Gertrud Wilkins was born in Brno-Bruenn, southern Moravia in 1910, which after the World War I became part of Czechoslovakia. Her mother had a millinery business and her father was a chartered accountant. She completed a two year teacher training course, followed by course for foreign students in London. Following her short-lived marriage, at the outbreak of war in 1939, Wilkins was living and teaching at a boarding school in Prague. After the German occupation she escaped into Poland and on to London. Her situation came to the attention of the South Australian branches of the Women Graduates Club and the League of Women Voters who sponsored her immigration. She sailed to Australia via New Zealand in 1940. Wilkins tried to get work with the Education Department but was 'knocked back time and time again'. Her sponsors found her a job in a private kindergarten for a year, after which time she remarried and 'suddenly overnight became...worthy to teach Australian children'. She taught for two years at Adelaide High School before moving to the country. In 1971 Wilkins was accepted for Australian Volunteer Abroad teacher service in Papua New Guinea and Thailand in 1980. Fluent in several languages, Wilkins continued to teach English as second language to migrants.
Sources used to compile this entry: http://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au:1083/search/aWilkins%2C+Gertrud%2C+1910-/awilkins+gertrud+1910/1,1,3,B/frameset&FF=awilkins+gertrud+1910&1,,3 and http://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au:1083/search/aWilkins%2C+Gertrud%2C+1910-/awilkins+gertrud+1910/1,1,3,B/frameset&FF=awilkins+gertrud+1910&2,,3 accessed 2004-05-03.