Jessica After Stone’s
In the years after the closure of Stone’s, Jessica continued to be a prominent figure in the local community. She and Paul remained devoted to charity work, but they also spent time travelling overseas, completing their last voyage around the world in 1967.
Throughout his life, Paul had been a keen numismatist and gold fossicker, and he had acquired a significant amount of coins, gold samples and nuggets. He had hoped to establish a museum to display the collection, but he became seriously ill before this could be achieved, and he died in 1972.
Following his death, Jessica became involved with the committee to develop a Gold Museum in Ballarat to compliment the experience of the Sovereign Hill Outdoor Museum, an organisation to which she had an existing commitment as a member of the Interiors Committee. In 1976, she donated Paul’s entire collection to the new museum, where it is still on permanent display in the Paul and Jessica Simon Gold Pavilion.
Jessica’s lifetime commitment to philanthropic work was rewarded in 1979 when she was publicly honoured with a British Empire Medal. Her involvement with fashion parades continued into 1980, when she lent her own garments to the Queen Elizabeth Geriatric Centre as part of a “Fashion Through the Years” presentation. Many of these dresses are now on display in this exhibition.
Jessica died in December 1982, and she is buried alongside Paul in the Old Ballarat Cemetery. Her legacy continues to live on at the Gold Museum through her collection.