Caroline Ethel Cooper (1871-1961) was something of an eccentric – for starters, she had a pet crocodile called Cheops which she kept in her apartment, and lived a very independent lifestyle. A proficient musician, she formed her own Women’s Orchestra in Adelaide before the outbreak of the war.
A regular visitor to Germany, she was living in Leipzig when the war broke out. She remained in Germany for the duration of the war, writing a letter each week to her sister Emmie in Adelaide. Although these letters could not be posted during the war, the first 52 were smuggled to Switzerland and posted from Interlaken and the remainder were hidden and sent from England in 1918.
Although her premises were often raided by police and she was forbidden from leaving several times during the war, she was not detained and had a pass that stated her presence was ‘agreeable to the military authorities’.
She returned to Adelaide for a few years after the war, but returned to Europe where she participated in relief work. She settled in Adelaide in 1936, with her then-widowed sister.