Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    Pattie and Sir Robert Menzies walking along a street, ca.1940s, courtesy of National Library of Australia, vn3307907. Used with permission..
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  • Faith, Hope and Charity Australian Women and Imperial Honours: 1901-1989
  • From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra

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Menzies, Pattie Mae (1899 - 1995)

Dame, GBE

Born
2 March 1899
Alexandra, Victoria, Australia
Died
30 August 1995
Occupation
Community worker

Summary

On 1 January 1954, Pattie Menzies was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (Civil). The official citation, conferring the GBE to her under her married name, Mrs R. G. Menzies, read: "In recognition for her years of incessant and unselfish performance of public duty in hospital work, in visiting, addressing and encouraging many thousands of women in every State of Australia, including very remote areas, and in the distinguished representation of Australia on a number of occasions overseas."

Details

Daughter of John William (later Senator) and May Beatrice (née Johnston) Leckie, Pattie Mae Leckie was born in Alexandra, Victoria. The eldest daughter of a farmer turned politician she attended Fintona Girls' School. In 1953 there she returned to open new buildings, along with her husband, the Rt. Hon. R. G. (later Sir Robert) Menzies.

Pattie Leckie met Robert Menzies in 1919, and the couple were married on 27 September 1920. The Menzies had four children, one of whom died at birth. Throughout their 58 years of marriage Dame Pattie was involved with charitable work whenever possible. Dame Pattie was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her charitable work. She received this honour nine years prior to her husband receiving his knighthood (1963).

On 19 September 1995, Kate Carnell, Chief Minister of the ACT, in a tribute to Dame Pattie, stated: "[Dame Pattie] had great concerns for her fellow citizens, particularly for women. She was mindful of the importance of recognising the role of women in the development of the nation…Dame Pattie excelled at making people feel at ease and was at home talking to people from all walks of life. She supported community work…I am sure many former girl guides and brownies…remember cleaning the silver at the Lodge for Dame Pattie as part of Bob-a-Job Week."

Dame Pattie's life spanned 96 years. During that time she lived through two world wars, the depression and the postwar reconstruction of Australia. Sir Robert (1972) and two sons predeceased Dame Pattie. In 1992 she returned from Melbourne to Canberra, where she had spent many years during the time that Sir Robert was prime minister, to live with her daughter. Dame Pattie passed away on 30 August 1995.

Sources used to compile this entry: Australian Women's Archives Project, From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra, February 2013. Also available at http://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/ldkg.

Related entries

Children

Related Organisations

Archival resources

National Library of Australia

  • Interview with Dame Pattie Menzies (sound recording), interviewer: Heather Rusden, 8 May 1990, ORAL TRC 2574; National Library of Australia. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Menzies, Robert, Sir, 1894-1978, 1905 - 1978, MS 936; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Phillip L. (Phillip Lawrence) Harris, 1928 - 1971, MS 3915; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Digital resources

Title
Pattie and Sir Robert Menzies walking along a street, ca.1940s
Type
Image
Source
National Library of Australia, vn3307907. Used with permission.

Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0004b.htm

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