Looking at some paintings by Nora Heysen recently, I was delighted to discover that one was of a relative of mine, my second cousin twice removed, Minnie Sutherland Goldstein (1908-1984). She was my grandfather’s second cousin, one of the children of Selwyn Goldstein (1873-1917) and Minnie Waters Goldstein née Sutherland (1883-1952).
Minnie’s father Selwyn was a mining engineer, manager of the Mount Cattlin Copper Mining Company near Ravensthorpe, a couple of hundred kilometres west of Esperance in Western Australia. Minnie was born there on 13 August 1908.
On 13 October, with Minnie only two months old, the family moved to England, sailing on the Runic from Albany to Plymouth.
In 1909 the Goldsteins moved to Mexico where for two years Selwyn managed a large mine. They were forced to return to England, however, by the upheavals and danger of the Mexican Revolution.
On 9 November 1915 Selwyn Goldstein enlisted in the 173rd Company of the Royal Engineers. On 8 June 1917, during the Battle of Messines, where he had a part in blowing up the ridge the day before, he died of a gunshot wound, self-inflicted.
In 1922, Minnie’s mother and her four children – Minnie was then 13 – returned to Australia, where they settled in Perth.
Digitised newspapers and other records held by the National Library give us glimpses of Minnie’s life. In November 1922 Minnie wrote to the Children’s Page of the Perth Daily News. In 1923 Minnie played lawn tennis for her school, but she lost the game. She was at school at St Mary’s Church of England Grammar in year V and won a prize for divinity; her sister Isobel was in the same year and won prizes for divinity and languages. In 1926 she was at many events including a party, a dance at the rowing club, the Children’s Hospital Ball.
By December 1926 Minnie was training as a nurse at the Perth Hospital. The social whirl seems to have continued, and Miss Minnie Goldstein was often mentioned in the society columns.
In 1930 Minnie became engaged to Jack Round-Turner. The marriage did not go ahead.
Minnie Goldstein enlisted in the Australian Army on 28 August 1942. In 1944 she was painted by the war artist Nora Heysen in Alexishafen, Papua New Guinea while working in the blood bank of 111 Australian Casualty Clearing Station.
Sister Goldstein was discharged from the Australian Army on 17 February 1947 with the rank of Lieutenant. Her posting at discharge was 2/1 Australian General Hospital.
Minnie returned to work as a sister at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth.
In 1956 Minnie married Maxwell Percival Rose (1915-1973). Minnie died in Perth on 5 April 1984.
- PROGRESSIVE RAVENSTHORPE. (1907, January 30). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), p. 3 (THIRD EDITION). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83311792
- PHILLIPS RIVER FIELD. (1907, October 10). Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 – 1950), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90385275
- Runic shipping list retrieved through ancestry.com: Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.;Class: BT26; Piece: 347; Item: 97
- A LADY’S LETTER (1911, June 20). Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article33392744 gives an account of Minnie’s mother in Mexico entertaining, at their own invitation, the leader of the rebels and several of his followers at dinner.
- Euripedes outward passenger shipping list retrieved through ancestry.com, similarly the inwards list from State Records Office of Western Australia; Albany: Inward Passenger List from Overseas 1900-1932; Accession: 108; Item: 2; Roll: 17
- DIPS FROM MY LETTER BAG. (1922, November 18). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83156187
- Engagement: He’s Bought the Ring (1930, October 25). Mirror (Perth, WA : 1921 – 1956), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75492890 and The Social Whirl and Personal Pars on Prominent People (1930, October 19). Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 – 1954), p. 25. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58401391
- World War 2 nominal roll: Minnie Sutherland Goldstein
- Film of women’s work at 2/1 Australian General Hospital in Papua New Guinea 1945