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|Born in 1896, Teresa Mary Wardell was one of ten children of a Melbourne Catholic family. Her father, Edward Stanfield Wardell, was Deputy Master of the Royal Mint, while her mother Georgina Brady's family had produced several generations of engineers. Teresa's paternal grandfather was the renowned architect William Wilkinson Wardell.
Teresa Wardell qualified in nursing at St Vincent's Hospital in 1921 and nursed for the following fifteen years, including a spell as private nurse to Dame Nellie Melba in 1931. Her interest in social welfare led her to join the Catholic Women's Social Guild and to gaining a Diploma in Social Studies from the Victorian Council for Social Training in 1944. From 1936 to 1946 she worked at Melbourne's Catholic Social Service Bureau. From 1946-1947 she worked with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in China and in 1947-1948 with the UN in the Philippines where she worked as a Social Affairs Officer.
On her return to Australia Teresa Wardell worked with the Catholic Social Service Bureau again, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and, from 1951 to May 1953 as a classification officer for the Children’s Welfare Department Victoria, at the Royal Park Depot in Parkville. She undertook an UN-funded fellowship in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. in 1953-1954, where she studied services available for juvenile delinquents and unmarried mothers; the first of several such trips. From 1960-1962 she was the Field Work Administrator with the University of Melbourne s Social Work Department. A devout Catholic with wide social welfare involvements, Teresa 's principal interests were in the areas of adoption, teenage delinquency, and prison reform. She sat on many committees concerned with these issues up until her death in Melbourne in 1985.
|Social workers, Welfare workers