• Edith Mary Roper

Stories and comments
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 14 November 2016

    TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD. Sir – Might I draw your attention to an inaccurate report from your special correspondent in London in the “Herald” of 1st instant, in which it is stated, inter alia, that a Miss Watson was the only woman among the five founders of the Anzac Buffet in Victoria-street, and that she sent circulars to 3000 Australians in London and received £3000 to start the buffet, etc. The history of the origin of the Anzac Buffet is as follows: – An Australian lady, Mrs Cox-Roper, then resident in London brought under the notice of the High Commissioner, Sir George Reid, the plight of Australian soldiers who had been invalided from Gallipoli, and convalescent in London. Although the High Commissioner had no authority to grant financial assistance, he was instrumental in arranging for premises suitable for Mrs Cox-Roper’s purpose in the vicinity of the Commonwealth Buildings. The preliminary expenses and furniture were contributed by Mrs Cox-Roper and numerous Australian women and men resident in London. The buffet was carried on under the direction of Mrs Cox-Roper for six weeks, during which period some 200 ladies were in voluntary attendance under a roster. Owing to a breakdown in health, Mrs Cox-Roper handed over the control of the buffet to Mrs Ratigan, of Queensland, who got in touch with Miss Ada Reeve, and it was at Miss Reeves instigation that an appeal for funds was made to the Australian public. The liberal response made the continuous functioning of the buffet possible. I am, etc., J.S.Ryan (1st F.C.E.) Strathfield May 4 [The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Wed 17 May 1933 (p.10)]

    • Mrs Cox-Roper’s Distinction
    • Posted by FrevFord, Monday, 14 November 2016

    The Land (Sydney, NSW), Fri 24 Aug 1923 (p.17): Women and the F.S.A. First Life Member Elected – Mrs Cox-Roper’s Distinction At Friday’s sitting of the F.S.A. Conference, Mrs Cox-Roper was elected the first woman Life-Member of the Association. When the lady was introduced to the Conference the Chairman asked if there were any objection to the election of a woman life-member. The delegates roared in unison that there was none! The proposal was then put and carried unanimously amidst great enthusiasm. In a short speech acknowledging the honour conferred upon her Mrs Cox-Roper told the Conference some interesting things concerning the career of her people on the land, and at the close delegates stood and sang “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” The return of Mrs Cox-Roper and her daughter Decima to Australia was effected as quietly and unassumingly as their splendid war service in London, which won for them the love and goodwill of numberless Diggers, and the hearty appreciation of all who knew them. Later she founded the famous Anzac Buffet, and took charge as superintendent. For seven weeks she laboured day and night. Then her health broke down, and she relinquished her position to Mrs Rattigan, of Victoria, contenting herself on her recovery with filling any position required of her. At the same time, in company with Mrs Graham Murray and Mrs Moncrieff, two well-known English war workers, she established the work at Peel House, following it up by taking a prominent part in the War Chest Club, and being one of the first women to link up with the London branch of the Australian Red Cross. After three years she was joined by her daughter, who had completed her studies. Immediately they began a series of weekly reunions of “Aussies” in their flat. Making their entertainment as homelike as possible, they always finished up by supplying the men with home-made damper and cake, which these women cheerfully undertook to make each morning before starting on their daily round of visiting, and distributing it at the various hospitals. When supplies were impossible, or difficult to obtain for this purpose, the Australian Commissioner made them good. One whole day weekly Mrs Cox-Roper and her daughter devoted to Harefield St Mary’s, Southall, Prince of Wales Hospitals, and St Dunstan’s. The off-days were reserved for emergency work, and it is to the credit of both these patriotic ladies that never once were they permitted to utilize them for their own benefit.