Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Susie Olive Kaylock (1892–1959)

by Audrey Tate

This article was published:

Susie Olive Kaylock (1892-1959), local government official and community worker, was born on 8 June 1892 at Tintenbar, New South Wales, eldest of four daughters of Henry Harden, a farmer from Ireland, and his native-born wife Miriam Ada, née Everingham, a former schoolteacher. Susie attended school at Tintenbar until 1906 when the family moved to Lower Bucca Creek, near Nana Glen. Miriam supervised Susie's education which was supplemented by piano and singing lessons. At the age of 16 she went to Sydney for 'finishing', continued her musical studies and learned dressmaking. On her return to Nana Glen she taught the piano.

Susie was a vivacious and charming young woman. She met Reginald Burdett Rudder 'who courted her by crossing the range from his banana farm at Woolgoolga'. They were married on 8 October 1915 at St Peter's Anglican Church, Nana Glen. Reg enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was killed in action at Bullecourt, France, on 3 May 1917, five weeks after the birth of their son. Mrs Rudder let the banana farm and returned to her parents' home.

Resourceful and determined to make her own way, she studied (by correspondence) shorthand, typing and book-keeping, and began a career in local government. Her commitment and intelligence led to her promotion from clerk to positions of responsibility, including deputy shire clerk (c.1919-22) with the Dorrigo Shire Council, based at Coramba where she bought a house with a loan from the War Service Homes Commission. She was assistant town clerk (c.1926, Coonamble), assistant shire clerk (c.1928, Weddin, based at Grenfell) and deputy town clerk (c.1932, Mudgee). Highly regarded in local government circles, she resigned to marry John George Kaylock—a health inspector with the Mudgee Municipal Council—on 7 December 1932 at St Philip's, Church Hill, Sydney.

Throughout her married life Mrs Kaylock was committed to improving the living conditions of rural women and to establishing baby health centres. She was treasurer (1935-36) and president (1940) of the Kempsey branch of the Country Women's Association of New South Wales. Following a move to South Grafton, she served as the North Coast group's representative on the State executive (1945-47), as the group's secretary (1948-50) and as a delegate to numerous conferences in Sydney. In 1952-54 she was president of the South Grafton branch and in 1956 its treasurer. When the family moved to Bourke next year, she managed to continue her work with the C.W.A. despite failing health.

For many years Kaylock had been involved in the Girl Guides' Association and in training marching girls. In addition, she gave informal classes on public speaking and on the conduct of meetings to help equip women for public life. In her spare time she enjoyed playing bridge and golf. She died of cancer on 18 August 1959 at the district hospital, Bourke, and was cremated; her husband survived her, as did the son of her first marriage who had served with the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II.

Select Bibliography

  • P. D. and G. L. Gray, A History of Coramba Public School, 1888-1988 (Coramba, NSW, 1988)
  • Country Woman, 3, Feb 1960, p 39
  • Country Women's Association of New South Wales Archives, Sydney
  • private information.

Citation details

Audrey Tate, 'Kaylock, Susie Olive (1892–1959)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 21 May 2024.

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

View the front pages for Volume 14

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Harden, Susie
  • Rudder, Susie

8 June, 1892
Tintenbar, New South Wales, Australia


18 August, 1959 (aged 67)
Bourke, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.