Monday, September 1, 2014

Hazel Perdriau (1913-2014)

Society members were saddened to hear this week news of the passing of Life Member, Hazel Perdriau.

As a tribute to Hazel  we reprint this biography from our 2008 newsletter. The Society's Committee and members extend condolences to the Perdriau family.

Hazel Perdriau remembers Armistice Day and joining in celebratory bell ringing. She also remembers Sir Ross and Keith Smith’s plane flying overhead at the end of their epic flight from England, and that the 1919 flu epidemic nearly made her and her young brother orphans.

In 1920 her parents moved to a house in Roseville where she attended the Roseville Infants School and continued there when it became a full primary school and she later attended PLC Pymble. She left school in 1928 because of her mother’s illness and the transfer of the family to a new house in Nelson Street, Gordon. She then enrolled at the East Sydney Technical College to study commercial art, however after three years she abandoned art on being invited by a friend at Sydney University to join the University Choir. 

Realizing that she had a good singing voice, she commenced the study of voice and piano at the State Conservatorium of Music. Following the outbreak of WW2 Hazel assisted her mother who was president of the Gordon Red Cross and then joined the Red Cross herself to serve in military hospitals, visiting the sick and teaching crafts. She worked as an Occupational Therapist and was sent to the 113 AGH at Concord West. After about a year of part time work, she was posted full time to 104 AGH Bathurst and then to114 AGH at Kenmore with a staff of local volunteers, which enabled her to expand her activities with music therapy and pottery.

Remaining with the Red Cross after the war, Hazel gained experience with treadle looms and weaving and was sent back to113 AGH in charge of the weaving room and later the handcraft centre. When the 113 AGH was turned over to the Repatriation Department, Hazel transferred to the Occupational Therapy Department, taking charge of the pottery and art room. She also took part, with the Hurlstone Choral Society, in performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In addition she attended night classes at the East Sydney Technical College to further her skills in clay modeling and pottery.

On her retirement in 1976, Hazel joined the Turramurra Garden Club and the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, serving as secretary and president at various times in both organizations. She has been a Life Member of the Society for a number of years. She also found time to photograph every house in Nelson St, Gordon and donated to the Society a copy of the 1788-1820 Pioneer Association Register and a paper knife reputed to be made of wood from HMS Sirius. In addition she is an active member of the St. Ives Music Study Group. A very busy lady!

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