Mary Goddé grew up on a farm in Western Victoria and put her experience driving tractors to good use when she joined he Australian Women's Army Service on 8 September 1943. After her marriage in 1947, she moved to Myrtleford, in north-eastern Victoria, where she played a significant role in the Catholic Women's League.
Born in Port Fairy, Victoria, Mary Goddé (née Pye) grew up in the sheep raising district of Bessibelle in Victoria's western district. She attended the local school leaving at the age of 14 to undertake domestic work.
Pye along with her younger sister Irene (later Heywood), enlisted in the Australian Women's Army Service on 8 September 1943. Four of the six children of Timothy and Catherine (née Cain) Pye, Joseph, Leonard, Mary and Irene, served with the Australian Army during World War II. Sister Monica (later Wilson) rode her older brother Joseph's motorbike and completed his Post Master Generals' Department (now Australia Post) mail contract during his army service. Younger brother Basil, stayed on the family farm to help produce much needed food products for the local and overseas markets.
Mary and Irene completed basic training together before Mary Pye joined the transport division as a driver. In later years she would vividly recall the loading and unloading of army vehicles at railway stations. The army trucks arrived at the station on flat tray trucks, that were a couple of feet above the platform level. There were no synchromesh gears in those days, and Mary had to become quite skilled at double-declutching in first gear and riding the clutch, to be able to smoothly drive the large trucks off the flat tray to the ground below.
Following her discharge, on 30 January 1947, Pye married farmer Charles (Charlie) Goddé on 18 December 1947. Goddé, who worked with his father on a dairy farm near Wodonga, Victoria, first noticed his future wife walking along the road, when he was delivering milk to the Bonegilla Army Camp. They eventually met at one of the local dances, and after marrying lived at farming proprieties in Wodonga, Buffalo River and Mudegoggona areas, before settling in the township of Myrtleford. Having never lost her love of country living, a house on the edge of town was chosen so Goddé could look out her back kitchen window and watch the farm animals grazing.
Along with her sister, Goddé joined the Australian Women's Army Service Association (Vic.) Inc. when established during the 1950s. She enjoyed attending the Association reunions whenever she was able. For many years Goddé also was secretary of the Catholic Women's League Myrtleford branch.
Mary Goddé died on 22 January 2000 and is survived by her husband and five of their six children. At her funeral members of the Catholic Women's League formed a guard of honour, the Ode was read and a lone bugler played the Last Post.
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Australian Women's Register