Una Mary Edith Cato

#302, b. 21 February 1879, d. 1951

Individual's Timeline

Birth21 February 1879Una Mary Edith Cato1
Death of Father2 January 1916Samuel Joseph Cato2
Death of Mother1 March 1917Mary Coleman3
Death1951Una Mary Edith Cato4

Primary events

Some aspects of Una Mary Edith Cato's life. Edna Walling Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.

Edna, a very well know landscape garden designer 'to the stars of Melbourne society' sketched out plans for the development of "Lazy Acres', in Olinda for Una. Una was unmarried, styled as 'Miss'


In 1937 Una had a trip of 9 months to Europe, and there is a story in the Argus of her impressions of the German people -


Miss Una Cato's Vivid Impressions

After nine month's holiday abroad, from which she returned just before the new New Year, Miss Una B Cato has brought back some interesting impressions of the situation in Europe and in the United Stales.

Miss Cato's impressions have a special value because she stayed always with friends in the countries she visited and was in a position to form her opinions from inside observation rather than from the necessarily superficial observations of the tourist who lives in hotels

She is an experienced traveller, although this was only her second visit to Europe she has been four times to England and eight times to the United States

Among her friends in Germany who belonged to the professional class and were highly intellectual people with a deeply religious background Miss Cato found the same almost fanatical regard for Hitler as the saviour of their country as is to be found among nearly all classes. Except perhaps the wealthier section of the population which resents the fact that it has to submit to the same discipline in its private and business life as all other classes

A Picture of Germany

“My friends definitely feel” said Miss Cato “Herr Hitler was sent straight from God to save the German people. When I argued with them on points which British people find It difficult if not impossible to agree they had always an answer based on deep conviction of its truth. They told me of the terrible privations which they, their friends and the poorer classes suffered after the war. They told me that rarely a week went by when they did not hear of a suicide or some other tragedy among their circle of friends, of beggars who came to their doors to beg for food and were too weak to stand up or go away. They spoke of the terrible Inferiority complex which tainted the entire people as a result of the Versailles Treaty. It was, the grimmest picture they drew for me.

And then Adolf Hitler came. In Í0 years he had reduced unemployment from 8,500,000 to 1,000,000, and the only people now without work are aged more than 65 years, and are being cared for. No one now goes begging or seeking work. And although we, as a free people, may criticise the conscription of youth into the labour camps and military training, this policy has meant that from the time the youths leave school there is no more of that terrible hiatus, during which it is so easy for unemployed youth to become depressed and feel that there is no place for it in the world. From the training camps the boys go straight Into employment or to the university, as they wish, and It is the responsibility of the officers In charge of the camps to find out for what walk In life the lads are most suited, to endeavour to avoid the tragedy of the square peg in the round hole. Which all makes it easy to understand why the people feel Herr Hitler has given them back their self-respect and a reason for living.

Disciplined Nation

"It is only by living among the German people," Miss Cato added, "that one realises the essential difference between the temperament and the outlook of a democratic people like our own and a people whose existence, for generations back, has been disciplined and regimented in a way that may seem Incredible to us. The German people arc accustomed to being told what to do. That Is why they have fitted so easily into Hitler's regime. Although It may seem obvious to the foreigner Herr Hitler is not, in any sense, the supreme power that Mussolini Is In Italy, that he has not a completely free hand, to his people he Is the dictator, the supreme figurehead whose every command they are prepared to obey."


Una had a long friendship with Dr Anita MUHL, an American criminologist and Psychiarist. Una (who obviously did not lack funds), offered the University of Melbourne a 'lectureship by Dr Muhl, if they could offer suitable opportunities for her special gifts'. See exhibit for the full story as ptinted in the Argus 1938.

The Encyclopedia of Australian Science says Anita Mühl was an American psychiatrist who specialised in children's problems. She was a fellow of the American College of Physicians. In the late 1930s Mühl visited Australia, returning to America in 1942.

In 1930 Anita published a book on 'Automatic Writing". The blurb is - The author attempts to answer the following questions: what is automatic writing; what makes a person do it; do you have to be queer to do it; is it a spirit phenomena; could I find something in me I did not know existed; can everybody do it; are there any mental or organic mechanisms we must consider; are there any advantages or disadvantages to doing automatic writing; are there any other forms of automatic activity. Many examples of automatic writing and drawings.

Anita's short biographical entry is also attached as a PDF exhibit. It confirms that she did get the lectureship from the University of Melbourne.

Voter Enrolements


  1. Digger - Tas BMD Digger databases on CD, Surname: CATO
    Given Names: UNA MARY EDITH
    Event: Birth
    Father/Spouse Surname: SAMUEL JOSEPH
    Mother/Spouse Given Names: COLEMAN MARY
    Day: 21
    Month: 2
    Year: 1879
    Sex: F
    Spouse Age:
    Spouse Sex:
    Registration Place: HOBART
    Registration Number: 669/1879
    Reference: RGD 33.
  2. Digger - Tas BMD Digger databases on CD, Surname: CATO
    Given Names: Samuel Joseph
    Event: D
    Father/Spouse Surname:
    Mother/Spouse Given Names:
    Date: 1916-01-02
    Sex: M
    Place: CYGNET
    Registration Year: 1916
    Registration Number: 1074.
  3. Trove - Australian Newspapers on line, online http://trove.nla.gov.au
  4. Digger - Vic BMD Digger databases on CD, 1951/17262.
  5. Australian Voter Rolls 1901 - 1936, online http://search.ancestry.com.au