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National Museum of Australia

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Collection Explorer


Letter and envelope from Joan Richmond - Cairo


Letter and envelope from Joan Richmond - Cairo

Object information


Letter from Joan Richmond to her mother from Cairo. She writes of the trip from Jerusalem, across the Sinai, to Egypt.

Physical description

A handwritten two page double-sided letter and envelope. The letter is written on hotel letterhead paper, with a stylised R and T printed in the centre and "TERMINAL REST HOME / BASRA" on the right. This has been crossed out and written below is "Gresham House / Shari Sulieman Pasha / Cairo / Dec 22nd". The letter opens "My Darling Ma / Here we are in Cairo ...", and is signed from "Joan". The envelope has the letterhead "HOTEL FAST / JERUSALEM", is addressed to "Mrs John Richmond", and has been redirected. The envelope has an Egyptian stamp, and is postmarked on the back with "23 DEC 31 CAIRO, and on the front with "Toorak / 25 Ja 32".

Statement of significance

The Joan Richmond collection consists of items related to the motor racing career of Joan Richmond. These include a racing suit, goggles, a trophy, number plates, a personal journal, letters, photographs and newspaper clippings.

Joan Richmond (1905-1999) was a successful racing car driver at a time when women racing drivers were not only a rarity, but competed in the same events as men. Richmond's first major event was the 1931 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island in which she drove a Riley and placed a creditable fifth. Shortly after, Richmond and four friends embarked on an overland journey from Australia to Europe in order to compete in the Monte Carlo rally. This journey is credited as the first international overland tour to have originated from Australia. Following the group's successful completion of the rally, Victor Riley offerd to sponsor Richmond and in 1932, she supported the English racing car driver, Elsie Wisdom, to win the 1000 Mile Race at Brooklands. Throughout the 1930s, Richmond stayed in England and competed in more motor racing events, including several Monte Carlo rallies and the Le Mans 24 Hour race. She returned to Australia in the 1940s but was unable to continue her motor racing career due to a lack of money and sponsorship. Joan Richmond died in Melbourne in 1999.

Object information

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