Remembering and celebrating the lives of our dear JOYsters.

In loving memory

Harriet Cornfeld-Fraser

Harriet with other JOYsters at Chris and Cam’s Wedding

  • History of Harriet at JOY, written by Chris Furneaux

Harriet  joined JOY back in 2000 as a member before volunteering at the station in South Melbourne. She was the friendly face at our Front Desk at both South Melbourne and later on at City Village. Harriet was one of JOY’s characters – always ready for a chat and joke about anything and everything. She had a private side to her life, and so we never knew the complete person. Her colourful saris spoke volumes. She also volunteered at the Theosophical Society.

She had a wealth of worldly experience, and Harriet was always cheery; ready with sensible advice; loyal and generous to JOY, and an avid reader.  Like many others who began at the front Desk, Harriet soon fond herself helping other presenters on air, and she co-presented Women on Waves with Anita Gibbons, helped out other shows like Queen of the Night, Detours and more recently Miss Chatelaine.

The JOY family has lost a much-loved and faithful member and volunteer.  Harriet will be greatly missed by the people whose lives she touched.


  • Reflection from Robert King

JOY Radiothon 2013- phone room volunteers – Robert and Harriet

It’s only a few hours since I heard of Harriet’s passing so I write this with a heavy heart. Although friendly and sociable enough in public Harriet was a very private person. When revealing to me some anecdote about her life she would always look at me sternly and say ‘And don’t you tell anyone’. She only revealed snippets of herself to a select few and I feel privileged that I was one of those. 

Last week we had one of our long phone conversations and she admitted that being isolated didn’t bother her too much. ‘It’s how I live my life anyway’ she said. She lived a short distance from me  but I was invited to her small ‘cave’ only a couple of times. I remember entering the flat and being swamped by everything Harriet – piles of books everywhere, numerous photos and knick knacks scattered around with hardly a space to sit. But it was warm.

Oh Harriet loved books. In fact she was my major source and used to provide me with books frequently. As I glance down now I can see her red shopping bag with four books waiting to be returned. I guess now they will never find their way back. 

Harriet also loved JOY. She was looking forward to the move to the Pride Centre because it was a very easy commute for her (and for me). She was generous with her time and would often volunteer for extra shifts and other tasks which came along. Harriet was probably the only person who could tell you what was playing at 3am on JOY! She was a true doyen of the radio station and her long association gave her insight and wisdom into JOY’s activities. We will miss her. I will miss her.


  • Crying R.I.P. Harriet. By Yesterday Once More

This week we dedicate our show CRYING to the wonderful JOY volunteer Harriet. For more than twenty years Harriet was a passionate, devoted supporter of JOY and in particular Yesterday Once More.  She was a true doyen of the radio station and her long association gave her insight and wisdom into JOY’s activities. She will be sadly missed by her JOY family.




  • “Bless her generous heart and soul for always guiding me and others with compassion”. By Leenie

    Harriet on the JOY front desk in 2013/14/15

Harriet was genuine, fierce and loyal. She helped shape who I am, always making time to check-in, actively listen, give advice, call me out and keep an

 eye on no matter where I journeyed. I will forever cherish the time spent with her, all the books she gifted me with her messily written post-it note messages inside of each one and I will deeply miss our chats. My heart aches. Rest in peace my dear friend.

Pictured: Harriet on the JOY front desk in 2013/14/15. This photo taken on my phone shows the generosity of spirit that Harriet brought to her volunteering. The love she shared and spread throughout our community is immeasurable.

PS: Thanks to Chris F for this tribute and special thanks to Betty S for reaching out to let me know of Harriet’s passing. I very much appreciate the kind act.


  • Memory of Harriet. By Mark

Like most of us, we discovered Harriet at JOY either being a mic or the reception desk. I live close to Harriet’s home and would see her on trams up and down St Kilda Road on many occasions, usually she was engrossed in a book, sometimes she wanted a chat. Harriet was uniquely interested in everyone I saw her speak to, she was always really keen to have a yarn. Harriet was never keen to discuss herself, she was fascinating when she gave up a little about her life and personality, but when those glimpses from behind the veil of her privacy were available, I always felt really grateful that such a unique person would give me that time.

Harriet will be missed, very missed. Vale Harriet.


Harriet, John Oliver (JOY member #1), John Jennings and Dean Beck at our #JOY21 cocktail party

  • Farewell Harriet. By Queen of the Night

Sad but uplifting – only in music is this not a contradiction. This edition of Queen of the Night farewells Harriet, who died during the past week. Harriet was a long-time JOY volunteer – behind the scenes, on the phones, on the desk, on air – and she was preparing to collaborate with your presenter Tim in an “in the pipeline” idea for a possible future classical music show. Sadly not to be.

The music in this podcast both is and is not a collection of Harriet’s favourites. She named no favourites but adored everything played on Queen of the Night. She thought it was all wonderful, always trusting Tim’s choices.

Farewell Harriet. You will be very sadly missed. RIP



  • “So nice to hear about Harriet”. By Gaye

I remember her co-presenting with Anita and gently keeping things on track.

Thank you JOY. As said Harriet was a great contributor to JOY and no doubt her involvement gave her great JOY in return.

  • “Because of her friendship I read books I would never have chosen for myself”. By Samantha

My mum was one of Harriet’s friends and because of that friendship I read books I would never have chosen for myself. I loved them (most of the time!). My mum was so upset by Harriets passing and this tribute by JOY has been really helpful. Thank you. 


  • “You were unique”. By Pamela

I knew Harriet for many years prior to volunteering at the Theosophical Society.  I participated in her meditation classes and then got to know her better as a fellow volunteer at the library.

The more I got to know Harriet the more I appreciated that she was a generous spirit, always willing to help the differing and ‘different’ library members that me of conservative ilk failed to do.  She was always welcoming and friendly to all.  I am sure I gained weight with her buying me sweet cakes and donuts weekly when she came in for her shift at the library. 

I appreciated too her support for me and I reciprocated.  If you had gained her affection and she believed you were right in your stand she would support you in a steadfast and very strong manner.  Harriet was no “shrinking violet” and a loyal friend and colleague.

Her love of books was a huge part of her life and I benefited from her passing on these books to me to read

I recently encouraged her to  purchase a budgie.  She was so excited when she eventually got Figaro home from the pet shop in her shopping trolley complete with everything a spoilt budgie would need.  I think he ruled Harriet and the his taming a little too hard.  I suspect she was half-hearted about it and would like him to live with her as he would in the wild.  As the owner of a budgie myself we had quite a few conversations about Figaro and I was as excited as she was to share his progress. I hope she got enjoyment out of his company, albeit for only a short time. 

So farewell Harriet – great to know you, thank you for your loyal support and generosity and above all your strength of purpose.  I felt we were a good team at the Theosophical Society and I will miss you badly.  You were unique.

  • SEE YA HARRIET. By Chris M

I first met Harriet in the mid 2000s. We volunteered in different places but I’d see her around City Village sometimes anyway. More so we’d meet on the tram down St Kilda Rd as my stop was one before hers. We had a few quiet personal conversations, mostly if she had the ’24 hour grumps’ with someone; that never lasted more than a day with her. 

We mainly laughed loudly or nattered on about who knows what. Music, books, world events, anything really but always as we’d finish she’d say “See ya Chris” quiet loudly. And I’d say “See ya Harriet” just as loud.

So after about 15 years to me it seems an appropriate epitaph. I’ll finish by saying, one last time, loudly, SEE YA HARRIET.

  • JOY inspires people like Harriet, yet they are not separable, they are one. Thank you. By Lindsay Hay, Sydney.


First year as a volunteer with Positive Living Centre (at that time in Acland st StKilda) is where l meet Harriet.  1995 brought great experience opened doors in meeting new people from our diverse community  Harriet invited me to volunteer at Alfred Hospital level 6 to provide some care to people who requiring relaxation massages. From this Harriet recommend a weekend retreat in Templestowe. She had numerous volunteer roles. Then came JOY949 2010. Thursday mornings Making herself available during Radiothons. That’s what makes volunteering so important in a organisation like JOY 949

  • “Harriet was always ready to jump up to assist anyone in need around JOY”. By Anita

I first remember getting to know Harriet when she became my support person for Women on Waves I think around 2001 in South Melbourne. I recall her joining a group of ‘on-air’ co-hosts for the program in September 2002 and about September 2004, during which time Harriet (for some unfathomable reason) dubbed me Mistress Anita? Of course over the ensuing years we enjoyed many shared memories especially after the death of my partner Maureen in 2007.

However I was only very rarely allowed to share anything too personal about Harriet’s life even after she returned to a co-hosting role with Women on Waves during 2009/2010. It was at this time I recall the treasured attached sound bite from an occasion of a season final in July 2010 –  when Harriet volunteered to stand-in for our missing newsreader and present the 10am bulletin.

Harriet was always ready to jump up to assist anyone in need around JOY and I was privileged to be able to count her as one of my dearest radio friends for many years I am sure that her cheery welcomes will be sadly missed by many around the station. 


  • “She was charming, witty and devoted to her JOY family”. By Seamus

That’s a beautifully written email and Chris and Robert’s tributes are so touching. I go back a long way with Harriet (and Chris) having been there in the nineties and early 2000s. She was charming, witty and devoted to her JOY family. One of the sincerest people I had the pleasure of knowing. 

We moved to Bendigo from Melbourne seven years ago and brought JOY with us. We listen online radio every weekend and love it. You’re all doing an amazing job keeping JOY alive and us too!

  • “A Unique and Beautiful Personality at JOY”. By Lance

A few years back we were on the phones, signing up members at JOY for Radiothon. There were a few impatient people on the phone whilst I was struggling with the technology, and trying to take their payments. Harriet came by and saw I was distressed. She took over the phone and told them we were only volunteers and could they be patient. She then massaged my shoulders, which really relaxed me. Thank you Harriet, for coming to my rescue! A Unique and Beautiful Personality at JOY! Forever in our Hearts.


  • “It was almost in instant friendship that lasted over many years”. By Gordon.

I first met Harriet many years before my JOY years.We met as volunteers with the VAC (Thorne Harbour Health) in the early 90s. Harriet was with Inner South Grup while I was with South Group. We mat at training sessions, meetings and the AGM. Harriet was always a stand out person with her wonderful way of dressing. It was almost in instant friendship that lasted over many years. We met again through JOY and while both still working for the VAC at the Positive Living Centre. I was the receptionist and Harriet would come in once a week to do massages for the clients. It was always a chat before she would get ready for her first client.

For a while I would pick Harriet up then Sangita on our way to JOY on early Sunday mornings, I never had to wait for Harriet, she was always at the front of her apartment block waiting for me. At the Studio we would get ready for Sunday as the show was called while Harriet settled down to be the receptionist. On the way in we would talk about books and what we had read, sometimes exchanging books we had read and then compare notes. 

She was a wonderful commentator on what was happening in the world and especially our community. For some reason on the day before she passed on, I was listening to JOY when Harriet came to mind, I had not thought of her for quite a while but she was there. She was a very funny woman but also had a good idea of what was right and wrong. She was a truly wonderful character and for all the years of friendship Harriet, Thank you and rest in peace. 


  • “She was one of the most loyal friends you would ever have”. By Jo

I first met Harriet in the late 1980’s when she  came into the Theosophical Society where l worked. In 1994 she joined as a member of the society and between then and 2020 she worked as a volunteer,  helping out in our Library at least one day a week and often more often as she was such a reliable trooper, she took a weekly Meditation class, she organised and conducted many of the lectures at the TS and she was also a Director and Trustee of the Society for much of that time and was also Vice President and President.

Over the years, Harriet and l had many ups and downs, Harriet was a very strong person, feisty and not afraid to voice her views. She was also extremely private and it took time for Harriet to really trust you. But when she did, she was one of the most loyal friends you would  ever have. She was a very good friend to me and l regret that l never told her how much she meant to me.

I unfortunately thought that Harriet would always be there, always ready for a big chat on the phone. Harriet never forgot anyone’s birthday.  How could she forget with her little black book that she carried everywhere and that was incomprehensible to anyone else. I look around my house and l can see the pillow that she sent me when l broke my nose, so that l could read comfortably in bed (sent by AustPost, l truly believe that Harriet helped AustPost make their huge profits with all the parcels she sent over the years to friends and family ) I also see the incense, the knick knacks, the brooches, the cards with “ that writing” and lastly the BOOKS. My gosh, so many books, all handpicked by Harriet personally. My daughters and l call them our “Harriet Books”..

RIP the one and only Harriet, you were a rare and treasured find.

  • Memories of Harriet. By Anne

Harriet will be missed… a remarkable person that cared about “everyone” and tried very hard to improve things for the volunteers at JOY and those in her life. If you ever got a kiss on the cheek from Harriet; know that you were special to her!
  • I will miss you my friend, see you on the next round. By Sammi

I met Harriet in late 2010 what I started at JOY and we hit it off immediately. I always came in early when we were on the same days. We would natter about everything from what we were reading at the time, what movies we was looking forward to seeing at the Melbourne QFF / IFF or sharing life storing of just enjoying each others company. 
Harriet was an incredible Lady with a personality as fabulous as her outfits and an incredibly huge heart. 
When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer she was regular on the phone checking up on me and was often a visitor when I was in hospital. 
I will miss you my friend, see you on the next round xx. 
  • Photo of Harriet Cornfeld-Fraser. By Michael

I’d like to share with you my photo of the late Harriet Cornfeld-Fraser, together with Colin Krycer (middle) and Leo Lee (left).
It was taken at Colin’s house in Murrumbeena on Sunday September 12 2010.


Memories of Harriet.
on JOY Archives

With Harriet’s favourite song: The Angels, ‘We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place’




If you would like to share your memories of Harriet, please do so to this email:

If this news brings up sadness or difficulty for you, we strongly encourage you to reach out to others. Reach out and speak with another of Harriet’s friends, reach out to someone in your own life and share how you are feeling, or reach out to one of the many phone or online counseling services, listed below.