BALD, Iris Enid
Iris Bald was born in Port Augusta on 7 December 1921, the only daughter of Alice and Hurtle. In 1928 Iris and her brother Peter came to Darwin with their parents and lived there for six years, before Hurtle was transferred back to South Australia. In 1929, the Bald family had a family reunion at Balaklava in honour of Hurtle’s eighty-four year old great-grandmother Elizabeth Bald. If Iris and Peter had been able to attend there would have been five generations at the gathering.
Iris Bald attended high school in Port Lincoln; on leaving school she joined the Postmaster’s General (PMG) and worked in Adelaide before coming to Darwin with her parents in 1940, where she joined the Taxation Office. Her brother Peter remained in Adelaide at boarding school. Like her parents, Bald took a keen interest in the sporting and social life of Darwin at the time.
On 19 February 1942 Bald was visiting the library, where she met one of the local policemen, Constable Bob Darken. He offered to loan her a book if she walked back to the police station with him. Bald couldn’t spare the time and replied,
"I’ll come for it later today."
(From Australia under attack p.89)
They left the library together and walked towards the Post Office. Bald crossed Mitchell Street at about 9.45am and walked through the public entrance on her way to her home next door. Arrangements had been made that Bald would shelter in the trenches near her employment with her fellow workmates. However, as she was in the Post Office complex when the air raid siren sounded, it was natural for her to join her parents in the Post Office trench. Earlier in the morning Bald had made a date to attend the Star Theatre that night with Leslie Penhall, a clerk with the Northern Territory Administration.
When the air raid siren sounded the post office staff took shelter in the trenches that had been dug around the complex. Unfortunately a bomb landed on the one sheltering Hurtle, Alice and Iris Bald, among others, killing them all instantly.
Iris Bald was buried in a temporary grave at Kahlin Beach; she was then re-buried at the Berrimah War Cemetery, and her final resting place is the Adelaide War Cemetery.
Bald received a Civil Service Medal 1939–1945 posthumously on 9 January 1998. This medal is for civilians who served in arduous circumstances in support of the war effort as part of organisations with military-like arrangements and conditions of service.
Iris, Alice and Hurtle Bald each have a street named after them in the Darwin suburb of Alawa. Nearby there is also a Bald Park and Bald Circuit named in their honour.
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