MRS. L.G. RICHES WORKED TIRELESSLY & WITHOUT RECOGNITION FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA – IMPROVING THE LIFE OF FORMER POWS OF JAPAN, THEIR WIVES & FAMILIES
WX11046 Les RICHES m. Mary Smith (known as MOLLIE) BERLINER 1919 at Albany. Les had just returned from
WW1 and 20 years later enlisted WW2. Their daughter Helen arrived in 1920. The Riches family initially settled into farming at Mt. Barker.
Mollie Berliner was born 1896 Kurnalpi, WA Goldfields to parents Otto William Leonard Berliner and Henrietta ‘Helen’ Bette Smith who married Perth 1895. Otto and Helen Berliner moved to Kurnalpi where their two eldest children, Mollie and her brother William Henry Berliner were born. The Berliner family resided in the Goldfields for several years before moving to Albany. (Another daughter, Jessica was born in Albany). At Kurnalpi, Otto was Mining Registrar. He was a music teacher and shared his interest and musical skills with the local community.
The Berliner family moved to Albany about 1904 where Otto was Principal of Church of England Grammar School, assisted by his wife Helen.
In about the early 1930’s, the Riches left Mt. Barker and decided to try their luck at the Goldfields.
Mollie and Helen were residing at Carnage, a very small town in the Goldfields while Les was mining. One cannot imagine what life was like for Mollie residing at Carnage. History was repeating itself – Mollie’s mother had lived in remote Kurnalpi with two very young children in 1897-2004.
In 1950, the riches announced that due to the ill health of Mrs. L.G. Riches, they were relocating to Melbourne, where their only daughter Helen was residing with her husband.
The following are just a few newspaper headlines, please be mindful the POWs arrived back in Australia at a time when world and Australia was over the war – there was little in the news about POWs and even less recognition:
Mollie Riches, always known as Mrs. L.G. Riches had been active during the war as the Honorary Organiser of POW Relatives Association.
THE BERLINER FAMILY
Otto Berliner was born Melbourne, the first child/son on June 1870 to parents Otto Waldenmar Berliner and Sarah Snell who married 1866 Victoria. Otto W Berliner became a well known private detective in Victoria before his death in Sept 1894 Melbourne.
We have no record of when Otto W.L. Berliner arrived in Western Australia. His widowed mother Sarah Berliner moved to live in Albany probably because her son Otto and wife Helen were living there. Sarah died at Albany in May 1921. She had been widowed 27 years.
In Sep 1947 Mollie’s mother Helen Bete died in South Perth and her father Otto died at Victoria Park in 1952.
Above: The death notice in Prussia of Fredericka Berliner – mother of Otto Waldenmar Berliner.