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Coverlid, Dorothea Rebecca (1895 - 1972)

Educator, Lecturer and Tutor


Dorothea Rebecca Coverlid taught German at the University of Melbourne. She was appointed tutor in 1923, reader in 1959 and from 1964 to 1968 she lectured part-time.


Dorothea Rebecca Coverlid took her in BA and Dip Ed in 1918, sharing the Dwight Prize in Education and was awarded her MA in 1920. A hint to her future career can be found in the fact that as well as gaining honours in French and German, in 1917, Dorothea Coverlid was awarded Second Prize in the Brunning Prizes for Botany awarded for the best plant collection. Appointed as a Tutor in German in 1923, she had attained the position of Reader in 1959. From 1964 until 1968 she continued to lecture part-time, retiring in 1969.

For many years Dorothea Coverlid was employed specifically to teach Science German. At her funeral Professor Richard Samuel remarked:

This may appear a dry, even an unrewarding assignment but she made it a live and stimulating subject, and still today many physicists, botanists, geographers and doctors remember her as their teacher. She was a born teacher, a superb teacher because teaching meant to her contact with people and helping people to achieve a goal.

Dorothea Coverlid took a continued interest in school teaching of German and served on the Council of University Women's College, was a member of the Lyceum Club, the Victorian Women's Graduate Association (acting as Secretary in the 1930s), the Victorian Schools Board, on the Selection Committee of the Society for Australian-German Student Exchange and secretary to the Goethe Society.

She made many trips to Germany. In 1949 she attended the Goethe bicentenary celebrations at Frankfurt as the representative of the Australian Goethe Society and her work was described in the Australian press:

Miss Dorothy Coverlid, lecturer in Germanic languages at Melbourne University, who has been doing splendid work for the British Government with the educational section of its administration in the British zone in Germany.[1]

On her return she gave a lecture at the University of Tasmania on post-war German schools and universities and spoke of the work of the Allied Commission in the British zone, especially among young people.[2]

Dorothea Coverlid edited two books and published several translations, including Ernst Wiechert's eloquent plea to German youth to accept a degree of guilt for remaining at best, passive onlookers at the advance of the Nazi regime.[3]

[1] Elizabeth Auld. 'More Food in England But Quality Poor'. Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. 14 September 1949: 5

[2] 'Lecture on German Schools'. Mercury. 14 October 1950:

[3] German Science Texts. Edited by Dorothea R. Coverlid and Fritz P. Loewe. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press in association with Oxford University Press, 1943; Richard H. Samuel. Selected Writings. Edited in honour of his 65th birthday by D.R. Coverlid ... [et al.]; with a foreword by W.H. Bruford. Melbourne: Dept. of Germanic Studies, University of Melbourne, 1965; Wiechert, Ernst. 'We Are Guilty '. Meanjin. v.7 no.4 (Summer 1948): 259-263.

Sources used to compile this entry: Flesch, Juliet, 40 Years 40 Women: Biographies of University of Melbourne Women, Published to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the International Year of Women, The University of Melbourne Library, 2015;

This entry is reproduced in its entirety from 40 Years 40 Women: Biographies of University of Melbourne Women with permission of Juliet Flesch and The University of Melbourne Library. Copyright remains with the author and the University of Melbourne, 2015.

Juliet Flesch

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