Sylvia Mabyl Chase, MBE

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Sylvia Mabyl Chase (Weigall), MBE

Birthplace: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Death: August 01, 1966 (89)
Place of Burial: South Head Cemetery, NSW Row 4 Section E 394.395
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Albert Bythesea Weigall and Ada Frances Raymond
Wife of Cedric Weigall Chase
Sister of Harold Walter Weigall; Cecil Edward Weigall; Violet Mary Weigall; Arthur Raymond Weigall; Ruth Geraldine Weigall and 4 others

Managed by: Susan Mary Rayner (Green) ( Ryan...
Last Updated:

About Sylvia Mabyl Chase, MBE

Sylvia Mabyl Weigall

Sylvia Mabyl Weigall was born on the 12th August, 1876 at the Sydney Grammar School where her father Albert Bythesea Weigall was headmaster for 45 years. Sylvia's mother was Ada Frances Raymond granddaughter of James Raymond, the first Postmaster-General of New South Wales from1833 to 1851.

Contrary to the general custom of the time, Albert Weigall insisted that his five daughters as well as his sons should have a career. After attending Kambala school, Sylvia chose nursing and studied first in Melbourne then in Sydney.

When WWI broke out, she volunteered for overseas service and sailed for Egypt with the 2nd AGH on the Kyarra 28/11/1914 but it wasn't until she was in Cairo that she filled out the attestation form this stated she was 38 and unmarried. She was quickly promoted to Sister.

For the next four years, she ‘worked’ (as she quietly put it) in Egypt, just behind the front lines in France, and then in the hospital ship on the high seas.

Sylvia Weigall nursed Ted Graham when he arrived at Wimereux in September 1916. Because of the severe shrapnel wound to his right hand Sylvia wrote a delightful letter on his behalf to his parents. Apparently she wrote to quite few soldier's families and a few of these letters appear in a journal article titled 'In the Shadow of War': Australian parents and the legacy of loss, 1915-1935.

In the book “We Are Here, Too”

The diaries & letters of Sister Olive Haynes she mentions Sylvia as Sister Weigall who she occasionally calls Wiggle, left Australia together on the Kyarra with No 2 AGH.

From a letter to her mother 1/7/15 (in regard to transport duty)

“No S.A. Sisters volunteered for this trip. It is the ‘Ballarat’ and, if she stops in Adelaide, I wish you would go down and see Sister Weigal [sic] – she is a perfect dear and has been so nice to me. We have been in the same bedroom – most of the photos I sent you are hers. Her father was Headmaster of Sydney Grammar School for about 30 years.”

Diary entry 1s July:

“ ‘Ballarat’ still not going. Canal blocked. Boat blown up by the Turks.”

“Had a farewell dinner for Weigall at Gault’s – Farquahar, Cleland, Campbell and me.”

From a letter to her mother 24/7/15:

“Sister Weigal and Farquahar have both gone to Ghezireh. I will miss them. They are both from N.S.W. and so nice. Sister Weigal’s cousin was the first in England to give up his home for a hospital for soldiers. They are both little thin things but work like anything. I am going into their room when I go to Ghezireh.”

[sister Weigall on transport duty on Ballarat from 6/8/15 – re-embarked Australia on Argylshire 30/9/15]

From a letter to her mother 8/12/15 (from Lemnos Island)

“Weigal has sent me a lot of things (food) from Egypt – isn’t it good of her?”

From a letter to her mother 26/1/1916:

“On Sunday afternoon, Weigall, Farquahar and I went to a Syrian family to tea. Miss Saba is a V.A.D. here and she asked us. It was so interesting.”

[Ted Graham at No 2 AGH Wimereux 31/8/16 – 8/9/16, then to England

Olive Haynes stationed at No. 2 CCS during above time that Ted at 2 AGH]

From a letter to her mother 25/8/16 (having a joke about all the love matches)

“Sister Wiggle and I are going to run a baby farm après la gurerre – special price for military. We think we’ll make a success of it.”

From a letter to her mother 5/4/17

“Sister Weigall has some relations at Oxford – one of her cousins is Bursar at Merton College – and she is very anxious for me to go and stay with them. She has written and asked them to call on Pat. He is at Keble College, of course.” [Pat was Olive’s fiancé]

From a letter to her mother 8/6/17

“Sister Weigall gave me a bonza Camisole, handmade, the other day. She is such a dear. She is just tired out, too, and works so hard.”

From a letter to her sister 4/10/17

“I am so glad you sent Wiggle (Weigall) a parcel for Xmas – she will be so pleased. She is at Dartford now and is sending me a cake; she is a dear soul.”

From a letter to her mother 10/11/17 (on leave in UK)

“I went down to Dartford last Sunday night and stayed there. Miss Graham was so pleased to see me, and Weigall and Deere, and we all had a good old talk. The next day, we came up to London……..

“Then we met Deere and Wiggle in town and Dal took us all to tea.”

From a letter to her mother 15/11/17 (still on leave)

“Deere came in and she, Weigall and I had tea at Fullers in Regent St ……”

From a letter to her mother 16/12/17 (talking about her wedding in the UK)

“Packard and Weigall also came ………

“We all had lunch together – 11 of us – at the Hotel and walked to the Church.

“We all went back to the Hotel and had tea (no wedding cake, of course)…… From a letter to her mother 6/1/18 (in UK waiting to return to Aus)

“On New Year’s Eve we went to Dartford for dinner – Miss Graham, Col. Sutherland, Deere, Weigall, Eddy, George Day, Pat and me – all sat at one table. We had it in the Sisters’ Mess.”

From a letter to her mother & father 30/1/18 (still waiting to go home)

“We have had two awful raids the last two nights. The night before last, Weigall and I were at Charing Cross when the alarm was given, and she insisted on seeing me safely into a tube and then she went back to Dartford.”

“Tell people to address socks and things to the Sisters – Sister Weigall or Sister Eddy, No. 3 A.A.H. Dartford, and they will see the boys get them. Otherwise the Tommies get half of them – especially in France – and they have their own people over here and shouldn’t have our things when our boys need them.”

Happy Easter.....Frev

She caught the flu pretty badly in 1917, hospitalised for it, sent to England for recovery but didn't seem to recover and was given leave without pay to attend to family matters in England She came home late 1919.

Sylvia was the Matron of the Dr Barnardo's Home, NSW Branch in 1921

Shortly after the war, she married Cedric Chase, a brilliant architect who was wounded at Gallipoli, then badly wounded in France. They were married on 7th Nov 1923 at All Saints, Woollahra (she would have been 47, he would have been 28). They moved to France, where the couple lived for about 10 years

Cedric was born in 1894 at Carlton, Vic – son of Arthur Pelham Chase & Marian Eliza Weigall he enlisted in 1915 as a 20yr old.

Sadly Cedric died on the 6 Nov 1931 at Antibes, Alpes-Maritimes, France, he was 32. It is noted that the cause of death was a result of the second wound,in France. He was privately interred in the English Church Cemetery, Cap d’Antiles, Antiles, France.” [sic] – Cap d’Antibes source: letter in service record

At the age of 32, Sylvia came home to widowhood and voluntary social work.

Sylvia became an author of children's books as well. 3 on her own and 1 with Cedric called Hookum's Gang (pub. 1940). She had quite a bit to do with Sydney Grammar (where her father was Headmaster) after the death of Cedric and has a House named after her - Chase - such was the esteem the school had for her.


A remarkable woman

The library with no books

In 1937 when the first Police Boys Club was established in Woolloomooloo, the Police Commissioner of the time asked Mrs Chase to look after its library. Since there was no library, Mrs Chase bought the first books with her own money and continued to build the library from her own resources. For more than 22 years, she was at the Club every night, handing out books, soft drinks and biscuits which she also provided. She gave her time, energy and understanding even more freely — to the boys, listening to their problems and also to parents who sought her advice and help.

When WWII came, she wrote regularly and sent parcels to 170 of “her boys” who were on active service in Africa, the Middle East and New Guinea. After the war, she became godmother to dozens of their children.

First Life Governor

Helping young people seemed natural for the woman who later became our first Life Governor. She learned the great pride that comes from nurturing young people from her father. “My father always said he was not interested who and what the boys were when they came to his school, only what they were when they left it. I found the same principle in the Clubs”, she once said. “I remember many boys who were not much good when they came in but who grew up to be fine young men in the Club. That’s why I’m so fond of the movement”.

Affectionately called ‘Lady’ Chase, no matter how strongly she protested, she is remembered still with great affection and gratitude by the ‘boys’ she cared for so long ago. Sylvia Mabel Chase was awarded the MBE in the late 1950s for her work with the Police Boys Clubs. The Sylvia Chase Memorial League The Sylvia Chase Memorial League is a tribute to a remarkable woman affectionately called ‘Lady’ Chase by many who knew her.

The Sylvia Chase Memorial League is a very special group of people whose thoughtfulness, planning and generosity in leaving a bequest to PCYC will become an enduring memorial, multiplying itself in the changed lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable young people for generations to come Sylvia Mabyl Chase died in 1966 at Ryde, NSW


NSW & Vic BD&M’s & SMH M & D notices

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Sylvia Mabyl Chase, MBE's Timeline

August 12, 1876
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
August 1, 1966
Age 89
South Head Cemetery, NSW Row 4 Section E 394.395