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Joice Loch - Australia's most heroic woman

Susanna De Vries



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Boolarong Press
29 October 2019
This unforgettable story has become an Australian classic describing how an Australian bush girl saved the lives of 1,000 Polish and Jewish children in a daring escape from the Nazis. This updated edition contains an important eye-witness account of the burning of Smyrna (Izmir) causing a vast number of deaths. The author's father, a young British naval officer, saved hundreds of Greeks from the blaze that destroyed their beautiful city and many of them would be cared for by Joice Loch in a Greek refugee camp and later in the refugee village of Ouranoupolis, now a holiday resort.

Joice Loch was an extraordinary Australian. She had the inspired courage that saved many hundreds of Jews and Poles in World War II, the compassion that made her a self-trained doctor to tens of thousands of refugees, the incredible grit that took her close to death in several theatres of war, and the dedication to truth and justice that shone forth in her own books and a lifetime of astonishing heroism.

Born in a cyclone in 1887 on a Queensland sugar plantation, she grew up in grinding poverty in Gippsland and emerged from eyars of unpaid drudgery by writing a children's book and freelance journalism. In 1918 she married Sydney Loch, author of a banned book on Gallipoli. After a dangerous time in Dublin during the Troubles, they excaped from possible IRA vengeance to work with the Quakers in Poland. There they rescued countless dispossessed people from disease and starvation and risked death themselves.

In 1922 Joice and Sydney went to Greece to aid the 1,500,000 refugees fleeing Turkish persecution. Greece was to become their home. They lived in an ancient tower by the sea in the shadows of Athos, the Holy Mountain, and worked selflessly for decades to save victims of war, famine and disease.

During World War II, Joice was an agent for the Allies in Eastern Europe and pulled off a spectacular escape to snatch over a thousand Jews and Poles from death just before the Nazis invaded Bucharest, escorting them via Constantinople to Palestine. By the time she died in 1982, Joice had written ten books, saved many thousands of lives and was one of the world's most decorated women. At her funeral the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Oxford named her 'one of the most significant women of the twentieth century'.

This classic Australian biography is a tribute to one of Australia's most heroic women, who always spoke with great fondness of Queensland as her birthplace. In 2006 a Loch Memorial Museum was opened in the tower by the sea in Ouranoupolis, a tribute to the Lochs and their humanitarian work.
By:   Susanna De Vries
Imprint:   Boolarong Press
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 230mm,  Width: 150mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   565g
ISBN:   9781925877397
ISBN 10:   1925877396
Pages:   398
Publication Date:   29 October 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Susanna lives in sub-tropical Brisbane in a house with a colourful garden visited by red and green King parrots, white cockatoos and kookaburras. She writes with two rescue dogs in a basket beside her. She has nine de Vries grandchildren and a rapidly increasing number of great-grandchildren. She was born in London and has Scottish and Irish roots. She attended St George's, Ascot as a boarder and visited Windsor Castle frequently on weekend outings. On the many days when it rained, her parents took her to see the royal art collection at Windsor and these visits encouraged her interest in art. She studied French history and art at the Sorbonne in Paris, became a fluent French speaker, won a scholarship to study art history in Spain. In her late twenties, she married into an Edinburgh medical dynasty. While her late husband Dr Larry Evans, MRCPsych undertook postgraduate studies in psychiatry, she studied psychology. He worked on the research team of Professor Sir Martin Roth, President of the British Royal College of Psychiatrists who was consulted professionally by several senior members of the royal family. Professor Larry Evans died in Brisbane. Susanna married the Dutch-born Jake de Vries, City Architect of Brisbane. Together they wrote and published book on Australian art and history and Susanna wrote five anthologies of women's history. She was awarded an Order of Australia for services to literature and a Winston Churchill Fellowship which enabled her to do research in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. In 2012, the New South Wales Society of Women Writers gave Susanna the Alice Award as one of Australia's leading biographers. Details of her books are on or and Amazon.

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