AbstractEileen Marjory [Marjorie] Styles was born on the 30th March 1902 at Brocks Creek. After the death of her mother in 1910 Eileen moved to Darwin and attended a convent school with her sisters, Lily, Gertude and Ruby.
"She recalled the adventure of being a child in Darwin, of playing cowboys and Indians down at Fort Hill, and exploring Chinatown, then in the heart of Cavanagh Street. Eileen described it as the most fabulous place in the world, and the Chinese New Year celebrations as the most exciting time in a European child's life". (Chief Minister Clare Martin, Hansard, 2001)
In 1921, Eileen campaigned for Darwin citizens who had been sent to the Fannie Bay Gaol for refusing to pay taxes in the 'no taxation without representation' fight. This dispute did not abate until the citizens of Darwin received representation in Federal Parliament. Eileen also worked towards the election of Harold Nelson, the first Member for the Northern Territory in the Federal Parliament.
Eileen moved to Alice Springs in 1928 to work as a nursing sister at the 'Bungalow', a home for Aboriginal children. She was later transferred and promoted to Sister-In-Charge at Pine Creek Hospital.
Eileen married Harry Gribbons in Darwin in 1936, whom she affectionately referred to as her "wild Irishman", and three years later they moved to the Wauchope Wolfram Mining Fields. She was then asked to work at the Channel Island Leprosarium.
Harry Gribbons died in 1943 and two years later Eileen married famous Territory policeman, Tas Fitzer. They moved to Daly River where she became known as the "White Queen of the Daly". They later settled in Timber Creek near the Western Australian border. The Fitzers retired to Avalon in Sydney in 1955. After Tas died in 1966, Eileen returned to her beloved Territory.
In 1980, at the age of 78, she received an MBE for her services to nursing and the community. Eileen died on 27 August 2001 and was buried according to her wishes, at Pioneer Cemetery in Goyder Road, Darwin.
Source: Northern Territory dictionary of biography. Darwin: Charles Darwin University Press, 2008.NursePionee