Aileen Palmer – Location, Ballarat New Cemetery, Lawn H, Section 08, Grave 27. (BCN-LWNH-08-107-27-01)

Born on 6 April 1915 in London Aileen was the eldest daughter of Australian-born writers Edward Vivian (Vance) Palmer and his wife Janet (Nettie) Gertrude, née Higgins.

Aileen attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College and graduated with first-class honours in French language and literature from the University of Melbourne (BA, 1935).  She also studied German, Spanish and Russian.

She joined the first British medical unit to travel to Spain and worked close to the front lines with the International Brigades until 1938.

During World War II Palmer drove ambulances for the Auxiliary Ambulance Service at Stepney, leaving in 1943 to work at Australia House.

She died on  December 21 1988 at Ballarat East and was buried at Ballarat New Cemetery.

The National Library of Australia holds two portraits of Palmer, painted in London in 1938 and 1939 by Peggy Maguire, although there is some doubt about the provenance.

Aileen was an accomplished poet, translator and political activist.