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.

Goldstein Minnie Western Mail 1927 03 17 pg 4

THE DAUGHTER OF MRS. M W. GOLDSTEIN, OF WEST PERTH, MISS MINNIE GOLDSTEIN. from 17 March 1927. Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 – 1954), p. 4  Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38002701

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.

Goldstein Minnie by Norah Heysen 1944

Sister Minnie Sutherland Goldstein, WX32605, of the Australian Army Nursing Service working in the blood bank of 111 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, Alexishafen, New Guinea. She is working on medical equipment relating to blood bank services such as blood transfusions. She was painted by Nora Heysen, official war artist in 1944. The painting is in the collection of the Australian War Memorial ART23921

Alexishafen map

Map showing Alexishafen, 23 kilometres north of Madang on the north coast of Papua New Guinea

AWM 3871745

South Alexishafen, New Guinea. 1944-08-08. Officers and members of the nursing service on the staff of the 111th Australian Casualty Clearing Station. Identified personnel include WFX32604 Sister M.S. Goldstein (8). From Australian War Memorial photograph 075085.

AWM 3987777

South Alexishafen, New Guinea. 1944-08-08. Walking patients find humour in another patients getting a blood transfusion at the 111th Casualty Clearing Station. Identified personnel include:- WFX32605 Sister M. Goldstein (1) Australian War Memorial photograph 075083

AWM 3871746

South Alexishafen, New Guinea. 1944-08-08. Sisters of the 111th Casualty Clearing Station enjoying a walk along the shores of the bay in the cool of the evening. Identified personnel include:- WFX32605 Sister M.S. GOLDSTEIN (7) Australian War memorial photograph 075087

AWM 3923873

South Alexishafen, New Guinea. 1944-08-08. Sisters of the 111th Casualty Clearing Station outside their quarters. Identified personnel include:- WFX32605 Sister M.S. GOLDSTEIN (7) Australian War Memorial photograph 075086

 

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.

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