Elizabeth Mary Legge's medal commemorating the 1937 coronation reunited with her family

Lost and found: Janet Pollock shows Vic Levi a photograph of her great aunt "Beth", whose King George VI coronation medal was found in a box donated to the Friends of the University Book Fair. Picture: Marina Neil
Lost and found: Janet Pollock shows Vic Levi a photograph of her great aunt "Beth", whose King George VI coronation medal was found in a box donated to the Friends of the University Book Fair. Picture: Marina Neil

THE recipient of a coronation medal found in a box of books bound for a university fair was a "feisty force" around her home town of Glen Innes.

When Elizabeth Mary Legge's "beautifully preserved" medal commemorating the 1937 coronation of King George VI was discovered in a box of donated books ahead of the 2019 Book Fair, the Newcastle Herald ran a story to try to reunite the "precious piece of history" with her family.

"I'll bet there is someone out there who will know something about it," Friends of the University member, Vic Levi, said last week.

"We'd love to know why and how she got it too. The mystery is quite absorbing, I think."

Janet Pollock, of Waratah, recognised her great aunt's name in the story.

On Monday, Mr Levi delivered the medal - and its accompanying letters from Buckingham Palace and the then NSW Premier, Sir Bertram Stevens, to Mrs Pollock.

"We called her Aunty Beth," Mrs Pollock said.

"She was my mother's mother's elder sister.

"It was the name that jumped out at me, and I remembered that she did get a medal. I'm also terrified to find if it was us that gave it away, as we had a huge number of books when we cleared out three households worth of things about two or three years ago - it was such a chaotic event. But I am pretty sure mum didn't have the medal."

Mrs Pollock said Elizabeth Mary Legge was born in 1883, and died in 1942.

She had been a feisty force about town. A trailblazer, particularly for women in country NSW.

"She was a single woman - never married, and the eldest of six," Mrs Pollock said.

"She was the first woman in Glen Innes to ride a motorcycle. She was also a JP - which was very unusual for women in those days.

"She was very well known.

"Apparently, when she died, they stood for a two minute silence on her passing. I think it was at a local council meeting."

Mrs Pollock suspects "Aunty Beth" had received the medal - one of about 6887 awarded to Australians - for her "enormous amount of community work".

"She lived her whole life in Glen Innes," she said.

"She was the secretary for the local parliamentarian, who would have been a Country Party chap."

Mrs Pollock said Miss Legge still has other descendants living in the Newcastle area.

Mr Levi said he was delighted to have been able to reunite the medal with Miss Legge's family.

"What a wonderful resolution to a fascinating story," he said. "Elizabeth must have been quite a woman."

The Friends of the University Book Fair will be held at the Great Hall from August 3 to 10 from 10am daily.