Valerie Isabell Lethbridge 1918


Born: Valerie Isabell Lethbridge 09 June 1918, Perth Western Australia to Walter Henry Lethbridge b 23 April 1882, Mannanarie homestead, Yongala, South Australia, and Myrtle Ruth Hood b30 April 1883, Mount Gambier, South Australia, and m 7 July 1909 Wesleyan Church West Perth

Married: 1 26 February 1939, Perth, Western Australia to Walter Cecil Mills, b19 March 1917 Kanowna, Western Australia, d 27 Aug 1988, Perth; m 2 2 November 1990, Albany Western Australia to Elijah Cyril Bentley

Died: 9 May 2008, Overton Lodge, Mount Barker, Western Australia.



Eileen Myrtle Lethbridge b29 Aug 1910, West Perth, Western Australia, m 6 Dec 1935 to Leonard Charles Thompson, Albury, NSW who died in 1944 WW2.  2 children

Molly Doreen Lethbridge b21 June 1914 Perth, Western Australia, m 1 Ronald Joseph Posselt, Northam’ Western Australia. 1 child.  m 2 Alfred Lauderbach

Harry Lethbridge b1817 Perth, Western Australia.  Died 1944 WW2

Valerie Isabell Lethbridge b9 June 1918  Perth, Western Australia m 1 to Walter Cecil Mills, b19 March 1917 Kanowna, Western Australia, d 27 Aug 1988, Perth; m 2 2 November 1990, Albany Western Australia to Elijah Cyril Bentley



June Lynette Mills b6 April 1940  Mount Barker, Western Australia, m 30 June 1958, Mt Lawley SDA, to Thomas Leslie Barrett b 5 Nov 1933, Busselton, Western Australia.  5 children.

Jeanette Gaye Mills b19 February 1943 West Leederville, Perth, Western Australia, m 5 Feb 1961 Perth SDA, to Robert William Hosken b 29 Dec 1940, Perth Western Australia.  3 children

Merlene Valerie Mills b11 May 1947  Perth, Western Australia, m 4 March 1968 Albany Methodist Church to Kerry Michael Fawlkner, b 1 Jan 1943, Mount Barker, Western Australia. 3 children

Kelvin Harry Mills b21 December 1950 Mount Barker, Western Australia m 1 14 May 1972 Mount Barker SDA to Jeanette May Brechen b 20 Oct 1950 Western Australia. 3 children. M 2 Margo.


Life Sketch


Valerie Isabell Lethbridge was born on 9th June, l918 at West Perth, Western Australia. As a baby she lived in Carr St., West Perth. Valerie then lived with her mother and two older sisters Eileen and Molly and brother Harry, at 51 Florence St West Perth.  She went to Newcastle St. State School.  Val was most concerned when a boy got the cane, and once when she got 6 spelling errors she cried a lot and had to go home as she thought she would get the cane.

Walter & Myrtle Lethbridge        Val Lethbridge                Harry, Eilleen, Val and Molly


Val’s parents were divorced when she was quite young. The family rented out the Florence St house, and shifted to Bickley, living in "Honeymoon Cottage". At Bickley they would walk across the college campus to get milk at the Chapmans. They later moved back to Florence St West Perth.

Val studied shorthand & typing at Perth Technical College and Western Australian Missionary College (WAMC) at Bickley, and later got a job at the SDA Conference Office at Hay St. Subiaco.  The Conference president was Pr R Thrift and the Secretary Treasurer was S.C. Butler. Val purchased a bicycle to get to work, the conference advancing her the money, which she paid off.  She would often cycle to work with Myrt Posselt (Hanbury). Val was friends with Laurel Fisher and Vera Zeunert.


Val & Ethel Dorrington               Val on bike                   WA Conference Office staff


Val's mother spent around 1 year visiting Eileen who was studying Nursing at Sydney Sanitarium.  During this time, Val boarded firstly with the Howse family at South Perth, then boarded at two other families that were more convenient for her to get to work.


Val had met Wal Mills in 1934 at WAMC, and when Val was 20 years old, they were married at the Perth SDA Church in Hay St., on 20 February 1939.


Wal & Val Married 1939                                         Mount Barker farm-Merle, June, Kel, Jeanette


When they were first married, jobs were hard to come by, and Wal worked with the railways, and the early years of marriage were spent at Lake Biddy.


When war broke out, Wal went into the army, and served as a Medical Orderly in New Guinea.  The war years were difficult for the young family, and they had little money. Val rented a flat from Aunt Etty in Carr Street, West Perth.  June was a baby and Jeanette was born while living in this flat.  Val had depression after the birth of June, and her mother helped her.  Brother Harry Lethbridge joined the airforce and was killed during the war.  Val felt the loss of Harry badly throughout her life. Val's brother-in law, Len Thompson was also killed during the war years.


Val shifted with her two young children, June and Jeanette to Mount Barker, living with Daisy Mills. The rent was 10 shillings per week. Val was frightened of Daisy, and felt she could not live up to her expectations.  She scrubbed the floor to impress Daisy.  Percy Mills and the Mills bothers helped Val by building a small 2 bedroom house on a few acres of land in Mount Barker.  Merlene later lived in the same house.


On completion of WW2 in 1945, Wal returned to the family in Mount Barker, and soon got a developmental loan to develop a farm a few kilometers east of Mt Barker, on Mills Road, which branched off the Porongorups Road.  Wal planted apples and stone fruit, but also had sheep and cattle.  Their children: June, Jeanette, Merlene and Kelvin grew up on the Mount Barker farm.  Wal and Val not only farmed, but also had other jobs, Wal working as a mechanic in the Mt Barker Ford Garage, and Val worked as book keeper for Doug Thompson the carrier and at the Elders agency.


Wal and Val had long been involved with the Mt Barker SDA church.  During the war years Val took the children to church using a horse and cart.  Val enjoyed playing the organ, and often sang with Wal. Wal often preached.  Val was always a very devout Christian and SDA, taking the scriptures very literally.  She did not like the cold, and was concerned that she would have a jacket on at the second coming, as she did not want to get cold on the way to heaven.



Val and Wal at Mount Barker church   Val loved Albany, but not the cold


Wal was eligible for a war service pension, so at the age of around 60 years, Wal and Val passed the farm on to Kelvin and Jeanie, however Wal continued to help then for a few years before settling into a new house in Albany.  It was during this time, that Wal began to transport caravans between Albany and Perth for some part time work.  Later, feeling the cold, they sold their house, and Wal and Val travelled to Sydney to visit Robert and Jeanette.  Wal  took on a job in the laundry at the Sydney Sanitarium (Sydney Adventist Hospital) and Val did secretarial work in the Pathology Department.  They made many friends while at the hospital.  In 1975, when they learned that Rebecca had been diagnosed as having leukenia they were devasted, and immediately returned to Mount Barker, Western Australia.

They spent much time helping out with Veronika, Rebecca and Tammy.


Wal and Val then moved to Perth, and they lived in a flat in Victoria Park.  Wal got some part time work in a garage.


Wal died on 27 August 1988, at Victoria Park, Western Australia, and was buried in the Mount Barker Cemetery.


After the death of Wal, Val had some lonely times, and lived in various locations.   While living in Albany, she married on 2 November 1990 (Elijah) Cyril Bentley. They had some very companionable years and did some travelling together.  After the death of Cyril, she rented a house from Jeanie near Northam for a while, then lived at Sherwin Lodge at Rossmoyne,


Val had always loved her garden, and spent many happy hours pottering around and weeding.  Val  also had a great love for books, and spent relaxing times reading.  Her Bible was very precious to her and she had lots of favourite texts


Val spent the last nine years of her life at Overton Lodge, Mount Barker.  Here she was very happy, having many friends and was close to Merlene and other family.  Val attended the Mount Barker SDA church each week until her death.


Val died on 9 May 2008, at Overton Lodge, Mount Barker, Western Australia.


A celebration of the life of Val was conducted by Pastor Mark Goldsmith at the Mount Barker SDA church, and the committal and burial was at Mount Barker Cemetery.