I have been remembering Ulverstone (Tasmania) personality Miss Andrews, and discovering a lot more about her! When we are young we have such a one-dimensional view of our elders, especially those in authority.

Miss Helen Andrews was in charge of the Lady Clark Memorial Library at Ulverstone in the 1950s, when I was in primary school. It was a bit scary getting to the library from the State School, because it meant walking past the Convent School. The kids in the playground would call out; ‘State school rats with ya hair in plaits!‘ We had an even worse rhyme for them, but I never dared shout it back.

I was also terrified of Miss Andrews, especially if I had an overdue book. Thankfully I don’t think I ever damaged one.

It’s a mystery as to who this little girl is, but it could have been any one of us.


Miss Andrews began her working life as a teacher at the Ulverstone Grammar School in the early 1920s.

Her horizons widened considerably in 1930;

Miss H. F. Andrews has returned home after her trip to England and India. She spent some months in each, in addition to visiting Ceylon. She also spent an enjoyable time in Germany and other European countries. The trip had been a most interesting one, and Miss Andrews has promised members of the Workers’ Educational Association that she will speak to them concerning her travels. (Advocate, Nov, 7 1930.)

In February 1944 she left Ulverstone to start a teaching job at the Methodist Ladies College in Launceston;

Before her departure Miss Andrews was guest-of-honour at a number of social functions….On a recent Saturday afternoon, members of the Ulverstone Golf Club met at the clubhouse to present Miss Andrews with a set of jewellery after the style of mosaics, in turquoise blue colouring. At ‘Ardagh’, the South Road home of Mrs H.L. Dodery, chairwoman of the Red Cross, the departing guest was presented with an electric radiator and a roll of notes……To enable her to say ‘au revoir’ to intimate friends, Miss Amy House entertained at 71 Main Street on the eve of her departure for Launceston. (Advocate, Feb. 4 1944)

When I first published this article an ex-pupil of the Methodist Ladies College told me that Miss Andrews was her favourite teacher, which was lovely to hear.

Residence of Miss Andrews in Ulverstone.

Featured in The Advocate, March 6 1952;

Miss Andrews, Woman of the Week.

As mentioned in the above article, Miss Andrews was an active member of the Ulverstone Repertory Theatre Society. I love this review of her in a play called The Inconstant Moon.

Rdeview of Miss Andrews.

Another play she starred in was Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest. Naturally she played Lady Bracknell. She is pictured on the right in the following photo, looking quite splendid. What perfect casting!

Miss Andrews as Lady Bracknell.

Helen Andrews, as the dignified ‘Lady Bracknell’, looked the ‘grand dame’ in a handsome floor-length afternoon gown of lace-trimmed black satin, with a cameo at the throat, and a grey ostrich feather boa. Green feathers nodded in her black bonnet, tied with strings. (Advocate. Oct. 9 1952)

Miss Andrews died on October 26, 1961, in a retirement home at St. Leonards.

Here is a small extract from her will. Note the bequest of her desk and several paintings to Robina Oughton, who also received a legacy of £50. Mrs Oughton (nee Roberts) was then the music teacher at Ulverstone High Scool. The women had been friends from the 1920s, when they were employed at the Church of England Grammar School.

If only I could go back and view Miss Andrews in her true light; teacher, traveller, librarian, golfer, bridge player, show judge, playwright, actor, community leader, charity worker ……. and loyal friend.

NOTE – My big brother Kenny failed to return a book about two seals called Slip and Slide to the Lady Clark Library. It was in our bookcase for years, but we were all a bit too worried about Miss Andrews and the fines to take it back. Sorry. 😨


  1. She sounded quite a character! She looked a splendid Lady Bracknell

  2. Pauline love this story, do you remember Miss. Barnard in the Library.

    • Pauline

      I certainly do Ann. I think she was more intimidating than Miss Andrews!

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