Maida Coaldrake is an ASCM Senior Friend who was born in 1919 and died on 31 January 2010.
Maida undertook tertiary study in Tasmania at a when it was unusual for women to pursue an academic career.
She was one of only five full-time female students at the University of Tasmania in 1937 and was editor of the University of Tasmania’s Togatus. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, she moved to Melbourne to research her masters thesis on Tasmania’s role in the constitutional movement.
After her marriage in 1949, Maida lived in Japan for seven years where her husband was working as an Anglican missionary priest in Yokohama. Since returning to Australia in 1956, she played a leading role in Japanese studies. She took up a position as senior tutor in history at Sydney University and at the same time established the University’s first Japanese language and history course.
Maida was awarded one of the highest honours conferred by Japan. On 5 December 1997, she received the Order of the Precious Crown (Wistaria level) by His Majesty Emperor Akihito for her contribution to the promotion of the studies of Japanese history and language. The order of the Precious Crown is the equivalent of a British knighthood and it is rare for a foreigner to be honoured in this way.