Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:40 AM
Incinerator Kate is mentioned on Wanliss (P.182) with two lines on her character.
In Jacka's Mob (P.83 of the third edition) she is very well described.
"In this village (RIbemont) there lived a queer old soul who answered to the name of Incinerator Kate. She derived this name from the fact that she was constantly in attendance at the camp incinerator, accompanied by a wheelbarrow; she was seldom without the wheelbarrow. Her wearing apparel consisted of a shawl pulled down tightly over her head and tied under her chin; a jacket, also fitting tightly and held in position at the waist by a piece of string; and a skirt which jutted out like that of a ballet mistress. As she waddled along in her wooden clogs, pushing her barrow before, this canopy of cloth wobbled about, up and down and every way, in time with her movements. Naturally, she came in for a lot of banter from the boys, but she could always hold her won when it came to back chat. On this particular afternoon (a sports day) several of us were standing yarning with Bert Jacka when we saw the crowd split in two, and Incinerator Kate come flying through it. On her heels came another woman dressed in a similar manner. The only difference was that the woman in front trundled a wheelbarrow, and the woman behind carried a piece of firewood. Faster and faster went the wheelbarrow, but the firewood gained steadily on it. Who was who, we could not guess, until the driver of the barrow suddenly tripped and went headlong, clothes well up to the waist, revealing a pair of khaki breeches. Then the billet of wood came into its own." Edgar Rule
In a less well known book, "Playing Your Part - the diary of William Devereaux, D Coy 14th Battalion AIF" (P. 75) she is described as…
"She was a little old woman half dotty, very stout, old clothes falling off her, a face as ugly and red as a turkey cock, about five inches of hair which she always tied in a ball on the top of her head. Her boots were old ones worn by the soldiers at one time or another. She made her living poking around the soldiers camps collecting old socks, bottles etc. She alway attended the sports and football matches we held. It used to be great fun for someone to pretend to chase her. She would tuck up her old skirt around her knees and run for her life. She used to wave to all the officers when they were marching past with the men." William Devereaux