A short history by Good Samaritan Business College
Here is some history on Dacomb shorthand: it is probably not well known that it was invented by two Melbourne sisters as an alternative to the more complicated Pitmans.
Sr.Magdalen, who taught at Good Samaritan Business College, could do both Dacomb and Pitmans which is some kind of neurological feat, as many of the symbols are the mirror image of each other. I don’t know that anyone else could have done that.
The Dacomb sisters had a college in Block Arcade in Melbourne and established another one in Geelong. They both died in the mid-1940s. Below is an excerpt from the Australian Dictionary of Biography and a link to more information:
“Beatrice Eliza Dacomb (1863-1947) and Clara Thurston Dacomb (1867-1946), co-inventors of Dacomb shorthand, were born in Portland, Victoria, sixth and eighth children of Edmund Dacomb, merchant, and his wife Eliza, née Evans, both English born.
Beatrice matriculated with honours, taught at Kilmore Ladies’ College, obtained registration as a teacher of shorthand in 1914 and practised privately. Educated at Holstein House Ladies’ College, South Yarra, Clara matriculated with honours in 1886 and gained a Pitman shorthand diploma.
In 1899-1914 she worked as a matriculation coach and commercial teacher at Methodist Ladies’ College, Lilydale High School and various secretarial colleges before becoming in 1914 proprietor of the School of Shorthand, Block Arcade, Melbourne.”
Good Samaritan Business College is a Facebook page for past students of Good Samaritan Business College in the grounds of St. Brigid’s, North Fitzroy, taught by Sister Mary Magdalen in 50s-60s.
Wendy Sestokas I learnt Dacomb Shorthand at Yallourn High School in about 1967-69 and used it all through my years in the workforce. I still use it for private notes etc as no-one else can read it. Very hand for PINs. The township of Yallourn is long gone (dug up for coal in the 1970s-90s), Throughout my years in the workforce I only met two other women who knew Dacomb Shorthand as most did Pitman. I even met someone who knew Gregg Shorthand!