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Greenwood, Ettie Gwendoline (1906–1977)

by Chris Cunneen and Alison Pilger

This article was published:

Ettie Gwendoline Greenwood (1906-1977), benefactress, was born on 8 September 1906 at Mount Victoria, New South Wales, fourth daughter and fifth child of native-born parents Henry Herbert Greenwood, police constable, and his wife Clara Jane, née Porter (d.1923). Clara was a sister of George Benjamin Porter, a grazier at Forbes. In 1911 George bought Marchmont, a property near Ilfracombe in Queensland, previously held by R. G. Casey, which then ran over 34,000 sheep, 85 cattle and 90 horses. Clara and her sister Sarah were part-owners. Ettie was educated at the Bowral branch of Sydney Church of England Girls' Grammar School; she left about 1924, with prizes in music and needlework. In 1928 she visited San Francisco, United States of America.

George Porter died, a bachelor, in 1930. Ettie became one of his beneficiaries, as did her sisters Ida, Mary and Edith, and her brother Gordon. Ettie lived with her siblings at Marchmont for much of the 1930s and 1940s. The Greenwoods held additional interests in Garches, The Rand, Fortuna and Grant, respectively in the Longreach, Ilfracombe, Mitchell and Barcaldine districts. They were a close family and the sisters adored their brother. Ettie was a small, slim, gentle woman, well groomed and dressed; she held definite views and ideas, and was gifted with common sense.

By the 1940s two of Ettie's sisters had married and shifted elsewhere. About 1947 Ettie and Edith moved into a large, white house, which they named Marchmont, at 38 Marine Parade, Southport. Gordon remained at Ilfracombe until about 1958 when he joined his sisters. Edith died in 1967 and Gordon two years later. Both were unmarried. Ettie inherited the pastoral properties which she sold in 1970. She made a minor investment in two racehorses, Torbunda and Flamont. From this time she lived alone, cultivated a large garden with hired help, but increasingly spent most of her days indoors.

Miss Greenwood died on 7 June 1977 at her Southport home and was cremated with Anglican rites. It was only after her death that the extent of what she had left the living became known. Her estate, sworn for probate at $1,084,119, was bequeathed to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in a legacy to be known as the Edith and Gordon Greenwood Medical Research Fund. The money has mainly been used for cancer research.

Select Bibliography

  • Queensland Country Life, 29 Oct 1970
  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 22 Nov 1977
  • Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 22 Nov 1977
  • documents relating to Marchmont pastoral property (Australian National University Archives)
  • private information.

Citation details

Chris Cunneen and Alison Pilger, 'Greenwood, Ettie Gwendoline (1906–1977)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 1 December 2021.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne University Press), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

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