Mary Downie Stewart

Mary Downie Stewart

Mary Downie Stewart devoted much of her life to others. She was an active member of various women’s organisations and spent many years supporting her younger brother William’s political career, first acting as Mayoress of Dunedin during his term in office and later supporting him throughout his years as an MP. 

Mary became the President of the Otago and Southland Women’s Patriotic Association during the First World War and was heavily involved in organisational and fundraising efforts on behalf of various causes. For her wartime work she was appointed an OBE, and awarded both the French Médaille de la Reconnaissance française, and the Belgian Médaille de la Reine Elisabeth (Queen Elisabeth Medal).

Family information

Parents: William Downie Stewart and Rachel Stewart (née Hepburn)

Born: 13 November 1876

Died: 27 March 1957, aged 80 years

Buried: Southern Cemetery, Dunedin, Block 22, Plot 11 (ashes)

Active in: Dunedin

The medals

Two medals

Queen Elisabeth Medal (left) and Médaille de la Reconnaissance française (right) with miniatures, awarded to Mary Downie Stewart for her wartime work.

Medals reverse

Reverse side of the Queen Elisabeth Medal and Médaille de la Reconnaissance française with miniatures.

Selected sources

'Otago Queen Carnival', Bruce Herald, 30 August 1915, p. 4

'Otago Women's Patriotic Association', Otago Daily Times, 16 May 1918, p. 5

'Dunedin Women Honoured', Evening Star, 5 January 1920, p. 6

Mary Downie Stewart - DNZB

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