LOCATING THE WOMEN OF BENDIGO

8 March 2020

 

To celebrate International Women's Day in 2020, BRAC presents a map plotting the places where some of Bendigo's most fascinating (but lesser known) women have grown up, lived, worked and played across time. BRAC hopes these bite-size vignettes of women's history inspires further research into these incredible ladies and their feats as part of Bendigo's broader story. Click on any name to go directly to their feature.

Our gratitude to all those who have assisted in our research. These pieces have been compiled using the resources of the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre and the Goldfield Library Research Centre.​

AMY MARY JANE SAYER (nee SIMMONDS)

LADY UNDERTAKER

1873 - 1938

16-18 Bridge Street, Bendigo

 

Amy was a widow when she remarried local undertaker, Thomas Sayer, in 1910. The Sayer’s house, undertaker rooms, coaching house and stables were on Bridge street, backing onto Joseph Street and the Bendigo Creek (allotment 11 section 55C [i]). She was widowed a second time in 1919 and she continued to live at the address; while her occupation is listed as ‘widow’ in the rate books, her obituary noted that she continued to run the business in Thomas’ place after he passed away, quite an unusual occupation for a lady at that time.

 

[i] Public Records Office Victoria, VA 2620 Registrar of Probates, Supreme Court, VPRS28/P3 Probate & Administration Files, Unit 974, item 167/470 Thomas V Sayer, 1919

ANNIE ROHS

PROGRESSIVE EDUCATOR

1866 - 1947                       

78a Barkly Terrace West, Bendigo

 

When living in Barkly Terrace West as a girl, Annie Rohs attended the Gravel Hill State School and was the first girl in Victoria to take a State school exhibition; she followed on to the Bendigo Corporate High School and successfully sat for matriculation (entrance to University) at the age of 15. She won a scholarship to Trinity College and commenced study at the University of Melbourne, where she graduated in 1889 with a Master of Arts degree [i]. She went to work for the Department of Education, teaching at private country schools until 1897 when she became principal of the Geelong Ladies’ College, a leading school in the state at that time. Her record in the Victorian Teacher Record books declare that in 1890, due to her ‘leaving her school and accepting a position in a private school’ she would be removed from the roll [ii]. In the 1930s, Annie returned to Bendigo to semi-retirement, where she had a reputation as a formidable coach of the classics and a very high success rate for her students taking matriculation [iii].

 

[i] (also image) Miss Rohs MA, Australian Town & Country Journal, 25 May 1889, p28

[ii] Public Record Office of Victoria, VA 593+ Department of Education and Training, VPRS 13719 Database Index to Teacher Record Books, 1918, Rohs Annie 11058

[iii] Prentice, Alison ed., Women Who Taught: Perspective on the History of Women and Teaching, University of Toronto Press, 1991, pp107-109

MARY JOCELYN MORRIS MD (nee GORMAN)

IN THE GENES

1935 -

125 Mitchell Street, Quarry Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The daughter of two general practitioners, Jocelyn Gorman was around six years old when the family moved from Rochester [i] to Bendigo, where her parents first took rooms in View Street, but later set up practice and residence in Mitchell Street. Jocelyn first attended St Joseph’s, before taking secondary education at St Mary’s College [ii] (now Catherine McAuley College); she left at the end of her Intermediate year and became the fifth in her family to study medicine at Melbourne University. She stayed at St Mary’s Hall, one of several women’s colleges for the University, where she was a Hall Girl and where her sister Jeanne joined her (to study Law) [iii]. Jocelyn would graduate from St Vincent’s Hospital Clinical School in 1957 [iv], with a Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, placing third in her year’s aggregate of 150 students and taking First Class Honours [v].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite winning the Exhibition in Obstetrics and Gynecology at University [vi], her study in Oxford, where she moved with her husband Peter [vii][viii], became focused on respiratory health and she completed her career as director of the Lung Function Laboratory at the Osler Chest Unit at Oxford University’s Churchill Hospital, having published and contributed to many papers in the field. Jocelyn became Lady Morris [ix] in 1996 when Peter was knighted for services to medicine [x], and continues to reside in Oxford.

[i] Bendigo, The Age, 27 Aug 1941, p9

[ii] St Mary’s College School Register, Catherine McAuley College Archives, 2020

[iii] Among the students at St Mary’s, Loreto School Annual, 1958, pp99-100

[iv] Annual Reports, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, various years, St Vincent’s Hospital Archives

[v] Among the students at St Mary’s, Loreto School Annual, 1959, p101

[vi] St Mary’s Hall Past Students’ Newsletter, May 1959, p1

[vii] Veteran Dr Grant dies, Bendigo Advertiser, 17 Oct 1977, p1

[viii] Ditner, Dolores Professor Sir Peter Morris, The University of Sydney Alumni Newsletter, Winter 2009, p10

[ix] Foundation membership, Xavier Foundation, https://foundation.xavier.vic.edu.au/content/our-donors, accessed Feb 2020

[x] About Us – Our History: Sir Peter Morris, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences – Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, https://www.nds.ox.ac.uk/about-us/our-history/sir-peter-morris, accessed Feb 2020

Image: Final Year Group Photo 1957, St Vincent's Clinical School photographs collection, St Vincent's Health Archives; Newman College Students' Club 1955, Loreto Archives Centre Australia & South East Asia

FLORA WOODMAN BEEBE 

FIRST LADY DRIVER IN BENDIGO

1887 - 1962

Nowa Nowa, 129 Queen Street, Bendigo

 

Flora was the second youngest in the Beebe family, and in 1911 at the age of 24 became the first woman in Bendigo to hold a driver’s licence. Her father was a successful architect and owned a 15 horse-power SCAT (fitted with self-starter )[i], also known as an open tourer; Flora was “frequently to be seen driving with apparent enjoyment where the traffic is densest” [ii]. Flora married and moved to Western Australia midway through the first world war, and returned to Victoria to live in Melbourne later in life.

 

[i] Only lady motorist, Punch, 17 Aug 1911, p29

[ii] (also image)Motors & Motoring, The Age, 23 Aug 1911, p12

ROSE COLLINS (nee O’NEILL) 

DAIRY QUEEN

1815 - 1886

25-26 Russell Street, Quarry Hill

 

Rose was in her mid-30s when she was widowed in her native Ireland in 1855 and two years after, boarded the Lady Milton at Liverpool with her five children, bound for Melbourne. She arrived in the winter and made her way to the Goldfields. In a relatively short period, Rose became the keeper of several dairies located right across Bendigo and including properties near her residence on corner of Russell and Olinda Streets in Quarry Hill where she also ran a store. At the time of her death in 1886, her estate was worth over £365 and she held over 150 shares in various gold mining companies as well as her property and dairy portfolio. Rose’s will made disbursements to her children, but in the case of her daughters, it was stipulated that the bequests were “absolutely free from the debts, control or engagements of her husband” [i].

 

[i] Public Records Office Victoria, VA 2620 Registrar of Probates, Supreme Court, VPRS 7591/P2 Wills, Unit 113, Item 32/240 Rose Collins, 1875

GERTRUDE ALICE & MARION JONES 

TALENTED SISTERS

‘Holly Bank’, 135 Don Street, Bendigo

 

Miss Gertrude

1889 - 1955

Gertrude Jones, known as ‘Lalla’, was educated at the Anglian Girls’ Grammar School (Girton) in the early part of the 20th century in Bendigo before taking degrees in philosophy and then law. Though she never graduated, she was able to satisfy the Board of Examiners and became only the third woman admitted to the bar in Victoria (following from Anna Brennan) [i]. In 1914, Despite her role as a solicitor, she was able to travel to see her sister Marion in 1922, taking the Balranald to Marion’s Carlyle Studio in fashionable Chelsea (London); earlier she had been attendant at the opening of Marion’s 1918 exhibition in Melbourne [ii]. Lalla worked as the secretary of the Bendigo Central Red Cross Society which supported Bush Nursing Centres and the Red Cross Home for Distressed Soldiers at White Hills; she served 21 years in this role and with her sister, made a donation of £100 upon her retirement [iii].

 

 

Miss Marion

1892 - 1977

Like her sister, Marion attended Girton Grammar and was identified as a talented artist, particularly in portraiture and was sent to Melbourne to study at the National Gallery School under Bernard Hall. At the age of 25, she won the Travelling Scholarship but due to the war was unable to take the journey immediately; she instead held a solo exhibition in Melbourne which included portraits of Prime Minister Hughes and Governor-General Viscount Novar. Eventually she reached London where her style was greatly appreciated and work exhibited in the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy of London. In the 1920s she returned to Australia and continued to produce commission portraits including many of the ‘first ladies’ of Bendigo – Mrs Beebe, former Mayoress of Bendigo, and Mrs McGowan, wife of the Bendigo Agricultural Society president [iv] – as well as friends; her portrait of Raey Mackay hung at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in London [v]. In 1933, Marion declared that the world had changed following the war, and that “there is no place for art and beauty”.  She ceased painting and, during WWII, she took employment at the Ordinance Factory.

As well as both being involved in philanthropic endeavours, the sisters attended local events representing the Jones firm, including the President’s Tent at the Bendigo Jockey Club in 1926, where Lalla wore a ‘navy silk morocain with pleated panels, navy hat with floral trimming and furs’, and Marion a ‘black Ottoman frock, fur coat and hint of Petersham ribbon’[vi].

[i] Personal Items, Ballarat Star, 5 Mar 1912, p2

[ii] According to Live, Bendigo Independent, 5 Oct 1918, p10

[iii] Red Cross Society, Table Talk, 14 Sep 1939, p31

[iv] Woman’s Realm, Graphic of Australia, 19 Apr 1918, p12

[v] London Latest, Table Talk, 20 Dec 1928, p29

[vi] Bendigo Jockey Club, Table Talk, 27 May 1926, p47

Images: Bartlett Bros Portrait, Third Victorian Lady Barrister, The Australasian, 16 Mar 1912, p63; Self-Portrait of the Artist, 1915, pastel on paper, unframed

 
 
 
 
 

VIRGINIA TRIOLI

BROADCAST TRAILBLAZER

1965 -

30 Caledonia Street, Bendigo

 

With digital radio and live streaming, many Bendigonians no doubt tune in to ABC 774 Melbourne each morning and hear Walkley Award-winning journalist Virginia Trioli deliver the popular morning drive program. Others will be familiar with Virgnia’s several years presenting the ABC’s television program, News Breakfast or her earlier time writing for The Age and The Bulletin. Virginia was born in Bendigo, where her parents John and Patricia lived until she was a toddler when the family moved to Nunawading [i]. She was educated in Melbourne but worked for the ABC in both there and in Sydney, working on programs including Insiders, Lateline, Sunday Arts and Q&A [ii]. She also is the author of a feminist text, Generation F, and is only the second female presenter of the 774 morning program (Elizabeth Bond was the first [iii]).

 

[i] Good morning Melbourne, Domain Review Bayside & Port Phillip, 6 Nov 2019

[ii] Virginia Trioli, ABC Radio Website, www.abc.net.au/radio, accessed 25 Feb 2020

[iii] Trioli slips up on day one of new ABC gig, The Canberra Times, 14 Oct 2019

Image: We keep mens' secrets, Good Weekend magazine - Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Nov 2019

DORIS LESLIE HEULIN (nee BARLOW)

HOME COOKERY FOR THE AGES

1903 - 1988

155 Gladstone Street, Quarry Hill

 

 

 

A great many households in the district will still have a copy of the Bendigo Advertiser Reader Recipes cookbook on a shelf, and this collection was thanks to the skills of Doris Huelin who compiled the popular edition. Doris was born just after the turn of the century near Leeds in Yorkshire, and emigrated to Australia with her parents at the age of eight, and they lived in Rathdown Street, Carlton where she eventually took work as a clerk. She married a man from Bendigo and they moved to a remote farm at Linga (near Ouyen) but divorced in 1928 after he had deserted her and their child; Doris returned to Carlton and continued to work as a clerk and stenographer while her parents were able to care for her child. Her second marriage was to Leslie Heulin and the couple lived in St Kilda before moving to Bendigo in the 1970s. As well as compiling Reader Recipes, Doris also co-wrote a radio play with her husband titled Peace, bread and roses, and also wrote letters to The Age newspaper, including one in support of the electricity worker strikes [i].

 

[i] Letters to the editor, The Age, 2 Jul 1980, p12

JUNE MARIE LONG 

FIRST LADY ON THE BEAT

1928 - 2017

10 Brodie Street, Bendigo (among many others)

 

In 1954 it was announced that Bendigo would have a policewoman added to its ranks of police officers; acting Premier, Bill Galvin declared that it would be of great advantage to Bendigo, especially in work affecting women and children [i]. It wasn’t until 1956 though that June Long, originally from Kerang, and Enid Gollop (Avoca) were appointed after working on patrol in uniform in Melbourne. Bendigo was the first country station for both women; June had served for four years as a car driver in the Women’s Police Auxiliary Force before becoming a sworn member in 1954.  In Bendigo, they were put to work with CIB; a challenge to begin with however was in finding permanent accommodation [ii]. June had many residences over time but remained in Bendigo until she retired in 1980 and was involved in many sporting clubs as a very successful competitor, and later joined the Bendigo Ladies Probus Club of which she was a life member [iii]. She was honoured after her death in 2017 with a police guard of honour and police piper, and her prized possession – a set of custom number plates with her initials – was set upon her casket; friends joked that she had feared they would fall into the hands of a hoon [iv].

 

[i] Policewoman for Bendigo, Riverine Herald, 11 Aug 1954, p1

[ii] The long, long trail, The Argus, 9 Mar 1956, p15

[iii] Breaking the mould, Victoria Police Museum, https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/59794e4f21ea690478629249, accessed 21 Feb 2020

[iv] (also image) June Long, Bendigo’s first female police officer remembered, Bendigo Advertiser, 5 Dec 2017, online edition

ELSIE ‘SNOWFLAKE’ WILLIAMS (nee CARR)

A NOTORIOUS NIGHTNGALE

1901 - 1942

26 Somerville Road, Bendigo

 

The Carr family belonged to the Wesleyan Church in Bendigo and it seems likely that the children, including young Elsie, attended the Sunday School near their home in Retreat Road (now Somerville Road). Her parents Paulina and James were of West Indian descent and were well-respected in Sandhurst; when Paulina died in 1907, the funeral was largely attended, and the hymn Jesus Leads Me All The Way was sung with all the children joining in [i]. Barely six months later, the family home burnt to the ground whilst the James and the children were at the Sunday School anniversary concert [ii] and not long after, following an insolvency, the family moved to Melbourne [iii]. When in their teens, Elsie and her brother Rupert moved to Sydney for a time to take factory work.  It was here that Elsie married Cyril Williams, a Guyanan sailor; the relationship wouldn’t last and when the Fisk Jubilee Singers (a renown troupe of African-American performers) toured the country, Elsie joined them. While she had had run-ins with the law in Sydney, in Melbourne she developed a serious problem with alcohol and registered over 70 convictions, mostly for drunkenness and indecent language but also for biting a constable in the leg [iv] and attacking a man with a razor; she had been well-educated in a convent, and represented herself in court, arguing self-defence, with the jury returning a ‘not guilty’ verdict [v].

 

Elsie became notorious as a vicious drunkard on Dudley Flats, the shanty town that grew up on the West Melbourne tip after the Depression, though others knew her to be well respected. Sister Ellis, a nun familiar with Elsie, had known Elsie’s better side, heard her sing her favourites of Stephen Foster’s works and saw her shame when being found drunk [vi]. Whilst in Pentridge (and sober), she was given house and cooking duties in the Matron’s Quarters, and one plain-clothes constable even attended her funeral. Her death was lonely and sad – she endured a slow death, being gnawed at by rats or dogs, under sheet of iron in the tip [vii], and it was her demise that led the Dudley Flats ghetto being demolished by The Harbour Trust and its residents moved on [viii].

 

Williams: I don’t care if you give me life. Nothing will break my spirit.

Noonan, PM: You are fined £5

Williams: Thanks. I will cop that. [ix]

[i] Obituary, Bendigo Advertiser, 1 Apr 1907, p8

[ii] House burnt at Retreat Road, Bendigo Advertiser, 11 Sep 1907, p5

[iii] Insolvent, Bendigo Advertiser, 5 Feb 1908, p7

[iv] Negress’ protection, The Sun, 15 Jan 1922, p7

[v] Dying woman gnawed by Dudley Flats Dogs, The Herald, 11 Nov 1942, p3

[vi] The Other Side, The Herald, 14 Nov 1942, p5

[vii] Dogs attack dying woman, Daily Telegraph, 12 Nov 1942, p9

[viii] Melbourne’s Dudley Flats are doomed, Guinea Gold, 21 Nov 1942, p2

[ix] Negresses criticises white Australia, The Herald, 22 Jul 1925, p4

Image: Public Records Office Victoria, VA 1464 Penal & Gaols Branch, Chief Secretary's Department, VPRS 516/P2 Central Register of Female Prisoners, item 14, page 318, Elsie Williams, 1930

BARBARA HENNEL

TRACKING FOR THE WIN

c1961 -

Bendigo Jockey Club, Heinz Street, Ascot

 

The first win in an open professional horse race by a Victorian woman with an ‘A’ jockey’s licence occurred at the Bendigo Jockey Club in February 1980. Barbara Hennel rode Kiwi Lyn for her master, Stan Stafford of Hurstbridge, a difficult horse which she was familiar with from trackwork [i]. The 19-year-old had been recruited to ride trackwork from pony club five years earlier, and decided that balancing school and riding commitments was too challenging and so applied to become an apprentice jockey after the rules were altered in 1979 to permit women into the ranks. Barbara gained approval to ride in professional races from stewards just days before her Bendigo win on Kiwi Lyn, which was also the horse’s first victory. Barbara continued her jockey career before taking out a trainer’s licence; she continues to train from stables at Kilmore.

 

[i] Sport, The Age, 28 Feb 1980, p29

Image: History is made, Bendigo Advertiser, Feb 1980

 
 
 
 
 

ELLA WILLIAMS

ABOMAH THE GIANTESS

1865 - c1930s?

Bendigo Town Hall, 189-193 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variously reported as between 7’4” and 8’1”, Ella Williams was an incredibly popular performer in the early part of the 20th century and toured the world as Abomah the African Giantess. Her promoters proclaimed her to be the tallest lady in the world and in 1904, her Australian manager, JA Miller, wrote to the Bendigo Town Clerk inquiring as to the availability of the Town Hall in October. She duly visited during Show Week and Bendigo was enthralled – announcements were made in the Bendigo Advertiser when she reached Australian soil [i], and of the popularity of her first performances in Melbourne [ii]. The full program of her performance included an entertainer and impersonator, and a mystic magician; she also performed a repertoire of songs in a fine soprano voice including My Honolulu Queen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘No illustration or descriptive writing can give an adequate idea of this extraordinary woman and it is safe to say she is the greatest attraction ever introduced to Australia’ proclaimed the Bendigo Independent after her first performance [iii] and she continued to receive guests at the hall from 10am to 10pm with dedicated shows twice a day. Her performances drew great crowds, including ‘prominent residents’, and many took up the challenge to meet her arm span – “One of the tallest men in Bendigo carefully compared heights and length of reach… but the Giantess had a decided advantage and laughed heartily at his discomfiture.[iv]

 

[i] Musical and dramatic, Bendigo Advertiser, 23 Jul 1904, p2

[ii] Musical and dramatic, Bendigo Advertiser, 27 Aug 1904, p2

[iii] The Amazon Giantess, Bendigo Independent, 10 Oct 1904, p3

[iv] Abomah at the Town Hall, Bendigo Advertiser, 11 Oct 1904, p3

Images: Public Records Office of Victoria, VA 2381 City of Bendigo, 20th Century Inward Correspondence, 1904; Souvenir of Abomah, postcard, Arthur Winter, c1900

THE FIRST ELEVEN 

AIDING A NOBLE CAUSE PLAYING A NOBLE GAME

Camp Reserve (Rosalind Park), Bendigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s cricket has grown in commercial popularity in recent times, but the very first all-female cricket match took place in 1874 in Bendigo’s Rosalind Park. The idea of a novelty cricket match to raise funds for the now-famous Easter Fair was initially proposed between teachers and ministers; however this was seen as an offence ‘to the dignity of the cloth’ [i] and so with ‘considerable courage’ [ii] two teams of ladies were fielded instead. Despite rumours that ‘startling’ bloomer outfits would be used, the ladies donned shaped calico dresses with red or blue Zouave jackets and sailor hats (which players later donated to charity) [iii] and boarded three carriages which according to reports formed ‘a galaxy of beauty’, followed by Hallas’ Band [iv]. Following many weeks of practice at the Back Creek ground, they took to the field at midday on the second day of the Fair, the match proving the chief attraction of the day [v]. The Reds batted first, scoring 62; ‘a splendid left-hand catch’ by Miss Clay was a highlight of the second term but ultimately, with a score of 83 [vi], the Blues (captained by Nellie Rae) was victorious [vii] and a bat – ‘a very fine one, tied in a broad, blue, silk ribbon and inscribed in gold “Bendigo Easter Fair. Presented to Miss Barbara Rae, in commemoration of her being the highest scorer at the Ladies’ Cricket Match 1974”’ [viii] was presented that night at St James’ Hall. The game was such a success that it was repeated the following year, and described as having shown that ‘as a healthy exercise, cricket is alike fitted for the gentler as for the sterner sex’ [ix]. The Victorian Ladies’ Cricket Association wasn’t formed until 1904 [x].

The Blues

Barbara Rae (19YO, a teacher), 36; Miss Richardson, 5; Miss Shalders, 1; Miss Carpenter, 6; Miss Clay, 0; Miss Petrie, 1; Miss Gerber, 10; Miss Wiseman, 6; Miss Westhead, 8; Miss Bell, 8; & Mrs Drought (Mary Jane, 30, wife of police sergeant William G?),0.

 

The Reds

Mrs Rae, 4; Kate Petrie, 27; Helen ‘Nellie’ Rae, 6; Miss J Murdoch, 7; Miss Williams, 5; Miss Carr, 1; Miss Hoffner, 1; Miss A Williams, 3; Rachael Elizabeth Lewthwaite (17YO), 0; Miss Shalders, 2; & Mrs Leeds, 4.

[i] The ladies’ cricket match, Bendigo Advertiser, 3 Apr 1875, p2

[ii] The ladies’ cricket match, Gympie Times, 22 Apr 1874, p4

[iii] ibid

[iv] The Easter Fair, Bendigo Advertiser, 7 Apr 1874, p2

[v] Easter Fair second day, Bendigo Advertiser, 8 Apr 1874, p2

[vi] Ladies’ cricket at Sandhurst, Tasmanian Tribune, 30 Apr 1874, p3

[vii] Ladies’ cricket match, Mount Alexander Mail, 9 Apr 1874, p2

[viii] The Star Comique Company, Bendigo Advertiser, 10 Apr 1874, p2

[ix] Ladies’ cricket match at Sandhurst, South Australian Register, 18 Apr 1874, p6

[x] First women’s cricket match, The Herald, 2 May 1935, p36

CLAUDIA ‘CLAWS’ WRIGHT (nee LITTLE) 

GROUNDBREAKING JOURNALIST

1934 - 2005

3 Panton Street, Golden Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though from a lower-class family and one of mixed race (her great-grandfather was Chinese), Claudia Wright attended private school and by the 1950s was working as a journalist with the Bendigo Advertiser; it was here she met her future husband and in 1956, both removed to Melbourne to work with metropolitan newspapers [i]. First at the Melbourne Herald in the fashion and social pages, Claudia was soon in a position to be described as an ‘inspired media person’. She interviewed then Western ally Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, wrote for the New York Times and the Washington Post, for Vogue, The New Statesman, Ta Nea, and broadcast network NPR in America. She was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute. She once took out a defamation case against the London Times for reporting that she had been a Soviet spy. Back home she had audience with prime ministers – apparently a favourite of Gough Whitlam – and had great success, and controversy, at 3AW where at her peak she was one of the two most widely listened to talk back programs in the country (the other being John Laws).

 

Claudia encouraged women to push back from the Catholic doctrines around divorce and abortion, which drew calls from the church for advertisers to boycott the station; she resigned citing it was a better option than tolerating the lack of support she perceived she was getting from the network [ii]. Her health presented an ongoing challenge – she recovered from thyroid cancer in the early 1980s but at the age of 53, Claudia developed Alzheimer’s and volunteered for experimental treatments whilst setting up the Claudia Wright Appeal to raise a million dollars for research (now the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria). She organised a documentary on the impact of the disease with 60 Minutes and was a vocal advocate for institutional patient rights. A memorial service was held at Como House, including an excerpt of her radio debate with a Catholic priest, and her remains were returned for burial at White Hills Cemetery, where here headstone reads:

 

“She Wrote, She Fought, She Loved”

 

[i] Mackay, Lockwood & Cusack, Annals of Bendigo, 1988, Volume 7, p67

[ii] Claudia Wright, Australian Women’s Register, https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-771092

Image: From social satire to foreign affairs, Australian Women's Weekly, 24 Jan 1982, p27

KAYE FAULKNER (nee THURLOW)

OLYMPIC WATER SKIIER

c1951 -

269 Mackenzie Street, Golden Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very talented skier, Kaye Thurlow was the first woman to win the Bendigo Advertiser Sports Star of the Year for her efforts in 1968-69, a time when she won the Australian Championships, and one of the five occasions upon which she was part of the Australian team at the World Championships between 1967-1975. The following year Kaye took the overall women’s title at the 1970 Moomba International Ski Masters against strong overseas competition [i], where over time she would be awarded a total of 24 gold medals for her performances in that tournament. In 1972, she represented Australia at the Munich Olympic Games and secured three silver medals. She was also the first Australian woman to record over 100m in a jump [ii]. Kaye was one of several very accomplished skiers to come out of Bendigo, including Sue Lipplegoes, Emma Shears and Rosemary Margan. She went on to work as a teacher, and wrote a book with her husband, Australian Water Skiing [iii], and was inducted into the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation’s Hall of Fame [iv].

 

[i] Golden girl’s success at Moomba, Bendigo Advertiser, 1970

[ii] Trio added to Sports Star Hall of Fame, Bendigo Advertiser, 24 Mar 2007

[ii] Kaye’s book is a first for skiers, Bendigo Advertiser, 1979

[iv] International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation website, www.iwsf.com, accessed 25 Feb 2020

Image: Golden girl's success at Moomba, Bendigo Advertiser, 1970

 
 
 

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