Gertrude McKenziePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Neil Follett

The plaque on the grave commemorates Gertrude Josephine McKenzie who was an aviatrix,  the mayoress of South Melbourne in 1932 and 1933, and the Mayor of the City of Mordialloc in 1958.  

Her husband died in 1946 leaving her a young widow who went on to pursue her interests in aviation. Gertrude McKenzie had gained her pilot’s licence, passing her exams at a higher level than her male colleagues on the course. During the World War Two she contributed to the war effort in several ways including participating in flying exercises for the Anti-Aircraft Corporation, tasks that were not relished by her male colleagues. At the time of standing for council she was conducting a healthy business at the Moorabbin Airport called the McKenzie Flying School where she was involved in training seventy three student pilots.

The decision of Gertrude McKenzie to stand in the 1955 municipal elections against a sitting councillor representing the ratepayers in the Mordialloc Ward caused surprise. After all, a woman in local government was rare and there had only ever been one woman in the Mordialloc council and that was in 1935.   The fuss was intensified when Mrs McKenzie unexpectedly defeated Councillor Rendall by 859 votes to 705 to take her place at the Council table.  This was the beginning of a career spanning several torrid years in local government marked by controversy and conflict.


Address:Talinga Road, New Cheltenham Cemetery, Cheltenham, 3192
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.960669
Long: 145.033002
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Local


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 5th December, 2010
Front Inscription

M. O. B. A.

Gertrude Josephine McKenzie 
22 - 3 - 1904  -  1 - 12 - 1960

1932/33 Mayoress - City of South Melbourne
1937 Learnt to fly at Essendon Aerodrome
1941 Owner first aircraft—DH-60 VH-UGS
1953 Formed “The Gulls” flying school at Moorabbin Airport
1955 Commenced operations as McKenzie Flying School.
1955 Elected to Mordialloc City Council
1958 Mayor of City of Mordialloc

This plaque was dedicated on 5 December 2010 by the McKenzie Family, City of Kingston, Australian Women Pilots’ Association (Victorian Division) and the Aviation Historical Society of Australia.

Source: MA,NF
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au