Julia Rapke OBE z’l was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1886. After completing her school at Wellington Girls’ High School and moving to Melbourne, she married Abraham Rapke at the St. Kilda Hebrew Congregation in 1906.
In the 1920s, Julia entered public life. She was appointed special magistrate at the Children’s Court in 1929, and a Justice of the Peace. She took part in the Constitutional Club’s Model Parliament in the 1930s, inspiring her to form the widely-publicised Women’s Model parliament in 1946. After meeting Ida Wynn and travelling to pre-state Israel, Julia became passionately involved with WIZO. She served as President of WIZO Victoria from 1952 to 1954, and Federal President from 1954 to 1959. She was bestowed an OBE in 1957 for raising the status of women and for improving the care and treatment available to underprivileged and delinquent youth.