Her bedroom wall was decorated with pictures of racing cars and hot rods…

Motor manuals and car magazines were lying on the shelves, alongside the books on pharmacology and drugs.
A true reflection of the girl who once lived there.

A girl called Penelope Whyte, 25, of Janet Clarke Hall, Parkville.
Her interest in cars and science led to her studying for her PhD at Melbourne University on- “The effects of drug taking (pep pills, tranquillisers and alcohol) on the road toll”.

But by a cruel twist of fate on Friday night, Penelope became a statistic in the road toll- a toll she spent so much time and effort researching and investigating.
As a passenger in a car travelling to visit her parents at Port Pirie, South Australia, Penelope was killed in an accident on the Western Highway, near Ballarat.
Police said the back off-side axle came off the car, causing it to overturn and land on its roof.

“It is a tragic irony,” her father, woolgrower Mr Sydney Whyte, of Port Pirie, said yesterday.
“Penny was always interested in cars. I taught her to drive when she was about 16.
“After a little nagging, I may add.
“She loved to drive around the country. She spent a lot of time reading and talking about cars.
“She even enrolled for a mechanics’ course in a technical school when she went to Melbourne in 1969, to learn how a car really worked.”

But while Penelope carried out experiments and tests at Calder raceway, she never donned helmet and goggles for the track.
He interest in working hours, was strictly scientific.

“Penny knew where to draw the line,” said Dr Eden, the principal of Janet Clarke Hall where she has lived for two and a half years.
“She was a quiet, sensitive person with a charming smile. She thought very seriously about her work.
“She loved to talk about the road toll and road safety because she thought they mattered so much.
“her thesis topic gave her a chance to vent her own ideas.”

Penelope graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1967 with a bachelor of science degree. She completed her masters in Melbourne last year.