HerStory

Mary Home BROWN

Also known as: Mamie

Born: 16 May 1878

Died: 1 December 1968

Special Achievements:

1884 – First student, along with two other girls and one boy, at the Wilderness School in South Australia (founded by her sister, Miss Margaret Hamilton Brown 20 May 1858-5 December 1952, a trained teacher).
December 1902 - Early female graduate in Science from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, receiving her Bachelor of Science.

Additional Information:

Mamie was Dux of the School in 1896 after having sat the Upper VI Examinations and was the first of the school’s pupils to pass the Senior Public Examination with English, French, Mathematics, Physical Geography, and Geology. In 1897 Mamie began teaching at the school alongside three of her sisters Margaret, Annie, and Wynnie (another sister, Kate, who was also a trained teacher, had also taught at the growing school but had died in 1891). Mamie was the first female awarded a scholarship to the University of Adelaide. The scholarship was offered during 1897 for females who were earning their own living, and they had to attend evening lectures and take two years to complete a one-year subject. After doing so for four years, they had to become a day student to complete the final year of their degree. Mamie was the only girl to apply for the scholarship and was awarded it at her interview with a panel of five men. Mamie taught during the day and attended evening lectures and obtained her Bachelor of Science in December 1902. Mamie became the second Headmistress of the School, initially helping her sister Margaret in this role, and in about 1927 taking the reins whilst Margaret looked after the bookkeeping.

Mamie retired as Headmistress in 1951 aged 73 but continued to look after the boarders, teach some Maths and do the household bills (as the four Misses Brown were still living in their family home, which was also used as the School Office). Mamie slowly relinquished these roles as she aged but would still visit the students in their classrooms. Mamie lived at the School until September 1967 when she moved to an aged care facility.


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