The one who got away

June 17, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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Kathleen Whelan was awarded an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday honour. She lives in Agnes, South Gippsland and is a true blue Aussie country girl…but her father was Dunera boy Bertolt Myer better known in Melbourne as commercial artist BIM and we missed her on J-Wire’s list of honorees.

Kathleen’s citation reads:

Kathleen Carol WHELAN Agnes Vic 3962

Kathleen Whelan

Kathleen Whelan

For service to the community of South Gippsland.

Community service includes:

Founding Member and Secretary, Friends of Agnes Falls, since 2012; Social Network Administrator, since 2013.

President, Corner Inlet Pony Club, 2001-2002; Treasurer, 2003-2003; Vice-President, 2000; Publicity Officer, 1996-2000; Secretary, 1996-1999; Librarian, 1995-1997; Member, 1989-2006; Life Member, 2003.

President, Toora and District Community Progress Association, 1999-2005; Publicity Officer, 1999-2005; Secretary, 2010 and Member, since 1990.

Member/Secretary, South Gippsland Shire Festivals and Events Association (FevA), 1998-2001.

Organiser, Annual Pruning Day, Toora Heritage Pear Orchard, 1999-2005.

Secretary, Toora Railway Parkland Steering Committee, since 2008 and 1999-2001; Assistant Secretary, 2005-2008.

Secretary, Corner Inlet Writers Festival Committee, 2003-2004.

Secretary, Toora Highway Markets Committee, 1998-2005; Booking Agent, 2002-2005.

Founding Member, Toora Community Centre, 1989-1996; various executive positions, 1989-1996.

National Secretary, Cardiomyopathy Association of Australia, 2005-2008; Director, Special Projects, 2007-2009; Life Member, 2009.

Previous recognition includes:

Recipient, Citizen of the Year, Corner Inlet Ward, 2004.

Recipient, Citizen of the Year, South Gippsland Shire, 2004.

Recipient, Certificate of Appreciation for 20 years continuous membership and involvement with the Toora and District Community Progress Association, 2010.


Photo taken in 1984, with parents Bertold Irving Myer (known in Melbourne Jewish circles as the Commercial Artist BIM) and Charlotte Myer (nee Adler), shortly before Kathleen's mother's passing.

Photo taken in 1984, with parents Bertold Irving Myer (known in Melbourne Jewish circles as the Commercial Artist BIM) and Charlotte Myer (nee Adler), shortly before Kathleen’s mother’s passing.

Kathleen Whelan told J-Wire: “By way of background, my late father came to to Australia on the “Dunera” in 1939 after having been deported from the Lord Kitchener Camp in England. He had spent some weeks in Buchenwald in 1938 when it was a Labour Camp and was lucky enough to have been chosen for deportation from Germany. He came from Mulheim-an-der-Ruhr. His name was Bertold Irving Myer, a well-known commercial artist in Melbourne under the name “BIM”. He passed away in 1986.

My mother was Charlotte Myer (nee Adler), who grew up in Berlin. Her brother Bertie Adler (Pacific Fashions, Melbourne) had come to Australia in 1933, and then sponsored his parents and two sisters to come to Melbourne in 1938. She passed away in 1984.

My parents met and married in Melbourne (1945), my father then being a Lance-Corporal in the Australian Army. I was born in 1948.

I grew up in South Yarra and Elwood, then married in 1971 and lived in Murrumbeena until 1989 when my family moved to a farm in South Gippsland. I have two daughters, and since 2004 have a new partner.”


One Response to “The one who got away”
  1. Kathleen Whelan says:

    I have only just discovered this article today.
    Thankyou so much for publishing it as the Australian Jewish News article did not have so much detail as on J-Wire.
    Much appreciated.

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