One hundred and fifty ex-students and staff members served in WWII and five tragically lost their lives.

Since 2017, Heritage Archive volunteers and Duke of Edinburgh Award students have researched and written biographies of our ex-students in service and transcribed and recorded audio of their letters home to Pymble’s former principal, Miss Dorothy Knox.

Miss Knox went to great lengths to keep in touch with Pymble girls serving in World War II.

You are warmly invited to learn more about these courageous women on this website.

Aboud, Joy
Aboud, Lila
Adamson, Betty
Aitken, Stella Elizabeth
Alley, Nancy
Allsop, Frances
Armstrong, Berenice
Armstrong, Kathleen Elizabeth
Armstrong, Sheila
Baird, Elizabeth Edith
Barton, Patricia
Bishop, Elinor
Black, Jean Hamilton
Bowman, Berice C
Bruce, Joyce (Janna)
Buchanan, Banksia
Bulwinkel, Glen
Busby, Barbara
Butcher, Ruth
Cameron, Marie
Carrick, Suzanne
Carter, Addie Claire
Charters, Betty
Cleaver, Beatrice Grace
Clyne, Maisie
Cohen, Betty
Colley, Lorraine Vere
Colvin, Anne Love
Cowdery, Muriel
Cox, Violet Ruth
Crichton-Brown, Brenda
Cross, Pamela
Cullen, Mavis
Dabourne, Kathleen
Darling, Anne
Darling, June
Davis, Zena
Douglas, Ruth
Downes, Blanche
Drew, Shirley
Este, Clair
Fleming, Marion
Frater, A H (Lexie)
Gay, Jean Margaret
Gelling, Barbara Daylesford
Gibson, Alice Margaret
Goodwin, Elizabeth Ross
Gordon, Frances Valerie
Gordon, Gwen
Gordon, Heather Jane (Jenny)
Gordon, Phyllis June
Grono, Eileen
Hammond, Joan H. OBE
Hammond, Marjorie
Hardie, Ailsa
Harris, Margaret
Harris, Nancy
Hart, Lillian
Hassall, Joan Isabel
Hastie, Joyce
Hazard, Freda Ellen
Hendy, Patricia
Hodgson, Gwen
Howgate, Edith
Huie, Shirley
Iceton-Smith, Eleanor
Inglis, Beth
Inglis, Margaret
Johnston, Patricia Lilian
Kensit, Edith
Kent, Estelle
Kentish, Valerie
Knowlman, Margaret
Knowlman, Nancye
Larke, Elizabeth Robson
Lloyd, Bertie
Logan, Helen K
Lyon, Nancy
Lyon-Mackenzie, Frances Olive
Lyons, Susan
Macdougall, Jean Margaret
MacGregor, Dorothy
McKell, Patricia
Mackenzie, Helen Margaret
Mackenzie, Margaret Jean Howieson MBE
McLaren, Margaret A
Menzies, Kathleen A L
Miller, Jean H
Minnett, Helen
Moore, Mary
Morgan, Sybil Winifred
Murton, Viva Lynette
Nall, Norma
Newling, Jean Kathleen
Oakeshott, Joyce Margorie
Oakeshott, Kathleen Mary
Officer, Florence
Oldham, R Betty
Opie, Joyce
Osborne, Millicent Daisy Wingrove
Park, Margaret
Park, Nancy Jean
Pennefather, Joan Victorine
Rettie, Barbara
Richardson, Joan
Richardson, Marie
Rigney, Patricia
Roberston, J Marion
Robinson, Zelma
Ross, Bonnie
Ross, Gerogie Helen
Ross, Gloria Del
Rossell, Emily Sinclair
Rowley, Elvis
Rowley, Lorna
Scott, Eileen Elsie
Sillar, Jean Hazel
Skinner, Muriel Mary
Smyth, Esme Francess
Sneddon, Agnes
Stewart, Blossom
Streeton, Shirley
Thirkell, Judy
Thomas, Barbara Mortimer
Towse, Nancy Sewell
Treatt, Gwenyth
Trebeck, Joan ( Peggy)
Vautin, Mary Florence
Wait, Jon P H C
Walters, Adrienne Nance
Watt, Gwen B
Williams, Lois
Williams, Shirley Maybury
Willis, Judith
Witt, Helen C
Wragge, Jean
Wray, H
Wright, Elsie

Teaching Staff
Bigg, Kathleen Ruth
Dossetor, Margaret
Grounds Staff
Clark, Arthur
Johnson, Alexander
Leonard, Leslie

Voluntary Service
Buchanan, Joan
Crawford, Margaret
Crichton-Brown, Barbara
Croxon , Marjorie
David, Lorna
Hannay, Isobel F
Langdon, Lyall
Langdon, Merle
Maze, Jean
Moore, Clara B
Norrie, Judy
Paton, Marjorie
Rae, Suzanne Moore
Raz, Enid M
Saxton, Jean
Scholefield, Catherine Maud
Vipan, Dylus
Warburton, Elsa H

Lieutenant Sheila Armstrong NFX16459 Australian Army Medical Women’s Services (AAMWS)

Sheila attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Pymble as a day girl and was a Prefect and Hockey Captain in her final year, 1930. She was also a participant in the Service Corps and regularly reported on their activities in the School Magazine.

Sheila’s cards and letters to Miss Knox during the war tell of her service in New Guinea. She also advised Miss Knox that another PLC student, Blanche Downs, was based with her at the 2/7 Australian General Hospital.

Sheila never married and passed away on 20 August 1990, aged 79.

NFX 146459
Lieut Sheila Armstrong
2/7 Aust. Gen.Hospital
A.I.F. Australia

 Dear Miss Knox

Once again I was extremely glad to receive Christmas Greetings from you and the girls of P.L.C.

It certainly gives one a grand feeling to be remembered.

You may be interested to know that I am in New Guinea and have been here for about four and a half months.

There are many spots of interest which we have visited. I really think that Salamaua and the Markham Valley have the most appeal for me.  The Markham Valley is really very beautiful in a rugged kind of way and it is very easy to visualise the parachute landing which took place there.

Salamaua  of course is full of interest, and when one is lucky enough to visit these places with the lads, who were here in the early days and the scenes are painted vividly, the place holds a great deal of appeal.

Blanche Downes is also at this unit with me.  We have been lucky since we both joined the Army, as we have been together in two units now. Quite often we talk of the days when we were at school.

I would be very pleased if you would convey my thanks to the girls and I would like to wish you all greetings for 1945

Yours sincerely

Sheila Armstrong

Barbara Thomas was a local girl who attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Pymble from 1919 to 1924. During her time at the College, Barbara was a member of the Athletics, Netball and Hockey teams and received her Leaving Certificate in 1923. College records note her as Dux of the College in both 1923 and 1924.

Barbara had already graduated in Arts from Sydney University and was in her second year of medical studies when a sporting career beckoned. She represented Australia internationally as a member of the first Australian women’s hockey team in 1930, staying on in London at the conclusion of the tour to continue her studies at St Thomas’ Hospital. She graduated as a massage student (a physiotherapist in today’s language) in 1933, and joined the staff at St Thomas’, specialising in pre- and post-natal care. She became the demonstrator for the Head of Physiotherapy at St Thomas’, Sister Randell, with whom she developed special pre-natal exercises, established clinics throughout England and collaborated on a book called Training for Motherhood.

In 1937 Barbara returned to Sydney for six months, providing her services to the Department of Public Health to make a film about pre- and post-natal exercises for mothers. During her visit she played in ex-students’ hockey teams competing against current students.

On 10 September 1940, London was bombed during a series of air raids and Barbara was trapped in the wreckage of the nurse’s wing for 12 hours. She died before she was rescued, aged 32 years.

Barbara is buried in Lambeth Cemetery in London.

She is recognised in a Nurses Memorial at St Thomas’ Hospital along with three other nurses. At Pymble, a plaque was placed along the Colonnade in her honour.

Pro Patria

It was with a great sense of shock that we read of the death of Barbara Thomas during an early air-raid in London. She was on duty in St Thomas’ Hospital when that building was bombed.

Barbara was a student of the College from 1919 to 1924. In 1924, she was a school Prefect and DUX of the school in schooldays. She graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1929 and was a member of the first AUSTRALIAN Women’s Hockey team to go to England in 1930. After that tour, she remained in England to do a course in massage and, after a brilliant pass, devoted her talents to the exercise of her profession, gaining considerable commendation for her work for the health and welfare of women.

In 1937 she revisited Australia and renewed friendships with her old school former school-fellows. Her generous, sunny nature gained friends during her lifetime and the tale of her cheerful heroism in danger and agony will surely inspire others in dark days.

Barbara Thomas died at her post – the first of our number to give her life in time of war. May her example shine before us as we do the task that lies at hand.

Private Bertie Cecil Lloyd NFX 131142, Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS)

Bertie Lloyd was a local girl who attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Pymble during its first decade, leaving in 1928. Bertie was a close friend of former student Dame Joan Hammond, with whom she corresponded over Joan’s lifetime.

Bertie joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) and worked at Lady Gowrie Red Cross Convalescent home. In 1939, she enlisted and served at the 12th Australian Camp Hospital located at the old Sydney Showground at Moore Park in Sydney.

After Bertie was discharged, she continued her work with the VAD for a decade nursing servicemen. Her narrative of her life and war service prove enthralling listening were recorded in 2004 for the Australians at War Film Archive, University of New South Wales.

Bertie was guest of honour for the opening of the Centenary Sports Precinct in 2016. She celebrated her 100th birthday in 2012, which made her older than the College she attended, which was established in 1916.

Bertie is quoted in the Centenary book, Pymble Ladies’ College 100 Years ­– 1916 to 2016.

“We were proud of everything we did at PLC. We were taught to respect our parents, our teachers and to love our school. I am proud to be a Pymble girl.”

Bertie was just shy of her 105th birthday when she passed away and she will always be remembered as a treasured member of the Pymble community.

Corporal Colley 109869 Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF)

Lorraine Colley hailed from Jamberoo and was a boarder and an active member of the College community from 1941 to 1942. Lorraine was in the ‘A’ Hockey team in both years; 1942 was a particularly successful Hockey season with most matches played against a variety of schools on the Presbyterian Ladies’ College oval at Pymble.

During her time at the College, Lorraine was also secretary of the French Dramatic Club, which she started with seven other girls. The French Dramatic Club offered the students a glimpse into French poetry and drama and followed what were considered the current events of the time, involving the Free French Movement.

In 1943, Lorraine decided to help the war effort, hoping to “become a wireless telegraphy operator in just a matter of another five months”.  She wrote to Miss Knox stating that she started out doing the “rookie’s course” and then moved on to “doing the Morse for four weeks”. Morse code was vital in World War II to communicate between warships and a wide range of bases so that the opposing side could not access and discover plans.

A.C.W. Colley L.N.
No 4 Wing
Ascot Vale
24/ 9/ 43

Dear Miss Knox,

I have been intending to write to you for some time, to let you know of my movements during the last few months, but am afraid that this is the first opportunity I have had to really settle down to letter writing.

I dare say you have heard that I have been a member of the W.A.A.A.F for approximately seven weeks now and find the work intensely interesting. I hope to become a wireless telegraphy operator in just a matter of another five months or so, or perhaps if I am lucky, before that period. I have only been doing the morse for four weeks, the first three were taken up with our Rookies course which was marvellous fun. We have about five hours work time a day and this is broken up at intervals by physical training and drill, of which, incidentally, the Air Force is very proud and not without cause for believe me those periods certainly are composed of concentrated drilling.

Reveille is at six and stand to at eight in the morning. We then work through with the necessary break for lunch until five when we stand down for the day. From then we are free to do as we wish on the station until tattoo.

This, of course is a rather large R.A.A.F unit and has the largest W.A.A.A.F establishment in Australia, so that the appointments present are very reasonable. Pictures are available every evening for the huge sum of sixpence and although rather old, always are entertaining. Dances are held twice a week and two canteens are open every night run by voluntary workers.

I think the only things I do not like about the life are the injections and at the moment I am in hospital as the result of same. The trouble is that we seem to get them all at once. Last Monday I received tetanus and typhoid needles which made me feel quite ill and extremely depressed for a day or two and not many days after that was given another tetanus and a vaccination from which I am suffering at the moment, along with a sprained ankle. However all being well I should be out tomorrow or hope so.

I was disappointed not to be present for the school sports this year and also for your very kind invitation to attend the presentation of Leaving Certificates Miss Knox, and trust to be able to renew friendships sometime in the very near future.

I am sincerely yours

Lorraine Colley

Lieutenant Marion Fleming NFX 165666 Australian Army Medical Women’s Service (AAMWS)

Marion Fleming was a boarder at Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Pymble hailing from Aberdeen in country NSW. She was a dedicated student, elected to the role of Head Prefect in her final year and Captain of the ‘A’ Senior Netball team. She also contributed a poem to the School Magazine with a message of farewell and pride in Pymble Ladies’ College and its traditions.

Lieutenant Fleming served in the 109th Australian General Hospital in Alice, NT, towards the end of World War II.

Marion Babbage (Fleming, 1929) passed away on January 1 1992.

NFX 165666
Lieut M.Fleming
109 A.G.H.
Alice Springs

29 Jan 1945

Dear Miss Knox

Thank you for your New Year card of good wishes for 1945. I do appreciate being remembered by my old school.

It’s several months now since I arrived in the Territory – years ago I didn’t think I’d ever have an opportunity to visit Central Australia. It is not all a land of spinifex and sand, there are some grass lands when it rains – unfortunately there isn’t enough rain.

Have been for several picnics to such beauty spots as Simpsons Gap which is a narrow gap between the hills several miles out of Alice. The rocks on either side rise to hundreds and hundreds of feet and are of the most vivid autumn shades turning to red.  Stanleys Chasm is much further out and has, like Simpsons Gap, a lovely pool of clear cold water between the rocks. The rocks at Stanleys are  more beautiful than Simpsons and are flecked with black and white plants growing up the face of the rocks, clinging to almost nothing were flannel flowers and along the approach some burrawong palms – rather amazing. All the hills change colour from pale pinks to deep purple and blue and are never the same.

In March, sometime, at Anthony Horderns Sydney there is to be held an exhibition of water colours painted by the full blooded aboriginal Albert Namatjira – I have seen all the exhibition unframed, and when one realized that Albert has only been painting for 10 years, he will later on be a wonderful painter if he improves as he has done lately.

His early paintings are also shown. His teacher, Mr Rex Battersby is a patient in our hospital.

Yours sincerely

Marion Fleming

PS.The colourings in Alberts paintings are NOT exaggerated.

Lieutenant Nancy Harris NX 76285 Australian Army Nursing Service

Nancy Harris, of North Sydney, attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College in 1928.

She was amongst 65 Australian nurses and 250 civilians evacuated from Singapore on the Vyner Brooke three days before the fall of Malaysia. The ship was bombed and sank. Nancy was one of a group of survivors who were washed ashore, only to be massacred. She was just 29 years old.

Of the original 65 nurses who boarded the Vyner Brooke, only 24 returned to Australia following the declaration of peace in the Pacific. The other occupants of the ship drowned, were killed or died as Prisoners of War.

Nancy is remembered on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Petty Officer Signaller Shirley Drew A/M WR 13, Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS)

A day girl from Chatswood, Shirley left Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Pymble in 1930.

During World War II, she was an early member of the Women’s Emergency Signally Corp (WESC), many of whom went on to become members of the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service.

Shirley died in 1997 aged 77.

Letter written to Miss Knox from Shirley Drew on the 3rd of January 1944

HMA Naval Wireless Station

Dear Miss Knox,

What a lovely surprise I got to receive a Christmas card from you, thank you very much.

I do hope you had a happy Christmas and new year, I was one of the lucky ones and managed to get home for Christmas.

So far as I know Gloria Rose and I are the only girls here, but if I hear of any more

I’ll let you know.

With all best wishes for the new year to you and every success to Pymble.

Yours sincerely,

Shirley Drew

Lieutenant Mavis Cullen NFX180290 Australian Army Nursing Service

Mavis Cullen was a boarder who attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Pymble in the 1920s, leaving in 1928.

Lieutenant Cullen served in the Australian Army Nursing Service in War World II. She was a Prisoner of War interned at Yokohama, having been captured at Rabaul. She was liberated on 4 September 1945.

Mavis was recognised in the Commonwealth Government Gazette on 4 March 1948 for mention in despatches for services rendered at Rabaul in January 1942 and subsequently whilst a Prisoner of War.

Mavis lived to the age of 94 years passing in 2003, at Lismore NSW.

Pte Alexander Johnson, Australian Imperial Force.

Groundsman Alexander Johnson worked at Presbyterian Ladies’ College for 14 years before enlisting in 1940.

Alexanders job description in a handwritten note and quoted in Margaret Coleman’s 75th Anniversary book follows:

Alex Johnson started as a useful Boilerman at £2/-/- on 26 October 1927. At present he does all the milking(except on weekends), cleaning cowshed, milk cans, Fowl yard, insinerators, all Town work, collecting shoes, all parcels from the Post Office and train and any other work to be done in Pymble.  Hours: 6am until 5pm with ½ hour for Breakfast, 1 hour for lunch. Has all Public Holidays, every second weekend and every second Tuesday off. At the end of the year he is supposed to have a month on ½ pay but this year he came back after 2 weeks for spring cleaning as Cooper was painting Lang House. When Johnson took over the Dairy his salary was raised to £2/10/- and was resident since then the men were given £1/-/- per week and put out of residence.

Taken prisoner in Singapore he sadly died in Changi Prison during the Japanese Occupation. The Heritage Archive holds this poignant letter from Mrs Johnson in which she informs Miss Knox that Alexander is missing in action.  Alexander is remembered on the Roll of Honour in the War Memorial Chapel, Pymble.

Alexander Johnston
Cowman of the College for 14 years
– Dec 1940

Bannockburn Rd,

27th July 1942

Dear Miss Knox,

Thank you for forwarding the letter from the Water Board, which I received on Saturday.

It is indeed a very anxious time waiting for news of Alex. I have been notified by the Military authorities that he is posted as missing, but it seems that all who were in those areas are being posted as missing. I did speak to a solider wearing the same colour patch, in town one day and he knew both Alex and my brother. He saw Alex, four days before the capitulation and my brother two days before the capitulation. They were both well at that time so we are very hopeful that they are prisoners of war, which is the best we can hope for under the circumstances. According to the latest reports the list of prisoners is now on the way, so by September at the latest we surely should receive some definite news.

I am keeping well and thankful to say, busy also. The busier one is, the better these days, it keeps the mind occupied when it is so easy to let oneself feel miserable.

With kindest regards to yourself and my thanks to all Alex’s friends for thinking of him. He always very much appreciated receiving letters etc., from anyone at the College.

Yours Sincerely,

VidaC. Johnston

Cpt Banksie Buchanan NFX70464  Australian Army Medical Corp (AAMC)

Born on the 10 Dec 1913, Banksie Buchanan attended Pymble between 1929 and 1931. A boarder from Goulburn, she played hockey and was a house prefect.

Banksie trained in massage, now known as physiotherapy at Women’s College, University of Sydney. Her war service saw posting to Middle East, an extract from a letter from Banksie was published in the Ex-student magazine in 1943. A highly descriptive account of a desperate experience.

Banksie post war appears to have worked and settled in Queensland, marrying Michael Devaney McKeon. Banksie died in early 90’s on 4th March, 2005.

NX 70464
Miss B. Buchanan
No.1 Australian Orthopaedic Hospital


Dear Miss Knox,

Thank you very much for the Christmas card, and school greetings. I did hope to get to Sydney for the Festive Season, but at the last minute leave was changed, and I spent it in Queensland. We have been here now for nearly six months, it has been a busy time on the whole, but we’re quite ready now for a move up north. The only Pymble girl I know of already up there, Nancye Knowlman, she is with the 2/5th A.G.H.

I would like to wish for you, and all the girls, the best of good things in the coming year, and thank you again for your kind thoughts.

Yours sincerely

Banksie Buchanan

Private Clair Este NFX179926, Dental Unit, Australian Army Medical Women’s Services (AAMWS).

Clair Este was a successful day student at Presbyterian Ladies’ College, which she attended between 1935 and 1938. Clair was one of the top students in her class. Her teachers’ reports are overall positive, and show the progress of her “developing achievement and character.”

Clair studies included, Scripture, English, Modern History, French, Latin, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, Botany and Physiology. Showing she was a very academic student. She gained the Leaving Certificate at the end of her years at Presbyterian Ladies’ College. 

Clair enlisted in 1943 and served in the Dental unit at Kapooka for 2 ½ years. Post war Este married Eric Este and settled in the UK. Born 5/10/1922 Clair died in 1982 at the age of 60.

Pte Este C.
59 S.D.U.


My Dear Miss Knox,

As I had a letter from Elsie recently and she said that you had asked after me.  I thought I would write to you as I know you are interested in what any of us are doing now.

I suppose Elsie told you that I am now in camp at Kapooka which is about 6 or 7 miles from Wagga.  At first I was very disappointed about the transfer, as I had begun to settle down in Newcastle, and was able to get home very often from there.  Still I have become fond of this place and am glad that I came, because this country is really beautiful, and I have spent some very happy times here. 

I don’t remember how long ago it is since I last wrote you so I don’t know whether I told you that I was posted to a dental unit. As you could probably imagine I joined the medical Branch of the service because I was keen to get to a hospital somewhere, so when I was drafted into the Dental Corps I was rather disappointed. 

In the Army though, I think, are the biggest lessons we learn, is to take, whatever comes in the best possible spirit. We don’t always manage this but it is by far the best way to stay content.  So after 12 months in dental work I can say that I really do like it. I have worked with some very nice dentists, and actually that makes       nearly all the difference. Since being here at Kapooka I have only worked with two one a Capt. O’Brien was with me for about 6 months.  And I found him very easy to get on with, and after he transferred to Sydney a Capt. Morris took his place, and I think I can say that I have the best “boss” in the Unit.  He is a very nice person, well liked by all the other officers and also all the boys, so that in itself, speaks well, I think. 

There always seems plenty to do down here in our spare time, or should I say the spare time we do have. We have been very busy lately, and it is nothing for us to have to go straight through the weekends. Still major Macdonald the CO of our Unit is one of the best, so we really don’t mind how we work when things are so busy. Lately we’ve had our weekends to ourselves and usually on Sundays the whole unit makes for the River.  It has been so very hot here but we really welcome the swim, and it is certainly good to get right away from camp for the day.  Well time seems to be getting the better of me so I will draw this ramble to a timely end. I do hope you are keeping quite well and I also hope that when I am home next time I may have chance to see you.

Lots of love now from Clair    

Esme Smyth was a boarder from Condobolin NSW who attended PLC from 1939 – 1940. She was an active member of the community and partook in the College’s netball team, acting as the Goal in the Senior “B” Team and played against teams such as Wenona and Ravenswood.

In 1942, at the age of 19, she enlisted in the Australian Women’s Army Service in Paddington. She went on to work at the 2nd Ambulance Car Company in Kingsford, as shown in her Christmas card to Miss Knox in 1945.

After meeting and marrying Richard Neal in 1956, she went on to have 2 sons whilst remaining an interactive and bright member of PLC, participating at a reunion luncheon in Dubbo on 19th June 1975 and keeping close contact with her friends, including Bettina Gilles (Love) and her 2 daughters who attended Pymble.

Esme Francess Neal (Smyth) passed away on 29th April 2018 at the age of 94 in Condobolin, NSW. Esme’s service records are held in the National Archives of Australia, the image of Esme is from this source. Research and written by a Heritage Archive volunteer.

“The Kookaburra”

Best Wishes for Christmas and New Year

Xmas + New Year greetings

Esme Smyth

A thought for you this special day

Joy and peace with you I pray
And health and wealth be near
In the coming bright year.

NF W50496
Drv. E. Smyth
2nd Amb.Car Coy (Ambulance Car Company)
Avoca St

Frances Valerie Gordon, Craftwoman AEME, NF445871, AWAS

Born 30/11/1920 in Manildra Frances attended Pymble from 1937 to 1938.  A boarder whose home address was Cudal, her father was a grazier.  Described as a good student on her student card, she excelled in drawing and geography.

Frances served as a craftwoman in the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corp. A role which involved care of transport and machinery, working out of workshops. A skilled role which may have included tasks as varied as instrument making or armature winding for electric machines. Frances notes in her letter she is being trained as a radar mechanic.

Frances married Alex Sneddon and lived to 95 years, dod 17/3/2015.

NF 445871
Pte Gordon W.
RM 30A

Telecom Wing
LHQ School of E & ME


Dear Miss Knox,

Your card of Xmas greetings from yourself and the school was a very pleasant surprise and it was very welcome. It was so nice to think that we were being thought of by so many outside our bounds.

 I have met an amazing number of Old Girls since I have been in the service including Emily Rossell, Joan Pennefather, Betty, Charters, Ailsa Hardie, Judith Penrose and Lois Williams are up here at present with the I?AACC – the unit to which Jenny belongs. It is amazing how many of the old girls we meet from time to time. I saw Judy Thirkill (from PLC Orange) one day – she had just come into the A.A.M.W.S. – It seemed so strange to think of Judy grown up, she was such a tiny thing when I was at Orange – she hasn’t changed a bit either. Barbara Webb was up here a short time ago doing a Refresher school too.

We are doing a school out here at present – I thought when I left school I’d finished with school and exams forever but I seem to have been rather sadly mistaken! I seem to remember you telling me once my education would only begin when I left school & oh how right you were! When we finish we will be Radar Mechanics (we hope) but the course seems unending. Nevertheless it’s very interesting and though very stiff is certainly worth all the effort it takes.

I see quite a bit of Jenny from time to time. She’s very well.

 I fear time is very short so I must go. With every good wish for yourself & the school during 1944 & may it bring peace again.

Yours very sincerely,

Frances Gordon

Captain Marie Ellis, Australian Forces WW2 Servicewoman, Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS)

Marie Ellis came from a 4000-hectare sheep station near Narrabri in North-west NSW with her parents and four younger siblings. She attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College as a boarder for her two final years of schooling, graduating in 1939.

At the age of 21, Marie enlisted in the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) and was sent to rookie camp at Ingleburn outside Sydney in February 1944. After three weeks of training, Marie’s first posting was to Wallace Battery in Newcastle where she was employed to compile pay entitlements for the troops and to help pay sergeants deliver them to the soldiers. Marie Ellis volunteered to go overseas, working in Papua New Guinea, where she became a clerk for Captain Reginald Ellis in Supply and Transport.

Once discharged, Marie Ellis married Reginald Ellis in Melbourne where they had four children. Marie became an advocate for the introduction of more humane hospital procedures in grief management, working with numerous charities such as Epilepsy Foundation and Berry Street. She was also an active Balwyn branch member of the Liberal Party.

Marie Ellis passed away in 2014 at the age of 92, and will be remembered as a wonderfully dedicated and hardworking student who devoted her life to making the world a better and safer place for all.

Written and researched by Archive volunteer Becca Peters Y10, photo published in the Newcastle Herald October 12, 2014.  Background sourced from obituary of the same day written by Rosemary Forsyth and Ian Ellis.

NF 466627
Pte Cameron M
1 Aust S.R.D.
Helena St,

12th Jan, 1945

Dear Miss Knox,

Thank you so much for the Xmas Card. It was so nice to be remembered by my old school, especially when rather a long way from home for Xmas.

I think it is in times like these that one is more apt to look back to the “good old days” at school and one always appreciates any connection with those carefree days.

I am stationed, rather permanently I’m afraid, at the above address and although I like this camp and my work, I often feel that I’d like to move on.

However, while I am in Sydney I really will try to come up to school for an afternoon and see everything again. I only have Sundays off duty and they are usually planned for so far ahead that I don’t get as far afield as Pymble.

Please accept my rather belated Seasons Greetings and my very best wishes for a most successful year for yourself and the school.

My best wishes and regards to all who remember me,

Yours sincerely,

Marie Cameron

Shirley Streeton
D.G Range Bradleys’ Head
℅ D.G Office
Garden Island

10th January ‘45

Dear Miss Knox,

I do hope you will forgive me for being so remiss in not replying to your card earlier. It was so nice to know you remembered me once more and have been feeling very guilty about the whole thing but have not by any means forgotten you or my old school and its many memories.

My sister Sylvia was married early in December and our household was in a somewhat confused state as you can well imagine especially as she is the first of the three of us girls to leave the home. I have been told that when one daughter marries the others follow suit very soon but I am not sure about that – not yet anyway! However, we had Sylvia and her husband home for Christmas which we spent very quietly this time – sort of anti-climax following the excitement of the wedding.

As you see I am still at the D.G Range in fact I seem to be rather a permanent function here now. I noticed my card was addressed to our old Roseville address but suppose that was just a slight mistake and of no real account but our home address is 194 Carrington Rd. Coogee.  However  it was re-addressed and I got it eventually which is the main thing. Please accept my warm regards and wishes for the New Year.

Shirley Streeton

Kathleen Dabourne,  Australian Women’s Land Army

Born 11/11/1923 Kathleen attended Pymble from term 3,  1938 to the end of 1939, a day girl travelling from Chatswood.  She studied English, Modern History, Geography, Arithmetic, Geometry and botany.

The AWLA supported farming in a period of severe shortages in labour, women turning their hand to all aspects of farming.  Often under extreme environmental conditions.  Kathleen worked in Batlow and Cowra, which would have included activities such as fruit picking and crop harvesting.

Marrying Stanley Friend post war, Kathleen lived to the age of 88 years, and died in on 2nd Nov, 2012.

Aust. Women’s Land Army,
℅ J. Sedgwick Esq


Dear Miss Knox,

I want to thank you for the greetings you sent me from school.

I am very happy to be in the Land Army. I have been in Batlow for almost two years now, but hope to be transferred to a place out Moree Way after the fruit picking is over.

At present we are having carrots and clearing land for next year.

Other jobs we have done are picking fruit, pruning and spraying, beside countless other less important things.

A new camp has just recently been built here and we now have over twenty girls. The property is a big one with a hundred acres of orchard and approximately fifty acres of vegetables. So you can see that a lot of work is necessary.

Again thanking you for your greetings.

Yours Sincerely,

Kathleen Dabourne