Joice Nankivell LochPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

The plaque commemorates Joice Nankivall Loch, Australia's most decorated woman for her humanitarian work around the world. 

Joice Nankivell was born in 1887 on a cane plantation outside Ingham. After her parents went bankrupt Joice and her family went from a plantation homestead to a remote bark hut with a dirt floor in Gippsland. Joice escaped from grinding rural poverty by writing books. After a dangerous time in Ireland during 'The Troubles' she and her husband, Sydney Loch, a hero of Gallipoli, in their quest as journalists writing for publication in Australia escaped possible IRA retribution and returned to London and an alliance with the Quakers.They went to work with the Quakers in Poland where they rescued countless refugees from disease and starvation.

During World War Two, Joice saved the lives of many hundreds of Polish and Jewish women and children. She was awarded more medals (in fact, two more than Nancy Wake, the 'White Mouse' of World War Two fame) than any other Australian woman for her heroism, her humanitarian work, and her innovative programs instituted in various refugee camps throughout Europe. At Joice Loch's funeral in 1982 in Greece she was named by the Orthodox Bishop who officiated as one of the most significant women of the 20th century for saving the lives of hundreds of Poles and Jews, for saving a Greek village from starvation by starting a womens rug weaving co-operative and selling the rugs to Australians and Americans, writing a book about the village and donating the royalties to bring piped water to the villagers of Ouranoupolis.


Address:Roberts Lane, Off Benalla - Whitfield Road, Myrrhee, 3732
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.736001
Long: 146.354583
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

1887 - 1982

Australia`s Most Decorated Woman Lived On This Site Allot. 2, Section 1A, Parish Of Myrrhee During The Closing Decade Of The Nineteenth Century And Became Our Greatest Humanitarian.

Her Paternal Grandfather Was Australia`s Richest Man And She Was Born To A Life Of Priviledged Ease On An Ingham Sugar Plantation, However The Abolition Of Indentured Labour Precipitated The Collapse Of That Industry And Saw Her Plunged Into Grinding Rural Poverty At Myrrhee, With Its Attendant Droughts, Bushfires, And Rabbit Stews.

Decorated By Greece, Poland, Romania, Serbia And Britain, But Sadly Ignored In Her Native Land, She Additionally Achieved Fame As A Distinguished Author, Poet, Artist And Weaver, Being Described At Her Funeral As

"One Of The Greatest Women Of The Twentieth Century."

In 1904 The Property Was Purchased By Doughty Local Matriarch Mrs. Martha Jarrott Whose Descendants Still Live In The Area Today.

Placed By The Rooks Family.

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