Woman Syme, Kathleen Alice

Journalist and Welfare worker

Written by Shurlee Swain, Australian Catholic University

Kathleen Syme was born in Lilydale, Victoria in 1896, the eldest of four daughters of doctor, Alfred Syme and his wife Amy. Educated at Lauriston and later at the University of Melbourne, she worked as a journalist and later woman's editor at the Age, the Melbourne newspaper founded by her grandfather. Retiring from the newspaper in 1943 she developed a career as a philanthropist, serving as a trustee of the family charitable trusts and joining the boards of a range of community organisations which provided for the welfare of women and children.

Described as being 'interested in people from their infancy to their twilight' (Age, 5 September 1977) Syme was a foundation member of the Victorian Women Graduates Association. She played a key role in the establishment of University Women's College and later served as its president. She also joined the board of the Women's Hospital and later served as its president, and later in her life was vice-president of Greenvale Village for the Aged.

Appointed OBE in 1968, she died in 1977. The education centre at the Royal Women's Hospital, since redeveloped by the Melbourne City Council as a community hub for the Carlton area, was named in her honour.

Published Resources

Newspaper Articles

Online Resources

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