Kathleen Hildred Dickson - inspirational educator

Kathleen Hildred Dickson was born on 17th March, 1910 in Tenterfield, NSW. In 1918, she and her family moved first to Warwick, then Toowoomba.

Kath Dickson graduated from Fairholme College a senior prefect and dux and in 1928, at the age of 18, went to Brisbane to commence teacher training.

Best known for her long-term position as principal of the Toowoomba South Girls School, Kath began her teaching career in the west at places such as Pampas, Nangwee, Charleville and Langlow Crossing.

At the onset of World War II, Miss Dickson, who was then on staff at Toowoomba South Girls’ and Infants’ School, joined the V.A.D.s (later called the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service) and soon gained the rank of captain.

She was then transferred to a unit of the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Service set up to instruct troops on the opportunities available for training upon their return to civilian life. On returning to her teaching career after the war, Kath Dickson held a position at an infants’ school at Mackay West, then at Rockhampton Central Girls’ School.

She returned to South Girls’ and Infants’ School in Toowoomba as principal in 1960 and remained an integral part in the education of children in the city until her retirement 15 years later.

Kath Dickson was awarded the British Empire medal for her efforts with the Girl Guides and with Darling Downs students and because of the great impact that she has had on education, was in 1970 made Fellow of the Australian College of Education, making her the first non-graduate to be so honoured.

The Kath Dickson Family Centre, which was pioneered by Miss Dickson in her retirement, is Queensland’s largest family day care scheme and today serves more than 1000 children.

Kath Dickson died in November 2003. 

Sources

LH files – LH/Dickson, Kathleen Hildred and Kath Dickson Centre
Bonnin, Roberta Harriet Dazzling prospects : women in the Queensland Teachers Union since 1945. 1988.
Gillespie, Shirley Lips, Laplaps and Love. 1997.

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