I have been indebted in the preparation of this thesis to my supervisors Dr Pam Macintyre and Dr Marnee Watkins. Pam’s enthusiasm and passion for literature is contagious while her encouragement and timely suggestions were invaluable in inspiring and challenging me from the very early stages of this research. Marnee’s constructive comments, and her ability to ‘see’ my thesis from a visual perspective nourished an oasis of ideas and possibilities. Above all, Pam and Marnee provided me with enormous encouragement and support in a plethora of ways that has enriched my growth as a student and as a researcher. I thank them for their honesty, and friendship.
This thesis arose from a chance comment by Helen Dixon, Olga Ernst’s daughter in the staffroom at Mt. Dandenong Primary School. I am grateful to Helen and her extended family who generously shared their memories of Olga and their understanding of family history: Henry Dixon, Mary Newham, David Waller, Gwen Winter, Margaret Ford, Trevor Mattiske, and Hans Ernst’s grandchildren. I am also indebted to Herbert Mees and Daniela Timm who took an academic interest in my research and offered assistance.
Lastly, I thank Ross, my husband and best friend, and my personal champion, who maintained an unswerving belief in my ability to finish while working full-time as an Assistant Principal and who had the energy to read every single word I wrote (time and time again). Thank you Ross for your willingness to follow me anywhere, at anytime, in my quest to learn.