Leading lady returns home

THE ashes of Camilla Yates will be scattered in a forest overlooking Old Tallangatta next month as a final farewell to an extraordinary woman.

Mrs Yates, 82, died in Melbourne on Sunday after a short illness.

Her husband, Bill Yates, who had been a colourful member of the Australia and British parliaments, died in April, 2010.

Camilla Virginia Dalrymple Tennant was born in Cambridge in 1930, a granddaughter of a prominent Sydney surgeon, Thomas Fiaschi, who headed an Australian army hospital at Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign.

She became Dr Yates’ second wife in 1957 while he was serving as a Conservative MP at Westminster, but saw him lose his seat in 1966.

In 1967 they migrated to Melbourne, where Dr Yates was elected Liberal MP for the federal seat of Holt eight years later.

For 14 years Mrs Yates worked as a personnel officer for the Philip Morris tobacco group but left when her husband was appointed administrator of Christmas Island in 1982.

A change of government in 1983 ended the island posting and Dr Yates got a job at Wodonga High School.

“We lived at the Anvil Gallery at Kergunyah and then at Baranduda before we bought this place (in Old Tallangatta) and I worked as a secretary at Aware Industries in Wodonga,” Mrs Yates had told The Border Mail in 2010.

The family restored a large 1880s home overlooking the Tallangatta Valley and became involved in the local community and in conservative politics.

For 25 years the couple hosted politicians, ambassadors and prominent overseas visitors.

Dr Yates, an Oxford graduate, obtained a PhD degree at 82 with the help of his wife, who typed all his notes.

Mrs Yates is survived by her four sons and 10 grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Brighton tomorrow at 10.30am.

On Saturday, February 2, a memorial service will be held at Christ Church, Tallangatta, after which the ashes will be scattered.

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