When Norma Allen swept into a room crowded with Canberra's society elite, all eyes followed her path.
In her role as The Canberra Times' social reporter, inevitably with a hapless photographer following in her wake, Ms Allen wielded her own level of influence in the room; that of much-needed media coverage.
Still with a twinkle in her eye at a sprightly 91 but retired from those busy years of late nights, champagne, finger food and filing copy, Ms Allen nonetheless keeps a keen eye on the news and is the keeper of many secrets.
Many of the tall stories, dalliances and salacious slip-ups among the rich and powerful are documented in her personal diaries which date back from her long-serving years as Canberra's foremost "social reporter". The hand-written diaries are for her eyes only.
Even her meeting with the Queen was both audacious in its execution, and controversial in its outcome.
"The Queen was meeting people at the Hyatt and the Canberra hoi polloi were all lined up for an audience, as they do," Ms Allen said.
"Well, I was covering it for the newspaper and snuck around the back of the security and into the line.
"So when the Queen got to me, she asked: 'What do you do?' I told her I was a reporter and the photographer snapped the photo of us together, quick smart.
"That's when security rushed up, grabbed the camera, opened up the back of it and exposed the film so we couldn't use it."
However, what the security guard didn't know was that the canny photographer had a back-up plan, in the shape of a second, much more discrete camera.
Photo evidence secured, exclusive copy duly filed, and another win for Norma Allen and The Canberra Times.
Ms Allen was born and raised in Dapto and began her career as a journalist in the Illawarra.
She moved to Canberra in 1949 and raised a family, then resumed her writing career with The Chronicle, previously under separate ownership and a fierce rival for The Canberra Times' local advertising revenue.
After 10 years with The Chronicle and at the age of 60, Norma Allen then moved newspapers and created her well-read "About Town" pages in Canberra's broadsheet daily.
She was at every major event, gathering and fundraiser across the city, working the room and getting the stories.
"It was always busy because there were deadlines to meet, big, open pages to fill and two or three pictures to take at every event," Ms Allen said.
"I always made sure we covered at least one charity fundraiser a week because the coverage helped to support a good cause.
"If there was a sniff of a good story, you always followed it because that's what you did.
"But some of the stories I couldn't tell then, and still can't even tell today."
Her copy was always submitted as type-written "because computers always let me down; I had two of them catch fire on me in the newsroom".
Despite always working in the orbit of Canberra's influencers, Ms Allen preferred to champion the underdogs and the charitable causes.
She fondly reminisces about the Canberra of yesteryear but realises that times change and the city must grow and change with it.
What she doesn't support, however, is the eroded nature of the city's distinctive natural visual character and its landscapes.
"Canberra always had something very special and different with its tree-lined streetscapes, its vistas and open spaces," she said.
"Now they're filling in all those open spaces, putting up these monstrous apartment blocks and taking out the trees.
"It shouldn't be allowed to happen. Canberra should have its unique character protected because we are the nation's capital."