Warrnambool 3WAYFM founding member Mona Swinton retires from station aged 98

Mona Swinton, 98, has retired from community radio station 3WAYFM after volunteering since it was founded in 1984. Picture: Rob Gunstone
Mona Swinton, 98, has retired from community radio station 3WAYFM after volunteering since it was founded in 1984. Picture: Rob Gunstone

COMMUNITY stalwart Mona Swinton has hung up the headphones after more than three decades on the airwaves.

The esteemed radio presenter has announced her retirement from Victoria's Warrnambool community radio station 3WAYFM, aged 98, after starting there in 1984.

Ms Swinton was a founding member of the community station and has stayed on as a volunteer ever since.

Station president John MacInnes described her as the "guiding light of the whole station" and said her warm smile would be sorely missed around the studios.

"There was a public meeting called in 1984 to see if the people in the community wanted to get a radio station and she was the instigator," he said.

"She's been a stalwart from the first day onwards, she has taught a lot of people how to do radio presentations.

"Her key advice was always when you're speaking have a smile on your face, because even though no-one sees you, you sound better."

At 98 Ms Swinton decided to put her health first and step back from broadcasting.

Up until this year she hosted two shows, a shared program titled 'Stardust' on a Tuesday and 'Afternoon Delight' on Thursday afternoons.

Mr MacInnes and fellow presenter Rinska Moritz have taken over the programs.

"Mona decided it might be sensible to call it a day, we've got big shoes to fill absolutely," Mr MacInnes said.

"She did a lot of what people would call nostalgia music, she would pick a year, such as 1942, and play the songs that were popular in that year and talk about what was going on in the world at that time.

"It was easy listening and had a good groove."

Ms Swinton was born in Canada and grew up during the depression years.

In early 1940, she landed a job as a typist in New York aged 20, where her work involved using the famous Enigma code breaker machine.

She stayed until the war ended and got a job with the United Nations, and, later, with the Australian News and Information Bureau.

She married an Australian and retired to Warrnambool in 1979.

Ms Swinton volunteered for a range of organisations in Warrnambool, including 20 years with the diabetes unit at South West Healthcare, ten years reading newspapers for Vision Australia, plus time with Warrnambool Probus Club and the Warrnambool Field Naturalists' Club.

Last year she received the Member of Parliament's Award for her long term service to volunteering in Warrnambool from Member for Wannon Dan Tehan.


This story 'A guiding light': radio presenter retires aged 98 first appeared on The Standard.