Karoline Zolshan

Karoline Zolshan OAM

Karoline Zolshan OAM (aka Karla) is a true hero in our community. She has been generous beyond measure, being a major donor to the Jewish and general community to the extent that a number of buildings have been named in her honour.

But who is this wonderful generous woman? At 103 years young she appears frail, but she remains active and alert, and prior to her recent move to Montefiore she was caring for herself and joining in the social activities at COA, beating all opponents in Rummy tiles.

Kz&jg100 Karoline Zolshan OAM and CEO Julia Golding

Karoline’s story in Australia really began in 1938 when she and her husband Arthur arrived in Sydney as refugees from Hitler’s Europe. Karoline continued her design studies, begun in Austria. She and her husband worked hard and did well. With their youth, energy and ambition, the couple invested in real estate and gradually accumulated substantial wealth. Karoline felt indebted to Australia for providing them with a safe haven and she wanted to somehow repay that debt. Realising that there were many less fortunate people, she carried out extensive research into how and where the money would be best used. She wanted to distribute her wealth during her lifetime rather than wait and contribute through bequests.

Early in 2000, it came to Karoline’s attention that there was a complete lack of facilities for the families of children with autism in Western Sydney. In 2001 she decided to donate a building in Prospect from her personal portfolio to the Rotary Club, Silverwater for the benefit of autistic children. This building is now called the Karla Zolshan Centre, and providesan administrative base for the education, training and research services of the Autism Association.

After being introduced to Julia Golding by Andy Freeman, at their first meeting they became great friends and this friendship has blossomed over the decade, with Julia giving Karoline personal assistance on a regular basis and bringing her into the COA "family". A fiercely independent woman, of strong and shining intellect, Karoline appreciated the mission of the COA which is to keep the frail aged in their own homes as long as practicable. She was able to assist in the beginning with funds for fitting out the interior of the Krygier Centre and offices and her generosity has continued over that time to the benefit of the services COA provides to Jewish seniors all over Sydney and younger people with disabilities.

Karoline’s boundless community spirit shows in her support charities demonstrates her dedication to giving back to the Australian community, and made her a most worthy recipient of the Order of Australia Medal (OAM). COA was instrumental in proposing Karoline’s nomination for the Order of Australia in 2007, a most fitting tribute to a great Australian.

Over the years, Karoline has given to many Jewish organisations, among them Montefiore, B’nai B’rith, JCA and of course, COA. Other recipients of Karoline’s largesse include: Smith Family, Multiple Sclerosis, Wesley Mission, Matthew Talbot Hostel, St Vincent de Paul, Mission Australia, the Salvation Army, Royal Blind Society, and the Cancer Council and many more.

We are proud to count Karoline Zolshan as one of the COA family, and love to see her at COA activities. To us, Karoline is a great lady, and we wish her continued good health for her birthday.

To learn more about Karoline's life, please see the JCA’s website: www.jca.org.au/news/meet-karoline-zolshan-jcas-oldest-donor.cfm


From CEO Julia Golding

a personal note

I cherish my close friendship with Karoline, spending time with her on many weekends over the years. What I love most about Karoline is her clear mind, she is an intelligent and determinedly independent woman. There is a kindness and brightness shining in her face. To hear her speak you’d think your speaking to a young, modern person. We have had many interesting discussions on subjects like politics, books, economics, you name it. She has taught me a great deal about nutrition and healthy cooking. Until recently she was looking after herself at home with minimal assistance.

It is with Karoline’s help that we subsidise our Kosher Meals service to pensioners and other COA projects. There are so many things to be thankful to Karoline for, but most of all we are truly grateful that Karoline is the wonderful person she is.