Jennifer Spencer Restarick: A tribute from CSIRO Library Network colleagues

March 25th, 2021

Jennifer died in Melbourne on Friday 26 February 2021. She was known widely across numerous CSIRO Victorian Divisions in which she worked during a career that spanned some fifty years. Jenny’s personal qualities equipped her to excel in library work for she had an inquiring mind and was vigorous and effective in her pursuit of information to address client needs. Jenny had a huge commitment to CSIRO; it was more than just a job for her. Over the years she built up an amazingly deep and broad knowledge of CSIRO’s research, so that her final working years within the CSIRO Enquiries delivered a marvellous resource to the organisation in dealing with public and general enquiries. Jenny was both efficient and tenacious in resolving requests for information and totally unperturbed by the elusive, the difficult, unusual or demanding request.

Jenny’s CSIRO career began at Dairy Research in Highett in 1960/61. Outside her library work, Jenny was always willing to assist as a food taster to sample the experimental bries, powdered milk cakes and more.

Raising two children intervened for some years, then Jenny joined Applied Organic Chemistry (formerly Applied Chemistry) at ‘the Bend’ (Fishermen’s Bend) where she worked in the library initially with Dorothy Lamberton, herself a luminary within the CSIRO Library Network. Jenny continued to work within various Divisions and as amalgamations and relocations took place, Jenny’s later years were situated at the Clayton site and ultimately, she moved across to join CSIRO Enquiries, her final posting in an amazing career of dedicated service to CSIRO.
Jenny gathered so many friends within CSIRO to add to her wide circle of connections. She was the ultimate networker. Lively and vigorous in her approach to her work, just as she was in her social and personal life, Jenny admired people who ‘actually do things’. She was certainly one of those! Jenny’s skills were deployed also in the publishing world as an indexer and proof-reader. She compiled a list of acronyms relating to CSIRO, such as QEM-SEM, and hoped that the list might be kept up to date after she left. On a personal level, Jenny was kind and generous in sharing her skills and knowledge – and her discoveries in excellent food treats and even second-hand shops. She is regarded as a ‘legend’ in CSIRO’s library network and remembered with admiration and respect by numerous former colleagues.

Written by Heather Mathew and based on contributions by Elizabeth Davy, Jean Deacon, Carolynn Larsen, Wilna Macmillan and Jannis Young.