George Griffiths Nankivell
George Griffiths Nankivell was born on 26 Nov 1859 in Saint Kilda, Victoria and died on 22 Dec 1941 in Richmond, Victoria at age 82. He worked as a farmer. George married Edith Ada Lawson on 1 Aug 1886 in Brisbane, Queensland. Edith was born in 1866 and died in 1951 in Windsor, Victoria at age 85.
They had two children:
- Joice Mary and
- Charles George.
6-Joice Mary Nankivell was born on 21 Jan 1887 in Ingham, Queensland, died on 21 Oct 1952 in Ouranoupolis, Greece at age 65, and was buried in the Cemetery, Ouranopolis, Chalkidiki, Greece. She married Frederick Sydney Loch on 22 Feb 1919 at The Manse, Royal Parade, Melbourne, Victoria.
"One of the greatest women of the twentieth century"
Timothy Kallistos Ware, Greek Orthodox Bishop of Oxford at the occasion of her funeral.
The extraordinary life of Joice Loch is told in the book entitled 'Blue Ribbons Bitter Bread' which is a biography of Joice Mary Nankivell (Mrs. Loch), by Susanna de Varies - ISBN 0 86806 691 S. The following is taken from the back cover of that Book:
"Joice Loch was an extraordinary Australian. She had the inspired courage that saved many hundreds of Jews and Poles in World War II, the compassion that made her a self-trained doctor to tens of thousands of refugees, the incredible grit that took her close to death in several theatres of war, and the dedication to truth and justice that shone forth in her own books and a lifetime of astonishing heroism.
Born in a cyclone in 1887 on a Queensland sugar plantation, she grew up in grinding poverty in Gippsland and emerged from years of unpaid drudgery by writing a children's book and freelance journalism. In 1916 she married Sydney Loch, Gallipoli veteran and writer, with whom she was commissioned to produce a book on Ireland. After a dangerous time in Dublin during the Troubles, they escaped from possible IRA vengeance to work with the Quakers in Poland. There they rescued countless dispossessed people from disease and starvation and risked death themselves.
In 1922 Joice and Sydney went to Greece to aid the 1,500,000 refugees fleeing Turkish persecution. Greece was to become their home. They lived in an ancient tower by the sea in the shadows of Athos, the Holy Mountain, and worked selflessly for decades to save victims of war, famine and disease.
During World War II, Joice Loch was an agent for the Allies in Eastern Europe and pulled off a spectacular escape to snatch over 1,000 Jews and Poles from death just before the Nazis invaded Bucharest, escorting them via Constantinople to Palestine. By the time she died in 1982 she had written ten books, saved many thousands of lives, and was one of the world's most decorated women. At her funeral the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Oxford (Kallistos Ware - now Metropolitan Kallistos) named her 'one of the most significant women of the twentieth century'.
This classic Australian biography is a tribute to one of our greatest heroes."
She received numerous awards including:
- Gold Cross of Merit (Poland 1922)
- Order of St. Sava (Serbia 1924)
- Order of the Phoenix (Greece 1926)
- Order of the Redeemer (two awards of this Order) (Greece);
- Gold Medal - National Academy of the Arts (Greece)
- Order of Elizabeth (Romania 1941)
- Medal of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) (United Kingdom 1933)
- Gold Cross of Virtue (established 1792) (Poland 1945)
- Order of Beneficence (two awards of this Order) (Greece).
From the plaque on her grave at the cemetery at Ouranopolis, Chalkidiki, Greece.
"Joice NanKivell Loch
Australia 1893 - Prosphorion 1982
"Why should you cry?
Do you think I lie
quietly, silently under the sky.
And wist not the murmuring wind steal by ?
Why should you weep ?
Do you think I sleep ?
But I dance - dance where the wild waves sweep !
In ecstacy over the stars I leap !
You think me dead.
I had only fled.
Swiftly, joyously, faery-led,
when the stars were glittering overhead.
You raised a cross
to your grief and loss.
But I danced over the golden gorse
and laughed as you covered my grave with moss."
Joice Mary Nankivell Loch (1887-1982), humanitarian and writer, was born on 24 January 1887 at Farnham, near Ingham, Queensland, elder child of Victorian-born George Griffith NanKivell, planter, and his wife Edith Ada, née Lawson, from Jersey, England. After a privileged early childhood on a sugar plantation controlled by her wealthy paternal grandfather, Thomas NanKivell, Joice's life changed when the prohibition on the importation of Kanaka labourers to Queensland led to her family's bankruptcy. The family moved to rural Victoria, where she worked on the farm and learned bush medicine. Her brother died in World War I.
Educated mainly by governesses and, during an interlude in Melbourne, at a school at Brighton Beach, Joice began to write poems and children's stories. The Cobweb Ladder was published in 1916. She had become secretary in 1914 to the classical scholar Alexander Leeper, warden of Trinity College, University of Melbourne. Reviewing books for the Melbourne Herald, which also printed some of her poems, she published The Solitary Pedestrian (1918) about her childhood experiences.
Among the books that Nankivell reviewed for the Herald was The Straits Impregnable, an account of the Gallipoli campaign. On 22 February 1919, at the Methodist manse, Royal Parade, Carlton, she married its author, London-born Frederick Sydney Loch, a journalist who had worked as a jackeroo in Australia before World War I and had been wounded at Gallipoli. The marriage was a happy partnership and a productive working relationship.
Shortly after their marriage, Joice and Sydney Loch travelled to London intending to make their living from writing. With a contract from John Murray to write on the contemporary troubles in Ireland, they moved to Dublin and jointly authored Ireland in Travail (1922). Seeking further subjects, the Lochs went to refugee camps in eastern Poland, where the Quakers were ministering to thousands of displaced Polish peasants. Through journalism and their later book, The River of a Hundred Ways: Life in the War-Devastated Areas of Eastern Poland (1924), they drew attention to the plight of the refugees. More than witnesses to and publicists of tragedy, Joice and Sydney worked tirelessly to curb disease, hunger and homelessness.
In 1923 the Lochs moved south to Thessaloniki, Greece, to assist Greek refugees who had fled from Turkey. Joice provided medical aid and an education program for girls. In 1925 they settled in a Byzantine tower near the village of Ouranoupolis on the Athos peninsula. Joice's life was devoted to relieving the misery and suffering associated with displacement, barren soil and under-employment. To improve the lives of the villagers and provide economic viability to the community, she established a successful rug-making industry, based on traditional skills, local wools, natural dyes and designs derived from illuminated manuscripts in the nearby monasteries of Mount Athos.
In 1940 the Lochs joined the Friends Relief Service in Bucharest to help Polish refugees pouring into Rumania. They strove to find sustenance for them and struggled against time to organise their escape. As the Nazis marched in, Joice evacuated a large group of refugees, taking them by ship through heavily mined waters to Haifa. For the rest of World War II, the Lochs worked with Polish and Greek refugees in Palestine. Early in 1945 they returned to Greece and Joice again helped in relief and reconstruction. After Sydney died in 1954 she continued her rug-making work and free medical clinics and used royalties from her writing to give her village a clean water supply.
Practical, resourceful, brave and compassionate, and attuned to the needs and rights of the disadvantaged and dispossessed, Joice Loch had originally wanted only to be a writer. She wrote stories set in Greece and Moscow, an autobiography, A Fringe of Blue (1968), and Collected Poems (1980), but the subjects of her narratives took precedence and for over half a century she gave succour to the victims of the barbarities of the twentieth century. For her humanitarian work she was awarded eleven medals, including the Greek Order of the Phoenix, the Polish gold Cross of Merit and the Rumanian Order of Elizabeth. In 1972 she was appointed MBE. She died on 8 October 1982 at Ouranoupolis and was buried with Greek Orthodox rites.
6-Charles George Nankivell was born on 11 Oct 1888 in Ingham, Queensland and died on 25 Jul 1916 in Pozieres, Somme, Picardie, France at age 27. He never married and had no children. He was a soldier in the Australian Army and was killed on active service at Poziers, France, in World War One. He served as a sergeant in the 4th. Batalion, Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Forces. His memorial is at the Villiers-Bretonneux Memorial. He was awarded the Military Medal.