Fashion and Philanthropy
Throughout her life, Jessica played an active role in fundraising for a number of local charitable organisations, primarily through staging fashion parades and judging beauty pageants. She also supported other activities such as reading for the blind, numismatics and Jewish societies.
Jessica’s family was heavily involved in community service projects since their arrival in Ballarat, particularly with the local Hebrew Congregation and Philanthropic Society. Hannah Stone founded the Ballarat branch of the National Council of Jewish Women in Australia (NCJWA) in 1929, and Jessica became president when her mother retired.
In the 1930s, Jessica was voted “The Queen of Industry” for the Ballarat Orphanage Appeal, alongside Sylvia Selkirk as “The Queen of Sport” and Eva Kennedy as “The Queen of Public Service.” Together with their committees, they succeeded in raising thousands of pounds of the benefit.
Jessica continued to serve the local community during the years of World War II (1939-1945), with Patriotic Balls and “Mannequin Parades” to aid the Red Cross. In 1947, the Ballarat Base Hospital awarded an honorary life governorship to her for her role in organising the Popular Girl Appeal, which raised close to £14,000 for a new wing in the building.
In the 1950s and 60s, Jessica presented fashion parades at the Ballarat Begonia Festival. These events raised funds for the Festival as well as the Orphanage, the Queen Elizabeth Home and St. Joseph’s Home. The garments worn by the models (“mannequins”) – “gowns, coats, millinery and accessories” – were selected by Jessica from the stock of Stone’s Store.