The young Cara Mallett, an orphan from a working class background in rural England, emigrated to the colony of NSW in the late Victorian era. She proved to be pioneer, establishing the first college in NSW to train women teachers. Her adventurous spirit met its match in a lifelong partnership with another émigré, T.W.Edgeworth David, a young mining surveyor. Settling in Sydney when Edgeworth David was appointed as Professor of Geology at Sydney University, the couple raised a family there while actively engaged with many aspects of Sydney’s cultural and political life.
Cara David’s staunch feminism was to see her rise to leadership in one of the first significant political campaigns by women, the temperance movement. Sharing her husband’s adventurous spirit, she accompanied him on a scientific expedition to a coral island and to geology camps in the Snowy Mountains. During the Great War, Cara ran a convalescent home for soldiers in the Blue Mountains and a ‘land army’ hostel in Scotland. After the war she played an influential role in the new Girl Guides movement.,
Cara’s two daughters grew up strongly influenced by this capable, warm-hearted and energetic woman, and both forged their own creative pathways. Margaret David became an independent politician and community activist before her tragic early death in a plane crash; Molly David became a respected author and environmentalist.