Thelma was born in Shanghai in 1928, where she spent many of her early years. Her parents moved to Canley Vale and had a shop in
I grew up in Shanghai with my parents … and the first home I can remember was in Potting Road – which was not very far from the gaol. My father was a police officer at the Shanghai gaol, which was the largest – supposed to be – in the world, with the input of 6,000 prisoners – I can remember that so I'm telling you while I think of it. Now, we didn't live very, very far from the gaol. We had a very nice English type home – there were a row of homes like they used to build in England – which accommodated the different officers and men along there.