Dorothy Hollingsworth OAM

1931 Collegian | Deceased

Dorothy Hollingsworth OAM: front row, second from right

To generations of Australian school children, Dorothy Holllingsworth was "Miss Fleming" a warm and intimate voice on the radio, the pioneer presenter of the ABC series All Join In, later becoming Let's Join In, from 1953-1975.

The dance and drama skills that had earlier won Dorothy a scholarship to study in London were used to great effect in her broadcasts of stories, songs and folk dancing instruction.

Having trained and worked as a teacher, Dorothy had the gift of talking to her audience as if they were right in front of her.

"I had a creative imagination and could tell what was likely to be going wrong," she told The Australian Women's Weekly in 1989.

"The children thought I had a seeing eye!"

Dorothy herself, known to her family as "Doff" was educated at a tiny private school in Cottesloe where she was taught to dance by Perth ballet identity Linley Wilson.

At MLC she excelled at swimming, languages and acting, performing in two Shakespearean plays.

She was among the original intake of students at the new University of Western Australia.

After two years studying at the Ginner-Mawer School of Dance and Drama in London, a stint cut short by the war, Dorothy returned to Perth and in 1941 began dance classes for children and adults, married Norman Hollingsworth and raised three children.

While working as a teacher she was approached to do educational programmes on radio. For over 20 years she poured her energy and sparkle into the shows, earning a Medal of the Order of Australia for her Service to Education and the enduring affection of many older adults walking around today.