Rocky woman shocks with selfless last act before death

WHEN Lorraine Hannah died six years ago, she left instructions in her will that the proceeds from the sale of her cattle property west of Rockhampton were to be used to establish a hospital for injured animals.

Last week the Lorraine Hannah Veterinary Hospital was officially named in her honour, as Queensland's most state-of-the-art veterinary hospital at RSPCA headquarters in Brisbane.

According to life-long friend of the Hannah's, Frank Birchall, Lorraine was a quiet, self-effacing woman who always remembered people's birthdays or special occasions.

She grew up as an only child on Wests Corner, a cattle property between Dululu and Westwood and continued to work the property after her marriage to Mal in 1966.

Mr Birchall said the couple never had children and were "very, very close".

"Lorraine had a deep love for animals. They raised beef and she knew most of them by name," he said.

"Mal was telling me, close to the end, that she wanted to do something for the small domestic animals."

Lorraine Hannah's passions were animals and education and her final bequest was for over $600,000 to go to the RSPCA veterinary hospital in Brisbane.

RSPCA spokesman, Michael Beatty said the hospital was built in 2012 but Mrs Hannah's bequest was responsible for equipping it with facilities and equipment that now allows it to operate as a state of the art animal hospital and learning centre.

"Veterinarians and University of Queensland vet students can practice a vast range of skills here," he said.

"Most of the animals that come in have not been well cared for and often have major veterinary and behavioural issues.

"The vast range of conditions the students see and experience broadens their skills in ways that could only have been imagined."

Vet nurse, Dylan Gerard at the Lorraine Hannah Veterinary Hospital at RSPCA headquarters in  Brisbane
Vet nurse, Dylan Gerard at the Lorraine Hannah Veterinary Hospital at RSPCA headquarters in Brisbane

The Hannah's generous spirit was shown throughout their life together.

During the 2008 floods, Mrs Hannah spotted RSPCA Inspector, Laurie Stageman trying to rescue cattle from the floodwaters.

Rather than making a donation, Mrs Hannah immediately bought the RSPCA a new powerboat with outboard and trailer.

Three years later, Mal Hannah heard The Caves fire brigade needed a new station and were selling firewood to raise $8000 of $40,000 needed.

He told the fire brigade to build their station and donated $32,000.

Nobody knows the full extent of the Hannah's generosity and whether it was strategic or impulsive as it appeared at times.

Mr Birchall recalled the day Mrs Hannah walked into the Angel Flight offices and told them she'd like to make a donation.

"She wrote a check for $25,000 and at first they thought it was a mistake," he said.

But it was no mistake and when Lorraine Hannah decided it would be the small domestic animals who would become her greatest beneficiaries.

The Lorraine Hannah Veterinary Hospital now stands as a legacy to the great generosity of this Central Queensland couple.

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