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  • Faith, Hope and Charity Australian Women and Imperial Honours: 1901-1989

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Coles, Mabel Irene (1906 - 1993)

Lady, DBE, CBE

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
17 June 1993
Mount Eliza, Victoria, Australia
charity worker


Mabel Irene Coles was associated with the Royal Women's Hospital for twenty-nine years, and was president from 1968-1972. She was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 12 June 1971, for charitable services.


Mabel Coles, the daughter of E Johnston, worked as a secretary at C J Coles before marrying Edgar Coles (later Sir Edgar), one of the five Coles brothers, in 1927. She had three children; a son Robert, and two daughters, Lois and Jennifer (Eldridge), seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Apart from her sustained commitment to the Royal Women's Hospital over a period of twenty-seven years, serving as its president from 1968-1972, and being associated with two $1,000,000 appeals, Dame Mabel Coles was patroness of the Family Planning Association of Victoria and Chairman of the Asthma Ladies Appeal Committee in 1965. She held the position of trustee of the Mayfield Centre from 1975-1989. Other charities and appeals for which she worked included Yooralla, the Berry Street Babies' Home, the Girl Guides, the Save the Children Fund and the Menzies Boys Homes. She was president of the Australian Women's Liberal Club in 1965. Her club memberships included the Alexandra Club, the Peninsula Country Club and the Frankston Golf Club. Her other recreational interests included dogs, horses and walking. Dame Mabel Coles died at Mount Eliza on 17 June 1993.

Sources used to compile this entry: Debrett's handbook of Australia, 4th edn, Debrett's peerage ( Australasia), South Perth, WA, 1989; 'Grand dame of charity dies', The Age, 20 June 1993, p. 1; Howie, Ann (ed.), Who's Who in Australia 1991, 27 edn, Information Australia Group Pty Ltd, Melbourne, 1990, 1267 pp.

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