Mrs Marlene Cooper
Marlene was born on 6 February 1940, the second of seven children of Pastor and Mrs Herbert Rosenblatt. She lived in Chinchilla, Queensland, until she was two, when the family moved to Hamilton in Victoria. At age 13 she moved to Adelaide to board and study at Concordia College.
While doing a Teaching Diploma at Wattle Park Teachers College, she met a 25-year-old English migrant who had by then travelled all over Australasia and been a jack of all trades. Chris Cooper had worked in the Kimberleys, Alice Springs, Cooma and in Sydney as well as in Invercargill, New Zealand, and in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. They became engaged at the end of 1959, and spent the next two years corresponding while Marlene taught at Toowoomba College and at Yalata (Oak Valley) under the trees.
Chris and Marlene married in December 1961 and after a year in Dimboola, they travelled to Papua New Guinea to the Enga District where Chris had formerly worked as a Patrol Officer. He taught at a LCMS mission school for the next eight years, with a year of furlough in the US, while Marlene bore them three sons, Michael, Simon and Adam.
They returned to Australia in 1971 and taught at various schools for the next ten years. This included two years at the International School in Moshi, Tanzania. During this time, their youngest son, James, was born.
In 1982 Marlene was called to teach at Immanuel Primary School, Novar Gardens, and for the next eight years she taught in the area of Special Education, gifted children and children with learning disabilities. She was appointed in 1989 (and later called) to lecture at Lutheran Teachers College (LTC ) in North Adelaide. Marlene taught in the area of Education from 1990 until her retirement in mid-1999.
Malcolm Bartsch, a fellow lecturer at LTC, wrote in tribute to her:
For those who have had the privilege of working with Marlene, the word 'trailblazer' might not be the first to come to mind when thinking of her. Yet in many ways she has been just that during her ten years at Lutheran Teachers College and Luther Seminary. She was the first woman to be called as a lecturer to Lutheran Teachers College—called not because she was a woman but because she was the best person for the position. She was also the first to provide a framework for a Christian Studies curriculum for Australian Lutheran schools, and has been the liaison person between Luther Seminary and Flinders University, Adelaide, in developing the first Lutheran strand in an initial teacher education program at a state university. As the first director of the teaching ministry program at Luther Seminary, she has put in place the curriculum for the vocational preparation and spiritual development of teaching students.
Marlene and Chris continue to volunteer at the ALC Library—their enthusiasm and expertise is a gift to the college and much appreciated.
ALC positions held
- Lecturer, Lutheran Teachers College, 1990–1999
Qualifications in detail
- Associate in Music, Australia (1956)
- Diploma of Teaching (Wattle Park Teachers College)
- Graduate Diploma of Theology in Education
- Graduate Diploma of Education (Religious Education) (University of SA)
- Master of Education (Religious Education) (University of SA, 1994)
Papers and publications
’Meditation on Job 5:8–16.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 33, no. 2: 69–71.
‘Baptised into Christ: one in spirit and purpose: a study of Philippians 2:1–18.’ CTICR, Adelaide.
’I was a stranger and you welcomed me: exploring Godly hospitality and its implication for Christian education.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 30, no. 3: 120–30.
‘The partnership of non-Lutheran parents with the Lutheran school in the religious education of their children.’ MEd thesis, University of SA, Adelaide.