Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Irving, Sybil Howy (1897 - 1973)

MBE

Born
25 February 1897
Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died
28 March 1973
South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Servicewoman

Summary

Sybil Irving was the founder and Controller of the Australian Women's Army Service. On 2 January 1939 she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for social welfare services in Victoria. Throughout her life Irving was a faithful member of the Church. Her Funeral Service on 30 March 1973, and a Memorial Service on 23 February 1975 were held in Christ Church, South Yarra, Victoria.

Details

The eldest child of army officer Major General Godfrey George Howy and Ada Minni Margueritha (née Derham) Irving, Sybil Irving's education was conducted at the various postings her father obtained. This included attending Lauriston Girls' High School, which had been founded by her aunts Margaret and Lillian Irving.

During World War I Irving was a Voluntary Aid Detachment member with the the Australian Red Cross. From 1924 until 1940 she was secretary of the Girl Guides' Association, Victoria. In 1940 she was appointed assistant-secretary of the Australian Red Cross Victorian Division. Invited in 1941 to establish and head the Australian Women's Army Service, Sybil Irving held this position until 1946. She later became Honorary Colonel of the Women's Royal Australian Army Corps. After the war Sybil Irving became general secretary of the Victorian Division of the Red Cross. Upon her retirement in 1959 she was made an honorary life member of the society.

Sybil Irving died on 28 March 1973 and was buried at Fawkner cemetery with full military honours.

Events

1924 - 1940
Secretary of the Girl Guides' Association, Victoria. Tragic results of Poliomyolitis led Miss Irving to use her talent for needlework to teach the physically handicapped through the Girl Guide Extension Branch.
1935 - 1973
Foundation member of the Victorian Society for Crippled Children (and Adults). Sybil Irving's was one of the two original signatures on the Articles of Association, and she continued to work for VSCCA all her life.
2 January 1939
Appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
1940 - 1941
Assistant Secretary of the Australian Red Cross, Victorian Division
6 October 1941 - 31 December 1946
Controller of the Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS). Appointed to establish and administer the Service which subsequently numbered 26,000.
January 1942
Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel
February 1943
Promoted to Colonel
1947 - 1959
General Secretary of the Australian Red Cross, Victorian Division. Awarded Honorary Life Membership and the Medal for Meritorious Service.
1951 - 1961
Honorary Colonel of the Women's Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC)
1961 - 1971
Consultant to Elderly Citizens Clubs, with the Old Peoples Welfare Council, Victoria (later Victorian Council on the Ageing).

Sources used to compile this entry: Bassett, Jan, 'Irving, Sybil Howy (1897-1973)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A140610b.htm; Additional information supplied by Amy Taylor AM, OAM, President of the AWAS Association of NSW and Jessie Perkins MBE, RFD, ED (Retd), President AWAS Association of Vic.

Related entries

Colleague

  • Murphy, Isla Victoria (1913 - 1967)

    Isla Murphy was one of the twenty-nine women chosen by the controller Sybil Irving to form the nucleus of the Australian Women's Army Service.

Related Organisations

Archival resources

Australian War Memorial Research Centre

  • Group of Australian Women's Army Service officers from the Victorian Land Headquarters on the steps of the Shrine of Remembrance, 24 November 1943, 060336; Rogers, M B; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • [Inspections - General - Report on Australian Women's Army Service visit by Colonel Sybil H Irving - Letter to Major-General E C P Plant], 1944, 491/1/5007; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • [Papers of Lieut Gen Sir Iven G Mackay:], 1943, AWM92; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details
  • Two senior members of the Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) taking a wreath into the Shrine of Remembrance during the Armistice Day ceremony, 11 November 1942, 137038; Herald Newspaper; Australian War Memorial Research Centre. Details

National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office

  • Irving, Freda Mary Howy: Service Number - VF398095 : Date of birth - 16 Sep 1903 : Place of birth - MELBOURNE VIC : Place of enlistment - MELBOURNE VIC : Next of Kin - IRVING SYBIL, 1941 - 1972, B884/0; National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office. Details
  • [Letters to Miss Sybil Irving congratulating her upon her appointment as Controller of the AWASS], 1941, MP508/1; National Archives of Australia, Melbourne Office. Details

National Archives of Australia, National Office

  • Audio tape - Christmas message from Colonel Sybil H IRVING, 1956, A7483/1; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Irving, Sybil Howy, 1939 - 1948, 2002/05074483; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details
  • Speech by Colonel Sybil H IRVING, 1959, Control Symbol 2; Irving, Sybil Howy (1897 - 1973); National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details

State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection

  • Papers of Freda Irving, 1932 - 1984, MS 12758; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details
  • Papers of Sybil Howy Irving, 1941 - 1946, MS MS seq; Irving, Sybil Howy (1897 - 1973); State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details

Digital resources

Title
Sybil Howy Irving MBE
Type
Image
Control
P02638.002
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Title
Colonel Sybil Irving
Type
Image
Date
1943
Creator
Heysen, Nora (1911 - 2003)
Control
ART22214
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

See also

Title
Douglas, Irving and Sage
Type
Image
Date
23 December 1944
Control
100671
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Title
Cadet G. E. Alexander, Australian Women's Army Service
Type
Image
Date
18 October 1945
Control
117420
Source
Australian War Memorial

Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0248b.htm

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124