This biography is based on an interview with Enny Waal-Manning in 2021 for the Early Medical Women of New Zealand Project. The interviewers were Cindy Farquhar and Michaela Selway.
Growing Up in Java
Hendrika (Enny) Waal was born in 1932 in Bandung, Java (now known as Indonesia). The town was primarily filled with Dutch immigrants and Indonesians who lived either in the native village or servants’ quarters. They lived in “a really colonial sort of household.” They had six servants, so the parents did not do much of the housework. Instead, both her mother and father had full-time jobs. Enny’s father was an importer and exporter, and her mother was the headmistress at the local school. Enny also had a sister who was nine years younger than her.
Enny had quite a normal childhood until 1939, when the Japanese invaded Indonesia during World War Two. Life changed quite drastically. “I do remember the Japanese coming at the beginning of the road with their swords drawn.” The men were separated from the women and children and taken to separate camps. The two camps were separated by barbed wire, which divided the town of Bandung. “We were allocated, each family was allocated, one room of a house.” They were given enough food to survive but it was never a lot. “What I remember most vividly is that one day there was a search and of course, radios were forbidden, but we had a radio in the ceiling. And my mother sat my sister, who’s nine years younger than I am, on top of the radio hidden under a mattress in a pram and told me to go and take her around the block. It was a hard life in the prison camp.”
It was during their time in this Prisoner of War (POW) camp (when she was around 10 years old) that Enny decided to become a doctor. Every day they watched coffins being carried out of the hospital (which was a building adapted to house the sick people from the camp) to be buried outside of the town. “It was a very naive thinking I think. It was just a constant procession of coffins. And a naive thinking that, “Oh doctors can do something about that”.”
Enny, her mother and her sister lived in the camp for one year before they were taken to a prison, where all three were put in a one-person cell. Because her mother was a teacher, she would give the girls daily lessons. Though they had limited supplies, they made it work: “And we rubbed out what we did during the day and then started again the next day … We had to rub out what we had done in order to maintain the supply.” They remained in this cell from 1940 to 1946, when they were released due to the end of the war. An announcement was sent via a plane; pieces of paper were dropped from the sky with phrases like “You’re free” and “We have freed you”.
After they were released from the prison, Enny, her mother, and her sister reconnected with her father. Throughout the seven years separated from him, they had no way of knowing if he was still alive. “My mother and my father had agreed that they would meet at the parental home after the war. And so we did. And dug up our silver out of the garden and all that sort of thing.” Despite the war concluding, the Waal family was not yet out of danger. Over the five years of their occupation in Indonesia, the Japanese encouraged the Indonesians to insurrect against the governing body: the Dutch. Thus, at the end of the war, the Indonesians declared independence and ended up fighting against the Dutch.
Enny remembers there was a Kampong (native settlement) near their town and not long after they had been released, a few insurrectors came and murdered several Dutch people in Bandung. “My parents decided that we couldn’t stay. And we were offered New Zealand or Australia or Canada. The first ship was departing to New Zealand so that’s where we went.”
New Beginnings in New Zealand
When the Waal family landed in New Zealand late in 1946, they were directed to the Miramar Transit Camp in Wellington to have their medicals done. There was a large adjustment period for all of them. Her mother had to learn new skills to help around the house now that they did not have any housekeepers and none of them could speak English. “I couldn’t speak the lingo. And the first three years, I was just living in a mist and not really quite sure where I was or what I was doing.” Her father also had some chronic health issues that had developed while he was in the POW camp.
The family was placed in the summer home of a watchmaker (Mr Watt) before they were able to find their own place to live. Her father started out as a street photographer but then obtained a position at the Netherlands Legation, working his way up the ranks over the years until he became a Diplomat. Enny was sent to Wellington East Girls’ College, where the Headmistress (Miss Isaac) was quite old fashioned. She believed that the best way for the migrants to settle into life in New Zealand was to separate them all. Each migrant child was placed in a different classroom so that they were forced to meet New Zealanders and learn to speak English. What this meant, though, was that Enny did not meet anyone else who had experienced anything similar to what she had endured during the last seven years. Consequently, their life in Indonesia was behind the Waal family and they never spoke about it again. They were merely grateful to have been given a second chance.
Though she could not speak English, by attending school, Enny slowly picked it up and the “mist” started to clear in fifth form. She sat her school certificate and passed enough to get into sixth form. From there, her grades only improved. They did not teach Physics at Wellington East Girls’ but her grades from her other subjects were enough to get her into Medical Intermediate at Victoria University College.
Diving into Medical Intermediate and Medical School
Enny entered Medical Intermediate the year after she finished High School (1951). These years saw increased numbers of students due to the returning servicemen, many of whom were hoping to enter a medical degree. Enny remembers this year was intensive and she spent much of it “heads down”. Despite the challenges, Enny scored high enough grades to get into Medical School to start the following year. Her first thought upon hearing the news was “Get on with the job”, but she was surprised and quietly pleased to have been offered a spot. She also received a small scholarship and a bursary to help with her fees and living costs. During the summer holidays she worked as a child-minder to earn extra money. She was not paid well, “but, at that time, any money was pretty welcome.”
At the beginning of 1952, Enny caught the ferry, presumably to Lyttleton, and then took a train to Dunedin. She had been in Dunedin for five days and was happily settling into St Margaret’s College when the baron came to her room and told her that her father had passed away suddenly. She instantly returned to Wellington to support her mother and sister. Her father had been having an esophagoscopy to determine why he had been vomiting so much (this was linked to his health issues that originated in the POW camp). During the procedure, the catheter passed through the wall of the esophagus and the contents went into his lungs. He developed pneumonia and died not long after.
Despite dying of a medical misadventure, the Waal family was offered no support. Moreover, he had died without a will and so the Public Trust stepped in to settle everything. Unfortunately, this meant that it took months for everything to be sorted. Her mother had to return to work and found a position in Child Welfare, which she qualified for due to her Headmistress and Red Cross certificates. Enny was only in Wellington for a short while before returning to Dunedin to begin her studies. Unfortunately, she missed the first two weeks of class and so had to “dive right in”.
As she had not been to Dunedin before university, she bought a bike so that she could easily get around and sightsee. This was how she spent much of her leisure time: biking, walking, or visiting the museum or art gallery. She did not attend parties or go away on holidays to the ski fields or surrounding towns. She also joined a Presbyterian group in Dunedin where she met many kind and supportive people. This was where she received the majority of her pastoral care following her father’s passing.
There were about nine women in Enny’s class, and one of them got married in third year and dropped out. She believes that there was an impression that if you got married, you dropped out. At one point, fellow student Simme Alterman (nee Coggin) asked Enny to tutor her in anatomy.
The classes she remembers most were the anatomy labs, which were run by Professor Adams. “I remember that the smell was really disgusting.” She also remembers one Professor who threw bits of chalk at the students. She thinks it was supposed to be humorous but many of the students did not find it funny. She does not remember there being any female professors, though there was a lady in the anatomy department who would help the students with their slides. She often felt like she learnt more from her books than she did from her lecturers.
Enny was quite smart and passed all of her classes without needing to sit any “specials”. She chose to sit at the front of the lecture theatres and, in fact, many of the other women chose to as well; it was not enforced. The male students were generally nice to the women students.
In fifth year, they did a public health project; hers was on the health camps and it lasted for one Christmas holiday break: “The health camp is for those youngsters who have been deprived of fresh air and exercise and good nutrition. And didn’t really get to know the people well enough to compare their different backgrounds.”
Enny spent her first two years in Dunedin at St Margaret’s, and then moved to Huntly House at the back of St Margaret’s for the rest of her university years. She returned to Wellington in the term holidays to visit her mother and in her final year, she opted to have her placement in Wellington. She lived at home for the entirety of that year.
Nearing the end of her degree, Enny knew that she wanted to specialise, but not in which field. All that she knew was that she did not want to specialise in Obstetrics: ““It was really only because I had a strep throat when we were doing the Queen Mary fortnight. So I always had to stand at the door and watch.” There was no rush to decide, however, and Enny graduated in 1957 alongside ten other women. Her mother came down for her graduation and they both attended the graduation ball.
Meeting Jolyon & Specialising in Pharmacology
Following her graduation, Enny obtained a House Surgeon position at Dunedin Hospital in general medicine. She lived in the House Surgeon quarters near the hospital. She enjoyed the work but she worked long hours and was expected to always be available for her patients. At one point, she requested to do a geology paper at the University that was run in the evenings, after her shift was finished. “Well, I was called to the superintendent’s office because I wanted to do Geology Stage One … And I was told that even though it was after 5 o’clock – the lectures – I couldn’t because I should always be available for my patients.” She did not end up getting the opportunity to study geology until she retired.
During her house surgeon years, Enny remained a member of the Christian Missions Society (CMS), which she had joined during her time at university. A year after graduation, she went on a weekend camp organized by the CMS to St Martin Island (now called Quarantine Island). She was digging the potatoes for dinner one evening when she met a man named Jolyon Manning. He was working as an accountant in Dunedin and they got on very well. He invited her to a String Quartet performance at the town hall in Dunedin, which was quite an affair. “Well, Jolyon used to have young people. He would cook for them. And he would play them some music. And then he would do the same for me.” The couple fell in love and married in 1958 at Old St Paul’s in Wellington.
Enny soon decided what she wanted to specialize in: Pharmacology. She returned to the University of Otago to do an extra year in Pharmacology under Fred Fastier and Gary Blackman, who had “founded the School of Pharmacy next door to the medical school.” Her studies were largely focused on Amines, which “causes respiratory and cardiovascular reflex in cats. And we had very primitive instruments in those days like a smoke drum.”
“Well, I did my two years of apprenticeship, you might say and after those two years, I became a Medical Research Officer, as it is called, in the high blood pressure hypertension clinic of Sir Horace Smirk. And what it was, was that Sir Horace Smirk had been a Professor of Medicine in Egypt. And there he had developed a hypertensive strain of rats that all became hypertensive. And he brought those over with him. And at the time that I graduated, there was a tremendous controversy of whether lowering blood pressure did any good. And he, Sir Horace, showed in his rats that their life expectancy was two years, but if you brought their blood pressure down, it was much longer. So he managed to get permission to try it on human beings. So, his clinic was for hypertensive patients only and they got injections of hexamethonium. Because we didn’t have all those pills that they have now.”
Enny dedicated her career to this clinic, researching under Sir Horace Smirk on the effects of lowering blood pressure in humans. She published over 50 papers (including the prestigious journals of the Lancet and Circulation). They largely focused on Beta-Blockers and various treatments for hypertension. However, one article published in the April, 1973 issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal was entitled “Women in medicine in New Zealand” which she co-authored with two of her Otago colleagues Ngaire Margaret McKerrow (nee Walsh), class of 1956 and Barbara Farnsworth Cupit (nee Heslop), class of 1948. Because her primary role at this clinic was research, Enny decided to enrol in a Doctor of Medicine (MD) by Thesis alone, which she completed in 1972. Her topic was on Beta-Blockers and because she was working full-time, as well as raising a family, she mainly only had time for it “in the smaller hours of the morning.”
She also completed a short course run by Family Planning that taught contraception. “In my early years as a house surgeon, I saw a very tragic case of miscarriage. Induced of course. Not in a hospital but outside the hospital … (an illegal abortion) … And the woman died. So when at the hypertension clinic we had the contraceptive – that was only by diaphragms in those days – news of the family planning movement that was just starting those days and the contraceptive pill came around. So they needed a doctor to prescribe it. So I said, “Yes, please.” Because at that stage there was also the occasional patient, young girl, who when they were started on the contraceptive pill would have a rise in blood pressure and I would like to see what [was happening].” After completing the course, she ran a Family Planning Clinic Session every Friday evening.
Throughout her career at the clinic, Enny had three children. She worked through all her pregnancies and because there was no such thing as maternity leave at this point, she used her annual leave to have a few weeks off after each baby was born. When the babies were about ten days old, she would bring them in the carrycot to the clinic, “where there was one of the cleaners who seemed especially fond of looking after children.” Enny felt that at that time it was not very normal for women to work outside the home. But she did not have any doubts about her choice to work: “No, I didn’t at that time. I had benefited from the education that New Zealand had given me, so it was up to me to repay to the best of my ability.” The one downfall of this was that, because she was a working mother, she was not at home as much as she would have liked to have been. This meant that she was not there for her children growing up as much as she felt she should have been. However, she felt indebted to New Zealand for giving her a new life, which was why she continued working. She is very proud of her children, who have all gone on to have successful careers. Her daughter Marina is a piano tutor in Christchurch, her first son Christopher is a General Practitioner in Adelaide (“I think he is a good doctor. He is not one of these, you know, shove them out the door as quickly as you can”) and her youngest son William is a Software Architect in Atlanta.
Retraining in General Practice & Permanently Moving To Alexandra
Enny worked at this clinic until 1992 when the clinic was shut down and she was made redundant. The clinic was shut down by the government who was hoping to centralize everything in GP clinics. She was called up one day and told, “You won’t have a job in a fortnight’s time.” Unfortunately, Jolyon had also been made redundant a few years prior and, despite applying to many different companies, was struggling to find employment anywhere. Every time he went for an interview, he was told that he was too qualified to be employed.
Enny retrained in General Practice so that she could continue to work and support her family. From her redundancy until 2004 when she retired, Enny conducted various locums in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, and Alexandra. This inspired the Manning’s to finally move to Alexandra, where they had bought a plot of land early in their marriage.
“Well, we sort of thought about having a place in Central Otago to escape to. And we bought two sections, this section and that one there. They were advertised and Jolyon approached a lawyer here, and he said, “Now, you wait till wintertime and I’ll make them an offer.” And he did, so we got it a lot less than it was advertised for in the first place. I loved it because it has these rocks.”
For the past few decades, they have slowly been planting out the sections with many different varieties of trees. At first, it was just Jolyon and Enny, so they would drive to Alexandra and pitch a tent. Then, when they had kids, they pitched a bigger tent and set up a play-pen. “We, of course, came at the weekends. And then we would have to collect our trees from the railway station and transport them here. And you had all sorts of parcels.”
After Jolyon retired, he spent more time establishing these sections as a park, which he named Jolendale Park. He worked on the tracks, seats, signs, and the pond, and started walking tours for visitors to the area. “And we had a lot of people working out here– there would be groups of people that would come round, and he would take them round and give them a spiel on the trees, on the geography, on the geology, and all there is to it.” In 2011, they started the process of putting the park into a Trust so that it would be well looked after when they could no longer keep up with the maintenance. This Trust installed the drought and fire protection schemes as well. Jolendale Park was gifted to the people of New Zealand and protected from development by a QEII covenant. It is open to the public.
Enny lived at her home in the park until she died in June 2022. At the time of her death she was studying an online course in Epigenetics.