Alf James Wignell – Shire President 1965-1966


To celebrate the 150 anniversary, the Society remembers some of our past Shire Presidents.

Alf James Wignell MBE – Shire President 1965-1966. Courtesy of the Bacchus Marsh and District Historical Society Inc. Collection.

Alf was born in Euroa in 1912 to Alf Wignell Snr. and Rachel Wignell (nee Finklestein). From an early age Alf became skilled at communicating with people with hearing loss. His family learnt to communicate with their hands because of his father’s acute deafness.

A career in serving others

Alf’s early career began at the age of 18 where he went to work at the Victorian School for the deaf. He then moved to the Melbourne Orphanage, followed by the Burwood Boys Home. In 1950, Alf became the Principal of the Lady Northcote School in Rowsley where he remained for the next 26 years. 

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Alf was awarded an MBE for his work in 1970 and he retired from Lady Northcote School in 1976. He belonged to a number of community groups around Bacchus Marsh when he was living in the area.

The 1970 Queen’s Birthday Honours were appointments to orders and decorations of the Commonwealth realms to reward and highlight citizens’ good works, on the occasion of the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. They were announced in supplements to the London Gazette of 5 June 1970.

At this time honours for Australians were awarded both in the United Kingdom honours on the advice of the premiers of Australian states, and also in a separate Australia honours list.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) – State of Victoria – Councillor Alfred James Wignell, JP, of Bacchus Marsh. For services to education and local government.

He married Gertrude Eileen Schwab from Brunswick in 1931. After Gertrude died in Bacchus Marsh in 1978, he remarried and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Alf passed away on the 11 June 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States at 97 years of age.

If you are related to Alf and have some family stories and photo to share we would like to hear from you on our Facebook page. Help us celebrate our past community leaders.