Obituary: Caroline Mary Richardson, former Domestic Bursar and Fellow Commoner


Caroline Mary Richardson, former Domestic Bursar and Fellow Commoner, passed away on the 9th August at the age of 92.

Mary was born in the village of Harefield, not far from London, to Thomas and Florence Tucker. She had an elder sister, Betty. Florence died in late 1931, and Thomas remarried and had a further three children, Janet, Margaret and Tom.

Mary was educated at Harefield School, and then won a scholarship to Ealing Technical College in 1944. She studied shorthand, typing and bookkeeping, leaving in 1946 to commence work at Harefield Rubber Company, known as Bell Works. She married Peter Richardson in March 1951, and left work shortly before the birth of her first child, Linda in 1958, and returned to work in March 1962, a year after the birth of her second child, Tony.

The family moved to Australia in 1963 for a two year term with Peter working in the Sydney office of Martin Baker Aircraft Co, manufacturers of ejection seats for military aircraft. Peter and Mary bought a milk bar business, which Mary ran during the week with Peter helping out after hours and on the weekends.

Returning to England in 1965, but with a view to permanently emigrating to Australia, the family settled in Melbourne in 1971. Mary was employed as Registrar at Whitehorse Girls’ Technical school from 1973, until its merger with Box Hill Technical School (now Box Hill Institute), where she was Business Manager. Peter died suddenly in May 1983, while Mary was studying part time for a Post Graduate Diploma in Educational Administration, which she received in October that year.

Mary ‘retired’ in 1988, and returned to England for an extended holiday but soon found work at various locations, finally being appointed Domestic Bursar at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge. As Domestic Bursar ‘Caroline Richardson’ as we knew her, presided with calm over the college office (now reception) which was the hub of the College in those days when we had only one building and just 80 residents. She knew everything and everyone about the college since the fellows’ pigeonholes were also in her office. On her second retirement, she was elected a Fellow Commoner of the College.

In 1997, Mary retired from full time work, but maintained her connection with St Edmund’s and the wider University community with some part time work with the Cambridge Society. Her son, Tony had a brief stint living and working in the UK, but after he returned to Australia in 2007, Mary decided to return also. She settled in Gisborne, where her son lived, and quickly became a part of the community. She was active in PROBUS, and also the Macedon and Riddells Creek Senior Citizens.

Mary passed away peacefully on Tuesday 9th August at her home. She is survived by her daughter Linda, son Tony, granddaughter Sara, and great grandsons Xavier and Max.