Grace Mitchell, born 1916 grew up in Yarram, South Gippsland Victoria. She was the second eldest in a family of seven children. Grace was eight when her father died; leaving her mother to raise seven young children. The hardship this brought and the shift from
the peaceful country small farm saw many changes in her life. Grace moved to Creswick and later Ballarat. Among other creative pursuits Grace studied dressmaking, phycology and journalism at night school and worked by day to help provide for her family. At age 13 Grace was publishing her fine crocket patterns in ‘New Idea’ and having her writings published in magazines.
Grace’s life saw many careers including working as a matron at the Creswick School of Mines, dietician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Tailor and dressmaker in Eltham and her well known Pastry shop in Eltham. It was the move to Eltham over sixty years ago and the establishment of her famous pastry shop that Grace is most remembered for. Grace baked cakes and pies and made and decorated exquisite wedding cakes for Eltham and the visitors who would come to Eltham in the early days by train. When Grace was serving devonshire teas on weekends visitors would make her place a destination and the most famous of these included Sir Robert Helpmann and his guest Katherine Hepburn.
On retirement from the pastry business at the age of 67 Grace enrolled into RMIT (Phillip Institute then) and completed a Fine Art’s degree. Grace exchanged pastry and cake decorating for sculpting in clay and wood and printmaking.
She remained at Six Mount Pleasant Road until her death in April 2011. The property is now the place of Eltham South Fine Art: Studios and Gallery: built upon the legacy of Grace Mitchell.