Unsung ANZAC Hero in Chermside: Malvene Dicker and Her Secret Role in the Vietnam War

Malvene Dicker (nee Cornwell), an 80-year-old former Australian Women’s Air Force teleprinter operator and Chermside West resident, had a vital and top-secret role during the Vietnam War. 

Stationed in the Lower Blue Mountains, Ms Dicker spent about eight months handling sensitive communications from Australian forces in Vietnam. Her work involved processing critical information, ranging from battle strategies to air strike plans, disseminated across Australia’s military network. 

This crucial role was bound by strict secrecy, with severe penalties for any breach.

Women as Teleprinter Operators During the War

In 1941, due to shortages in RAAF ground staff, women were recruited as wireless and teleprinter operators. The Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) was formed to address this issue. The War Cabinet had been considering this since July 1940, but approval was only granted on February 4, 1941, with the Advisory War Council concurring the following day. 

Women's Royal Australian Air Force
Photo Credit: OldTreasuryBuilding.Org

Due to legal uncertainties, women were recruited as auxiliaries on renewable 12-month terms under the Air Force Act. This decision soon prompted other armed services to establish similar women’s units. By October 1944, the WAAAF had expanded to a peak strength of 18,664.

The WAAAF was disbanded in 1947 after World War II. Its role was taken over by the Women’s Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF), which was established in 1950. The WRAAF continued in operation during the Vietnam War era.

Malven Dicker of the Women's Royal Australian Air Force
Back row L-R:   Richard (Dick) Pick, Jack Spratt, Howard Marsh, Andrew (Shorty) Dearman, Barry Kirwin, Dennis Henstridge, Bob Snedden.
Front Row L-R:   Yvonne (Yogi) Yow Yew, Joan Madson, Betty Harding, Pattie Stout, Carole Martin, Malvene Cornwell, Jenny Finn.
Photo Credit: Radschool.Org

During the Vietnam War, members of the WRAAF were not deployed to Vietnam, but they played critical roles within Australia and at overseas bases where Australian forces were stationed, such as in Malaysia and Singapore. Their contributions included clerical, administrative, and support roles, which were essential to the operations of the Royal Australian Air Force during this period.

Malvene Dicker, Post-Service

Despite the high stakes of her military role, Dicker viewed her contributions as part of a broader effort, a mere cog in the expansive machinery of war. 

Born in Toowoomba a day after the D-Day landing in 1944, the path taken by Malvene Dicker seemed aligned with military service from an early age. Initially working as a copy girl for Brisbane’s Courier Mail, her career took a decisive turn when she joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1962, training as a teleprint officer at Signals.

Malven Dicker of the Women's Royal Australian Air Force
Photo Credit: Radschool.Org

Post-service, her engagement with a fellow serviceman, who returned profoundly changed from Vietnam, led to a cancelled marriage.

Malven Dicker Chermside West
Photo Credit: Radschool.Org

Dicker then pursued a career as an air hostess, eventually settling down to raise a family that includes two daughters and six grandchildren.

Now residing at the TriCare aged care facility, Dicker reflects on her service with a mixture of pride and disillusionment regarding the Vietnam War, which she regards as a futile conflict. Yet, nearly six decades later, she holds no fear of retribution for her once-classified work, even as she steps back from the physical demands of the Anzac Day march. 

Her life is a tribute to the many Australians whose quiet contributions underpinned historical conflicts with service and sacrifice.

Published 22-April-2024

Active School Travel: Craigslea State School Named School of the Year

Congratulations to Craigslea State School in Chermside West for winning the School of the Year award after successfully implementing Brisbane’s Active School Travel program!

Craigslea State School is only in its first year of the program and has managed to achieve the “greatest increase in students actively travelling” thus coveting the esteemed recognition. 

At the start of Term 2, the school ran a “Walking, Wheeling Wednesday” initiative that encouraged more physical activities for both students and staff members.  

The Active School Travel (AST) program, which is in its 18th year, also reduced traffic congestion as the school community had to leave their cars at home and instead allowed the children to walk, bike or take the scooter to school.

“Well done to all the students, parents, teachers and staff who participate by getting active and importantly reducing congestion and increasing safety around our school,” the school’s AST team said in announcing Craigslea State School’s achievement.

Craigslea State School Active School Travel
Photo Credit: Craigslea State School/Facebook

“Active School Travel is one of the easiest ways to incorporate physical activity into everyday life for all children.”

 Also recognised for this year’s AST awards are: 

Wishart State School
School of Excellence 2022 
Highest percentage of active travel in large schools

St Anthony’s School, Kedron
Greatest increase of active travel in large schools 

Seven Hills State School
Greatest increase of active travel in small schools

Junction Park State School
Highest percentage of active travel in small schools

New Playground At Downfall Creek Bushland Centre In Chermside Now Open

The new playground at the Downfall Creek Bushland Centre in Chermside West is now open for kids in the area to enjoy.

Read: BYD Atto 3: The New EV You Can Order Like Takeaway

Some of the little ones have already tested out the new equipment at the ‘Brush Turkey Place,’ a great new spot for families which is right next door to the existing barbeque and picnic area and the Raven Street Reserve walking trails. 

brush turkey place
Photo credit: Cr Tracy Davis/Facebook

“My kids loved the new playground and little nature walk – a 200m easy track where even the littlest people can enjoy. Really well done, with toilets and BBQ facilities and a basketball hoop for the older kids,” shared local guide Danielle Morton.

Aside from the playground, other facilities at Downfall Creek Bushland Centre include bike tracks, educational trail, native plants program nursery, half-court basketball court, car park, and sheltered picnic tables. 

chermside west parks
Photo credit: Cr Tracy Davis/Facebook

After playing at the new playground, kids can view environmental and cultural displays, learn about the reserve’s flora and fauna, and discover the importance of preserving the natural areas of the environment at Downfall Creek Bushland Centre.

Situated within the Raven Street Reserve, Downfall Creek Bushland Centre is open to the public to allow individuals to learn and explore the natural environment.

downfall creek
Photo credit: Zeglar Fergus/Google Maps

Downfall Creek Bushland Centre makes up three of the natural areas in Chermside West and McDowall, along with Milne Hill Reserve and Chermside Hills Reserve. It’s an important part of the Mountains to Mangroves Corridor which is a wildlife corridor that extends from the D’Aguilar Ranges to Boondall Wetlands and Moreton Bay.

The centre is open from Tuesday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Time for a Hike! Milne Hill Reserve Upgrades Now Complete

The next time you need to take a relaxing and healthy scenic walk in Chermside West, hike up to the Milne Hill Reserve, where a wonderful upgrade of the lookout has been completed.

Constructed in March 2021, the site now boasts of a convenient viewing deck with new seats and paths so visitors can have a better experience looking out towards the breathtaking view. 

“This project is part of Council’s commitment to creating more to see and do in a city that is clean and green, so residents and visitors can enjoy Brisbane’s beautiful climate while connecting with the people and places that make our city great,” the Council stated. 

Councillor Tracy Davis was up on the Milne Hill Reserve lookout to check the viewing deck and shared a video of her visit. 

“I really encourage you to come for the walk up here, to the lookout, and see our beautiful area from this vantage point,” she said.

“Upgrades like this are just one of the many ways the Schrinner Administration is creating more to see and do in our suburbs, and help make sure we can all enjoy our great outdoor Brisbane lifestyle.” 

To get to the lookout, find the signage for the Pomax Track walking trail at the Water Reservoir. New stairs have been installed in the area for easy access. 

Chermside West Tipped for Property Growth in 2021

For the last five years, Chermside has achieved more than 30 percent growth in Brisbane’s property market. This has apparently created a ripple effect on its neighbouring suburb, Chermside West, which has been projected to grow in 2021.

According to AusProperty Professionals Director and Founder Lloyd Edge, Chermside West is one of 10 suburbs with a huge potential for growth this year following “a high level of gentrification” in recent years.  

Mr Edge said that Chermside West, located 12 kilometres off the CBD, has been building up and is now at its prime as the “markets really heat up” in Brisbane, despite the economic impact of COVID-19. 

Apart from its proximity to Chermside, the suburb has two hospitals providing employment for the locals and has the popular Craigslea State School. The improvements in Westfield has provided accessibility and convenience without the busyness of a city hub. 

Photo Credit: Google Maps

The top 10 Brisbane suburbs with a huge potential for market growth in 2021 are:

  • 1 Mansfield
  • 2 Indooroopilly
  • 3 Moorooka
  • 4 Logan Central
  • 5 Mt Gravatt
  • 6 Chermside West
  • 7 Stafford and Everton Park
  • 8 Wishart
  • 9 Woolloongabba
  • 10 Hemmant

A profile of Chermside West showed that property investments for this suburb have had a capital gain of 2.71 percent for the period ending 2020 October. The median price of a Chermside West house is $625,000 with a gross rental yield of 3.91 percent. 

Post-COVID, homebuyers have been looking into suburbs in Brisbane for affordability, education and migration. Brisbane has heaps of the most sought-after catchment area, with surging demand from the Asian community. 

Chermside Castle Sold for $880,000 to be Demolished for New Houses

Developers have snapped up an iconic Chermside castle for $880,000 at a recent auction and now they plan to bulldoze the Portuguese country villa-inspired home to make way for new houses.

Known as “The Castle” to locals, the house on 14 Ashley Rd, Chermside West, was designed by a Brisbane artist in the 1970s. 

In 2013, Marcel Lelievre bought the property for $650,000 and has now sold it to father and son developers, Kevin and Mohammad Tabrizi.

Photo Credit: Dwight Colbert Ray White/Facebook

About 120 people came to see the house during its listing in June. The castle has 471 square metres floor area and stands at 1,012 square metres of land. 

It has five bedrooms and three baths, as well as a spacious courtyard at the centre. Lelievre said that the courtyard was his favourite spot in the house because it’s serene and peaceful. 

But the Tabrizi father and son plan to split the site into two blocks for new developments, after winning the auction, which took place at the courtyard. 

Despite the Chermside castle’s charm and unique architecture, the Tabrizis specifically picked the property for its view of Moreton Bay from the top-level balcony. 

“Vacant lots around Chermside West are hard to come by,” Kevin said. “It’s quite a unique position and we think there’s good underlying demand.”

Chermside West: Among Best Suburbs to Sell Under the Hammer

Chermside West is among the best Brisbane suburbs to sell a house by auction, the latest Domain report revealed.

The latest Domain report revealed the Brisbane suburbs where auction clearance rate is high as analysed from the number of auctions data, as well as the number of properties sold by auction and its correlating clearance rate.

Chermside West recorded a high clearance rate of 55% over the 12-month period to August 2019. Meanwhile, Kenmore and WIshart emerged as the top suburbs for auction clearance rates with 62 percent, more than double Brisbane’s average of 30 percent during the same period. 

Located 10 kilometres from Brisbane CBD, Chermside West is home to 6,458 individuals whose median weekly household income is $1,722, according to ABS 2016 Census. In the past 12 months to July 2019, there have been 86 houses sold in Chermside West with a median sale price of $585,000, data from propertyvalue.com.au says.

In Brisbane, an average of 9.8 percent of property listings were campaigned by auction over the past 10 years, as compared to 30 percent in Sydney and Melbourne. Other top Brisbane suburbs for auction clearance rate are Kallangur-60%, Chapel Hill-57%, and Wavell Heights-54%.

The report, however, notes that these suburbs, including Wishart and Kenmore, have a relatively low number of auctions. It is therefore important to look at other factors that affect the auction activities on a particular suburb, such as the number of properties listed, how many of these properties were withdrawn, and the number of auctions that were held.

As far as Brisbane suburbs that recorded the largest number of auctions, Camp Hill leads the list with a total of 104 auctions in the 12 months to August 2019. Other auction-heavy suburbs include Sunnybank Hills, Paddington, Calamvale, Wynnum, New Farm, Bardon, and West End. 

Multi-storey Car Park to be Built at The Prince Charles Hospital

The Queensland government announced its plans of building a multi-storey car park at The Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside West to ease hospital parking stress.

The state government has previously stated its plans to spend up to $7.5 million in the next four years to make car parking at public hospitals more affordable and accessible.

Photo credit: qlddata.com.au

For The Prince Charles Hospital, a second car park is set to be built in the premises. This will be publicly controlled, thereby promising to have fair fees for all patients.

Read: Chermside’s TPCH Exploring Hospital Car Park Expansion; $7.5M Set Aside for Queensland Hospital Parking

Brisbane councillor for Marchant Fiona King previously filed a petition for the state government to evaluate the need for additional parking for the hospital. She emphasized the need to consider the situation as a matter of urgency. The petition garnered a total of 219 signatures.

Health Minister Steven Miles confirmed that Queensland Health will be in charge of managing and financing the construction of the second multi-storey car park.

The construction will be funded by a loan from the Queensland Treasury which will be repaid by revenue from the carpark.

CCO Public Domain / Tama66 / Pixabay

Mr Miles said it was clear that the government should be the one to build the carpark, not the private sector, so that staff, patients, and visitors can expect lower parking charges. Instead of delivering profits to shareholders, the car park would only need to cover its costs.

Whilst the number of parking spaces and exact location is yet to be determined, the government is now working on developing the plans for the new car park. According to the Health Minister, once the design is finalised, construction will take around 18 months.

Charity Soo Choon of Chermside West Set to Represent Australia in the World Championship of Performing Arts

Charity Soo Choon, a singer from Chermside West, is ready to represent Australia in the World Championships of Performing Arts  which will be held in Long Beach, California, USA on 6–15 July 2018.

Credit: Facebook/Miss Charity Soo Choon

The talented singer is set to fulfil her dream and boost her career as she flies to America for the one-and-only, Olympic-style international competition for aspiring performers and entertainers.

Charity comes from a musical family, and she grew up singing in church with her dad, sister, and some of her nieces and nephews. She is also part of the Mon Che Vocal Quartet, performing the greatest hits from the 1940s to the 1950s.

Photo credit: Facebook/Mon Ché Vocal Quartet

All she has ever wanted in life is to sing and having been chosen to sing and represent Australia at the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) is a huge opportunity for her to make her dream a reality.

To help her compete in the WCOPA, Charity is currently raising funds through her GoFundMe page. Whilst the competition offers great opportunities for talented performers, it also comes with quite high costs. Charity will need financial support to help her get through the competition with ease.

The World Championships of Performing Arts

The 22nd Annual International Performing Arts Championships will be in Long Beach, California on July 6 – 15, 2018.

Photo credit: Facebook/World Championships of Performing Arts – WCOPA

Contestants from over 60 countries will be participating in the event. Before the start of the competition, all the contestants go through the Worldstars Bootcamp which offers a full day of comprehensive performing arts seminars and workshops delivered by top industry experts.

In 2017, prizes for the competition include a recording contract from Indasoul Entertainment and over half-million dollars in scholarships which includes $50,000.00 USD from CSM Music, $30,000.00 USD from the Millennium Dance Complex, $150,000.00 USD from the New York Film Academy, and $280,000.00 USD from the New York Conservatory for Film and Television.

Charity will be preparing two songs for the competition. As a tribute to the fact that she is representing Australia, one of her song choices is “Chains” by Tina Arena.