Geraldine Cox

Community Service

Geraldine Cox started her career with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs at the age of 25 in 1970 with her first posting to the Embassy in Phnom Penh, when the Vietnam War spilled over into Cambodia. There she lived a life of privilege under the diplomatic umbrella, while hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were suffering in unbelievably deprived living conditions as they fled the countryside to the city, to escape the provincial bombing by the Americans. For the milkman's daughter from Adelaide this had a lasting impact which she carried in her heart throughout her other postings to the Philippines (5 years), Thailand (3 years), Iran (3 years) and finally America (3 years) in the Embassy in Washington DC, before returning to Australia in 1987. Geraldine makes it clear that there is very little that life has to offer that she hasn't grabbed with both hands. She wants to make sure she is never described or perceived as a bleeding-heart do-gooder. For most of her adult life Geraldine has denied herself nothing and was considered by many to be a passionate hedonist! However, although she has never had less materially than she has in Cambodia, her life has never been happier. Cambodia makes her feel young, strong, stimulated, healthy, challenged, creative, needed and loved. She moved to Cambodia to live in 1996 and for the next year until the coup in July 1997, Geraldine worked as an Executive Assistant for the Cabinet Director in the Cabinet of the then First Prime Minister of Cambodia, HRH Prince Norodom Ranariddh and administered the orphanage in her spare time. Geraldine says she is proud and lucky to be an Australian, but Cambodia has stolen her heart and she is happiest when she is there with her children in the orphanage she co-founded in 1993.