Mary Lavinia Whitfeld, born 21 January 1885, was the daughter of Ernest Whitfeld and Lavinia Dunning. She spent her early years in Launceston and began her work researching the history of Australia in 1939 in Sydney and later in Melbourne and London. She indexed newspapers and other records of the early days. Some of her index was given to the Royal Society of Tasmania, in memory of her late father. This is located in the Launceston Local Studies Collection, Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office. Miss Whitfeld retired in Melbourne and died at Caulfield in 1982 at the age of 97.