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Obituaries

Peggy Williams, Land Army girl.

'Land girl' recruit got lasting recognition for Women's Land Army

A brother of Margaret "Peggy" Williams was?deemed medically unfit for service in World War II and?was subsequently sent a white feather through the mail. This unkind act, combined with a family commitment to war service and a desire to make a contribution to the war effort herself, spurred the 17-year-old Peggy into action.

In Passing

In Passing

Jana Novotna, the Czech tennis star who cried on the Duchess of Kent's shoulder after losing a Wimbledon singles final in 1993 and then triumphed at the same tournament five years later, died on Sunday in the Czech Republic.

In Passing

In Passing

Helen John, who has died aged 80, was a peace campaigner and one of the first to camp overnight at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire in protest at plans to site US cruise missiles there.?In August 1981, John joined a group of about 40 women on a march that took them over 100 miles from Cardiff to the Berkshire airbase. Married with five children, she was then in her 40s and had never previously taken a close interest in political movements. "I went through life like a pudding," she later recalled. "I didn't know what feminism was." As the nuclear arms race gathered speed she was jolted into action.?The group arrived at RAF Greenham Common on September 5, and John volunteered to chain herself to the perimeter fence with three other women. As night fell, the American base commander came over. "As far as I'm concerned, you can stay there as long as you like," he said.

Last member of Guinea Pig Club for WWII air crew burns victims

Harold Stannus on a cruise in Alaska. Cool climates were more comfortable, as he had extensive skin grafts from his war ...

The last remaining Australian member of the exclusive "Guinea Pig Club'" Harold Stannus, has passed away in Vancouver, Canada. Harold – or "Harry"?to his mates in the club –?was one of the 649 burns victims who, having survived horrific plane crashes or naval explosions during World War II, went on to be treated in Britain by the maverick New Zealand plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe.

Survivor of Crete evacuation lived to be 104

Les Manning, veteran of the Crete campaign in World War II.

Les Manning was captured in the evacuation of Crete in World War II and spent four years as a prisoner of war. When he returned to Melbourne he had to rebuild his life.

Visionary inspired the young to read

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen.

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen arrived in Australia as a stateless young girl and became the groundbreaking champion of youth literature.

Educator inspired generations of girls

Sister Margaret Mary Kennedy.

Sister Margaret Mary Kennedy, who was the last religious principal of Genazzano College, left a lasting legacy of encouragement of all who came within her sphere to be their best and dream big.

Gender politics author Nancy Friday dies

Author Nancy Friday's books on gender politics helped redefine American women's sexuality and social identity.

Nancy Friday, the author whose books about gender politics helped redefine American women's sexuality and social identity in the late 20th century, has died from complications with?Alzheimer's disease aged 84.

Wounded Knee siege leader dies

Dennis Banks (centre), leader of the American Indian Movement, participates in a ceremony in 1975.

Dennis Banks was the militant Chippewa who founded the American Indian Movement in 1968 and led often-violent insurrections to protest the treatment of Native Americans including the famous Wounded Knee seige.

Writer's late-life lust put to bed at 66

Jane Juska placed a personal advertisement and discovered the joys of sex.

As Jane Juska –?divorced, lonely and 66 –?watched Eric Rohmer's film Autumn Tale?in 1999 in Berkeley, California?she was swept up by the story, in which a married woman secretly places a personal advertisement in a newspaper for a widowed friend who believes it is too late for her to find love.

Governor-general with wisdom, diplomacy and charm

Sir Ninian Stephen at the launch of his biography, 2007.

No one in Australia's history has been as honoured as Sir Ninian Stephen – he was awarded no fewer than five knighthoods in his lifetime. Nor has anyone managed to achieve so much with such modesty and ease.

Principal and poet was a champion of justice

Peter Gebhardt, school principal, then County Court judge.

Peter Gebhardt became a County Court judge after an outstanding career as a school principal. During his 10 years on the bench he brought to his judgments a compassion that mirrored his care for students.

In Passing

In Passing

Iona Opie, who has died aged 94, was, with her husband Peter, one of the world's greatest experts on the folklore, games and beliefs of childhood; the Opies' study of children's culture, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959), described "the greatest of savage tribes – the worldwide fraternity of children" – a society that few people until then understood or even realised existed.?The Opies began their quest out of curiosity about the origins of nursery rhymes. Shortly after they got married in 1943, they saw a ladybird during a walk in the countryside. Recalling the rhyme "Ladybird, Ladybird, fly away home", they wondered where it had originated and discovered that the only available anthology of nursery rhymes had been published in 1842.?"Ladybird, Ladybird", for example, is known in some form more or less everywhere – including China. Humpty Dumpty is "Boule Boule" in France, "Lille Trille" in Denmark and "Humpelken Pumpelken" in Germany.

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