Obituaries Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: use double quotes to search for a phrase
  • Tip: lists of awards, schools, organisations etc

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Bondi Mary (1870–1941)

from Sun

For more than 25 years a familiar figure on Bondi Beach, an 80-year-old woman was found dead early to-day in a summer house at the beach.

To thousands of beachgoers she was known as "Bondi Mary." Her real name was Helen Packer — but that is about all that is known of her.

From dawn to dusk, winter and summer, she pottered about the beach and park, begging tit-bits of food from picnickers, tradesmen, or anyone she might meet.

An old felt hat, pulled well down over her head, anything from three to six old overcoats, and a pair of holed sandshoes comprised her wardrobe, and across her shoulders she always carried, strung together with rope, two sugar-bags.

She had no fixed living place. In fine weather she usually slept in one of the many summer-houses at the beach. In winter her home was a small, secluded cave near "The Boot." between Bondi and Tamarama. She rarely spoke, except to beg for food.

Many and varied are stories told of "Bondi Mary."

Police are investigating information that she was the mother of three sons who were killed in the 1914-18 war. This, it is said, was why she invariably wore old military overcoats.

Another story was that her father was an English nobleman, but none of the stories has been substantiated.

About 4.30 a.m. to-day Constable Perrin found her huddled in the corner of a summer-house. He called Eastern Suburbs Ambulance, but "Bondi Mary" had died in her sleep.

Any person who can supply information about her, or any of her relatives, is asked to communicate with Bondi police.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Bondi Mary

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Bondi Mary (1870–1941)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Packer, Helen
  • Peterson, Bridget Ellen
  • Madame Pacquer

Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia


22 November, 1941 (aged ~ 71)
Bondi, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Places
Social Issues