that we will have light refreshments and enjoy the rest of the afternoon as Ruth with her very good humour would have expected us to do.

As stated before, I again thank all those attending via Zoom and am mindful that you too form part of this memorial community. If time permits, we will also offer you a chance to say a few words about Ruth.

I now hand over to Geoff Charlton.

In-person attendance: 1. Geoff Charlton, 2. Christopher Charlton, 3. Katherine Johnson, 4. Ashley Wood, 5. Allan Parker, 6. Deborah Lockhart, 7. Nina Harding, 8. Jane Houselander, 9. Margaret McCue, 10. Anne Ardagh, 11. David Ardagh, 12. Fiona Hollier, 13. Paul Lewis.


Ruth Charlton ADRA