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Deborah (Dora) East (1882–1959)

Deborah (Dora) Ellis (1880-1959) trained as a nurse in Western Australia, then as a midwife, working at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. While in Western Australia she met a Canadian goldminer, Neil East, whom she married in 1912. They lived in Alberta, Canada, and had two children, a son Ellis and a daughter Nell.

In 1944, Nell married Don Charlwood from Melbourne, who had trained as a navigator in Edmonton during World War II. Don and Nell lived in Melbourne for 68 years. Dora returned to Melbourne in 1947, having lived in Canada since her marriage.

Dora East died at sea in 1959 on a return voyage to Canada.

Don Charlwood became a well-known Australian writer, mentored by Nell’s Melbourne cousin Arthur Angel Phillips, son of one of Dora’s sisters.

Citation details

'East, Deborah (Dora) (1882–1959)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Ellis, Deborah

28 April, 1882
St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


1959 (aged ~ 76)
at sea

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.