Esther S. Gardom Scholarship

Esther Stuart Gardom (Naden)

Esther Gardom was born in Greenwood, British Columbia in 1900. Her father was English and her mother was of Scottish descent from Ontario. Esther grew up in Greenwood, Victoria and Prince Rupert. Her first school in 1906 was in Victoria and was under the direction of Alice Carr (Emily Carr's sister). Her next schooling was in Prince Rupert and was held in a tent. By 1912 she was ready for high school, and her class met in the Council Chamber at the City Hall.

She completed junior and senior matriculation at Victoria High School, and entered the University of British Columbia in 1919. In December of that year, she was awarded the University Women's Club Scholarship by the Victoria Club. She was the second recipient of the award, and it was made to her only after the Club determined after considerable discussion that the program leading to the Bachelor of Applied Science in Nursing was sufficiently academic! She enrolled with the first class in the nursing program, but her studies were interrupted for a year by the illness of her mother, so she graduated as a member of the second class.

After graduation, her first position was with the Cowichan Health Centre in Duncan, covering a territory that stretched from Shawnigan Lake to Chemainus and from Lake Cowichan to Genoa Bay. Their responsibilities included school nursing, maternity, well baby clinics, pre-school visiting and tuberculosis contacts - a serious concern in the '20s. After three years in Duncan, she moved to the Saanich Health Centre, where her responsibilities were much the same. These were the days of the Model T Ford and she drove one for many miles.

Esther married in 1934 and immediately lost her job -- married women were not permitted to work outside the home! She has three daughters, 12 grandchildren and four great grandsons.

Her mother was friendly with almost all of the charter members of the University Women's Club of Victoria, and they undoubtedly encouraged her mother in her desire for her daughter to earn a university degree.

Esther has been a member of the Victoria Club since 1955, and has been active in several interest groups.

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