Miss Alice Mitchell and her sewing machine
Alice Maggie Mitchell was born 1891 at Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria, the daughter of James Mitchell and Lucy nee Elston. Her father worked as a labourer.
Alice Mitchell lost three brothers during World War I - one at Gallipoli in 1915, then two in one day in France in 1916, and her fiancee. Despite that she stuck to a target of making a number of items for troops each week. Each week, for the duration of the war, she knitted two pairs of socks, and made a flannel singlet, a shirt and a pair of pyjamas.
Although undocumented, she presumably repeated a similar task in World War II.
Alice joined the Australian Red Cross in 1914, when it was first formed, and was formally recognised in 1974 as one of its longest-serving members. She spent all her life in Stratford, working as a dressmaker, and never married.
Alice's machine, a 1909 Singer she inherited from her mother, on which she sewed for the troops in two world wars, was bequeathed to the Stratford and District Historical Society after her death in 1980.
We have the photograph below in our files, of Miss Mitchell being presented with one of several Red Cross Awards. The woman on the left, making the presentation, is unknown.