Addie Miethke a power in patriotism, flying doctor, school of the air, education and kindies

Adelaide (Addie) Miethke was president in 1936 of the Women’s Centenary Council of South Australia.
Image courtesy State Library of South Australia

Adelaide (Addie) Miethke, a driving force of South Australian patriotism during both world wars, was, ironically, the daughter of a Prussian schoolteacher.
Miethke also became a teacher, schools inspector, and active in the Australian Public Schools Teachers’ Association’s push for better wages.

In a 1915 address to the Women’s Non Party Political Association, Miethke outlined her ideas on girls’ technical education – a concept taken up by the education department.

The energetic unmarried Miethke was president in 1936 of the Women’s Centenary Council of South Australia that raised £5000 for an Alice Springs base of the Australian Aerial Medical Service (later Flying Doctor Service) and the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden in Adelaide. She also designed and organised a grand Empire Parade.

During World War I, Miethke had organised the South Australian Children’s Patriotic Fund. In 1940-46, she directed the School Patriotic Fund of South Australia. It raised £402,133, and money left over after the war bought a hostel, Adelaide Miethke House, for country girls studying in Adelaide.

Other money went to the Flying Doctor Service. A friend of John Flynn, Miethke was first president of the service’s state branch. On a trip to Alice Springs, she came up with the idea of “bridging the lonely distance”. She single-mindedly set up the world’s first school of the air in Alice Springs in 1950.

Miethke continued to be involved with causes, including kindergartens and children. The Adelaide Miethke Kindergarten in Woodville honours her.

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