Celebrating the life of Rose Stone, Sisters in Crime’s oldest member

The life of Rose Stone, Sisters in Crime’s oldest member and one of its most long-standing, will be celebrated on Wednesday 14 November, 1.00 pm, at the Kadimah, the Jewish Cultural Centre & National Library, 7 Selwyn Street, Elsternwick, Melbourne. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Rose, 96, died peacefully on 23 October in a nursing home in Prahran in inner-city Melbourne. Until recently, she had been living at home nearby in Balaclava, cooking for herself and enjoying a very active social and cultural life.

Rose joined Sisters in Crime in the year it was founded – in 1991 – and until about seven years ago attended pretty much every event, mostly in one of her trade-mark hats. Recently, night events had become a bit difficult but she still came to early evening events at St Kilda Library and was a feature of the 2016 SheKilda Crime Convention where (once again!), she won the raffle! (Pictured left with Angela Savage.)

Rose arrived in Melbourne from Poland at the age of 16 in 1938, as a refugee from Nazism. The rest of the family were to follow but all perished in the Holocaust. She was an active and long-standing member of the Communist Party of Australia which she left in 1972 over the issue of women’s liberation. She became a prominent figure in the women’s movement in Melbourne.


After leaving her husband, Rose worked as a costumier for the Melbourne Theatre Company. After she retired, she continued to sew, making all her own clothes and making patchwork leather  bags for friends and family.

Over the past 15 years or so, Rose, who had arrived in Australia speaking no English, started writing and was usually one of the winners in the City of Port Phillip’s annual Seniors’ Writing Competition.

In 2005, her winning story wasabout how she escaped to St Kilda twice – once from the Hitler and later from her husband!

Rose took enormous pleasure in life – catching up with friends; going to Union of Australian Women events plays, concerts and the Shakespeare Society; playing Scrabble; reading crime and attending Sisters in Crime events. She was a passionate reader and love crime mixed with politics, particularly of the feminist/lefty kind.

She was outspoken on the issue of older women and sex, and was one of the women interviewed by former Sisters in Crime convenor, Renata Singer, for her book, Older and Bolder: Life After 60 (Melbourne University Press, 2015). They subsequently spoke on a panel about older women and sex at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. Rose wowed the audience.