This week we’re going to travel to Queensland to find out what the Queensland Unit of Australian Church Women (ACW) had to say when they honoured Eileen Dingle in the ACW Bursary Book, now known as the Honouring Australian Church Women (HACW) Book.
Eileen was born 114 years ago in 1906, and she became one of the long-standing members of the Queensland Unit of ACW, having also been a founding member. In the tribute from the Queensland Unit, little information was given about her early life as they chose to focus on her achievements as a valued member of her Church and community.
She was married to Rev RSC Dingle, who was President of the Methodist Conference of Queensland, and they had three sons.
According to the tribute, Eileen led a full life in the Church and was a member of many Christian organisations such as the Methodist Women’s Federation and World Day of Prayer Queensland, where she served a term as President.
She was one of the first women elected to the General Committee of the Bible Society Queensland, and also served as President and member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) Queensland, and became a WCTU National Life Member. In her own denomination, she was the first woman to be elected to the Standing Committee Methodist Conference.
Eileen was a founding member of the Women’s Inter-Church Council Queensland in 1947 and President in 1951/1952; President again in 1970/1971 under the new name of Australian Church Women Queensland Unit. During this latter term of office, Eileen attended an International Meeting of World Day of Prayer in 1970, and was an observer for Australian Church Women at the Asian Church Women’s Conference in Indonesia in 1970.
She was also a member of the first Working Committee (later called the National Executive) of ACW in Queensland, and she served in the position of Second Vice-President. In 1970/1971 she was the Editor of Women at Work, the national newsletter of ACW.
Eileen maintained her interest in ACW and the Winifred Kiek Scholarship for at least thirty years. She had great pleasure in attending the welcome of the 1993 Winifred Kiek Fellow, the Rev. Violet Sampa-Bredt, whom she had welcomed as the Winifred Kiek Scholar much earlier in 1971.
Outside of her Church activities, Eileen was the Correspondence Secretary of the Women’s Auxiliary Wesley Hospital Brisbane, and a founding member of the Women’s College University of Queensland.
Eileen Dingle certainly was a busy woman who was greatly valued by her Church family, and the Christian organisations of which she was a member, as well as her community. Her variety of engagement with others and her contributions to assisting in improving life for many opened her to experiences beyond the smaller circle of her local Church. See the 23 May blog post of what occurred when she visited Papua New Guinea in 1971.
When Eileen died in September 1995, her Thanksgiving Service was held in the Sherwood Uniting Church, Sherwood Brisbane, and she was remembered as a most gracious lady and friend.
Source: Honouring Australian Church Women Book and Australian Church Women National Life Members digital folder.