Elva (Thorpe) Shipton 

Photo courtesy of Adventist Heritage Centre, Australia.

Shipton, Elva Eunice (Thorpe) (1905–1999)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

The lengthy Church career of Elva Eunice Thorpe includes teaching and administrative work at the Australasian Missionary College.

Elva Eunice Thorpe was born at the Sydney Sanitarium on June 24, 1905, to Ethelbert and Lydia “Lily” Mercy (Williams) Thorpe.1 Her parents were missionary nurses in Java and Tonga where Elva spent her childhood.2 For health reasons her parents took a break from mission service and managed the retail store on the campus of the Australasian Missionary College (AMC), Cooranbong, New South Wales. This was convenient for Elva to complete her academy education and advance to the Missionary Course. She graduated in the class of 1922.3

Church Career

Immediately after graduation Elva sailed to Tonga with her parents.4 They gave a further two years of service, 1923 and 1924, Elva teaching teenagers in a newly established mission school.5 During this time she also translated Steps to Christ into the Tongan language.6

Following her teaching experience in Tonga Elva was appointed as secretary to Elder Sydney Stratford in the Missionary Volunteer Department of the Australasian Union Conference (AUC) office, Wahroonga, New South Wales. In order to qualify as a specialist teacher of business subjects she earned the Pitman’s Certified Teacher (P.C.T.) and the Fellow of the Commercial Education Society (F.C.E.S.). Her many years as a business teacher began at New Zealand Missionary College (NZMC) for the year 1934.7 Elva transferred from the NZMC to a similar role at the West Australian Missionary College (WAMC) for the 1935 school year.8 For five years she taught business subjects at WAMC9 and then, in 1940, returned to the secretarial staff at the AUC office in Wahroonga. It was only a twelve-month term before a move to similar work in the AMC office at Cooranbong.10 Once again her time in office work was relatively brief before she was appointed to the responsibility of leadership in the Commercial Department at AMC.11 This move from the office to the classroom heralded twenty-seven years of teaching shorthand and typing to hundreds of students at the senior level, graduates who would take their place in church offices throughout Australasia. The influence and contribution of these individuals would extend far and wide for many years. Elva retired in 1967.12

Retirement

During her retirement Elva married recently widowed Albert John Shipton, former engineering superintendent at the Sanitarium Health Food Company factory, Cooranbong. After the service on November 30, 1978 they settled at Sunshine, a village on the shores of Lake Macquarie near Cooranbong.13 Albert passed away in September 1995. Elva passed away in the Bethshan Aged Care Facility at nearby Wyee on October 23, 1999,14 and rests alongside Albert in the Avondale Memorial Cemetery on the campus of AMC.15

Sources

Australasian Missionary College Annual Announcement. Cooranbong, New South Wales: Avondale Press, 1946.

Blanch, David and Percy Holmes. “Elva Eunice Shipton.” Record, December 18, 1999.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, September 17, 1934.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, September 30, 1940.

District of St Leonards. Birth Certificates. Government of New South Wales Office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Sydney, New South Wales.

“Elva Eunice Shipton.” Find A Grave Memorial.com. 2020. Retrieved from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/209278338/elva-eunice-shipton.

Hefren, A[rchibald] L. “Shipton-Thorpe.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, January 29, 1979.

“Outward Bound.” Australasian Record, December 11, 1922.

Piper, A[lbert] H. “Recent Committee Actions.” Australasian Record, January 1, 1934.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1934-1968.

Smith, R[obert] W. “Tonga.” Australasian Record, September 27, 1926.

Thorpe, Elva E. “The Adventist Training School of Tonga.” Australasian Record, August 25, 1924.

Thorpe, Lily M. “In the South Seas.” Australasian Record, January 14, 1918.

Notes

  1. District of St Leonards, Birth certificate no. 27689 (1905), Government of New South Wales Office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, Sydney, New South Wales.

  2. E.g., Lily M. Thorpe, “In the South Seas,” Australasian Record, January 14, 1918, 3.

  3. Australasian Missionary College Annual Announcement (Cooranbong, New South Wales: Avondale Press, 1946), 44.

  4. “Outward Bound,” Australasian Record, December 11, 1922, 8.

  5. Elva E. Thorpe, “The Adventist Training School of Tonga,” Australasian Record, August 25, 1924, 4.

  6. R[obert] W. Smith, “Tonga,” Australasian Record, September 27, 1926, 10.

  7. A[lbert] H. Piper, “Recent Committee Actions,” Australasian Record, January 1, 1934, 8.

  8. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, September 17, 1934, 3-5.

  9. E.g., “West Australian Missionary College,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1939), 285.

  10. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, September 30, 1940, 7.

  11. E.g., “Australasian Missionary College,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1942), 200.

  12. “Avondale College,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1968), 284-285.

  13. A[rchibald] L. Hefren, “Shipton-Thorpe,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, January 29, 1979, 15.

  14. David Blanch and Percy Holmes, “Elva Eunice Shipton,” Record, December 18, 1999, 14.

  15. “Elva Eunice Shipton,” Find A Grave Memorial.com. 2020, accessed May 22, 2020, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/209278338/elva-eunice-shipton.

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Hook, Milton. "Shipton, Elva Eunice (Thorpe) (1905–1999)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed January 27, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7IGA.

Hook, Milton. "Shipton, Elva Eunice (Thorpe) (1905–1999)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access January 27, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7IGA.

Hook, Milton (2021, April 28). Shipton, Elva Eunice (Thorpe) (1905–1999). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 27, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7IGA.