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Stevenson, Clare Grant (1903 - 1988)

AM, MBE, BEd

Born
18 July 1903
Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia
Died
22 October 1988
Occupation
Bureaucrat, Servicewoman and Community worker

Summary

Clare Stevenson was appointed Director of the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force on 9 June 1941. Thus she became head of the first Women's Service formed in Australia for ground-staff duties with an armed force. After the war Stevenson returned to her executive position with Berlei Ltd. Also she became involved with community work. For forty years she was affiliated with the Services Canteens Trust Fund. Clare Stevenson, with a group of friends, helped initiate the Scholarship Trust Fund for Civilian Widows' Children. She also helped establish the Kings Cross Community Aid Centre as well as the Carer's Association of New South Wales. On 11 June 1960 Clare Stevenson was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for social welfare services on behalf of ex-servicewomen. On Australia Day 1988 she received the Member of the Order of Australia award for service to the community and to the welfare of veterans.

Details

Born at Wangaratta, Vic., Clare Stevenson was the second youngest of six children and moved with her family to Essendon when she was four years old. Her education commenced at Winstow Girls' Grammar School, Essendon and later Essendon High School. Passing her School Leaving Examination in February 1922, she was one of 116 young women out of a total of 501 who that year signed the matriculation roll at the University of Melbourne.

Clare Stevenson was admitted to the Faculty of Science and during her time at the university she was active in campus activities. A member of the Students' Representative Council and the Science Club, Clare Stevenson was a hockey blue and in 1925, president of the Committee of Melbourne University Women. During the final year of the degree she failed chemistry and enrolled for the Diploma of Education, which she obtained at the end of 1925. She commenced her working career with the Y.W.C.A. and in 1932 became a training and research officer at Berlei Ltd.

On 9 June 1941 Stevenson was selected as director of the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) a position she held until she retired on 18 March 1946. At the end of World War II she returned to her position at Berlei Ltd and remained with the company until her retirement in 1960.

In her retirement, Clare Stevenson continued her involvement with community associations. Affiliated with the Services Canteens Trust Fund for 40 years, she and a group of friends helped establish the Scholarship Trust Fund for Civilian Widows' Children. Clare Stevenson helped establish the Kings Cross Community Aid Centre as well as the Carer's Association of NSW. In 1960 she was awarded the MBE for her services to the community.

Clare Stevenson never married and died in Sydney on 22 October 1988.

Events

1926 - 1928
Organiser of night classes and clubs for day workers Y.W.C.A. (Sydney)
1929 - 1931
General Secretary of the Y.W.C.A, Rockhampton
1932
Joined Berlei Ltd to take charge of staff training
1935 - 1939
Senior Execuctive at Berlei Ltd, London
9 June 1941
Selected as Director of the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force with rank of Squadron-Officer
September 1941
Promoted to Wing-Officer
April 1942
Promoted to Group-Officer
1946 - 1960
Senior Executive at Berlei Ltd
18 March 1946
Retired from Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force
11 June 1960
Appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire
26 January 1988
Awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

Sources used to compile this entry: Alexander, Joseph A (ed.), Who's Who in Australia 1950, 14th edn, The Herald, Melbourne, 1950, 816 pp; Baldwin, Suzy (ed.), Unsung heroes & heroines of Australia /edited by Suzy Baldwin, Greenhouse, Elwood, Vic., 1988, 400 pp; Lake, Marilyn and Kelly, Farley (eds), Double Time: Women in Victoria - 150 Years, Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood (Vic.), 1985, 476 pp.

Related entries

Related Organisations

Archival resources

Australian War Memorial Research Centre

  • Air Commodore F. W. Lukes (centre), Director WAAAF, Group Officer Clare Stevenson (standing, third from left). Seated on the left Squadron Officer Gwen Stark, 1942, VIC1353; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Clare Stevenson and Gwen Stark, 1944, P00691.001; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • [Department of Information - Broadcasting Division:] Talks by Wing-Officer Clare Stevenson, October 1941, AWM80; Stevenson, Clare Grant (1903 - 1988); Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • In the outdoors, Yarra Valley, Vic., VIC1314; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Stevenson, Clare Grant (Group Officer, Director WAAAF), c. 1983, PR84/200; Stevenson, Clare Grant; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Wing Officer Margaret Blackwood (at rear); Director WAAAF; Wing Officer Dorothy Hawthorn (front); Wing Officer Mary Rawlins; Wing Officer Gwen Stark, 1945, VIC0933; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details

National Archives of Australia, National Office

  • Clare G Stevenson - Honour, 1960, A463/32; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Stevenson, Clare Grant: Service Number - 351001, 1939 - 1948, 2002/05090863; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details

State Library of New South Wales

  • Clare Grant Stevenson - further papers, 192--1988, mainly concerning the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, with the papers of Joyce A Thomson concerning Clare Grant Stevenson, 1941- 1992, 1920 - 1992, MLMSS 5364 ADD-ON 2072; Stevenson, Clare Grant (1903 - 1988); State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Clare Grant Stevenson - papers, 1941-1947, concerning the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, 1941 - 1947, MLMSS 5364 ADD-ON 2072/2-8; Stevenson, Clare Grant (1903 - 1988); State Library of New South Wales. Details

Digital resources

Title
Group Officer Clare Stevenson
Type
Image
Date
1943
Creator
Heysen, Nora (1911 - 2003)
Control
ART22215
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

See also

Title
Wing Commander J. R. Gordon with members of the WAAAF.
Type
Image
Date
18 March 1943
Control
P00048.052
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Title
In the outdoors
Type
Image
Date
c. September 1943
Control
VIC1314
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Title
WAAAF members walking along a country road.
Type
Image
Date
July 1944
Control
P00094.009
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Title
Group portrait of four "original" WAAAF officers with the Director WAAAF Group Officer Clare Stevenson
Type
Image
Date
c. April 1945
Control
VIC0933
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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