Alix Townsend

Alix Townsend was born in Ringwood, Victoria and educated at Winnington Grammar and MLC. As a child, she suffered ill-health which later cut short a promising career in nursing. Alix met her future husband, John, an officer on a British passenger ship, on a Pacific cruise in 1939. When war was declared, John enlisted in the British Merchant Navy; he and Alix were married just prior to his departure for the North Atlantic.

On John’s return from the war, they lived in Geelong, but eventually moved to the healthier air of Ocean Grove, in 1952. In 1953, at home with three young children, Alix graduated in Arts through the University of Melbourne, having completed her studies entirely on her own. The achievement made news throughout Victoria, Alix being the first woman in Australasia to obtain a degree in this manner, paving the way for the development of off-campus studies at tertiary level. Alix taught English and History at The Geelong College and The Hermitage before she and John founded the Bellarine Echo in 1962, which they ran until their retirement in 1977.

Following John’s death in 1980, Alix spent much time with her six children and an increasing number of grandchildren. She also travelled extensively and began a writing career.

She published These Friendly Shores, a personal history of Ocean Grove, two short novels, A Saga of Circumstance and The Ebley Connection, and, at the time of her death in 2008, had nearly completed a biography of her grandfather, A.R. Edgar, founder of the Wesley Central Mission in Melbourne. The biography, Forth to a Waiting World, has since been completed by her son, John, working from his mother’s notes.