HerStory Archive

New South Wales

  • Reverend Hilda May ABBA

    Born 30 May 1918

    Also known as: Reverend Hilda May Abba, Hilda May Blackham

    First woman in Aus­tralia ordained as The­o­log­i­cal Lec­tur­er (Pitt Street Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church, Syd­ney: 1951)

    1936: Hil­da May entered Home­r­ton Col­lege, Cam­bridge, where she…

  • Virginia ADLIDE OAM

    In 1983, Vir­ginia devel­oped the first Ronald McDon­ald House in Australia. 

    Vir­ginia was award­ed the Medal of the Order of Aus­tralia in 1993 for this work in recog­ni­tion of service…

  • Mary David ALLCHIN

    Born 17/5/1913

    Pio­neer of Cen­tral Aus­tralia. Arrived in Alice Springs in 1941, took her final vows with the Catholic Church in 1942 and helped estab­lish Arl­tun­ga mis­sion in 1942. Also worked on…

  • Lynne ALLEN-BROWN

    Also known as: Lynne Spencer

    In 1993, Lynne Allen-Brown became the first female Chief Super­in­ten­dent of St Johns Ambu­lance. In 1999, she was the first female Chief Com­mis­sion­er of St Johns Ambu­lance. Earlier,…

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Australian Capital Territory

  • Nancy Tyson BURBIDGE

    Born 5 August 1912, Died 4 March 1977

    1960 — Founder and sec­ond pres­i­dent, Nation­al Parks Asso­ci­a­tion of the Aus­tralian Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­to­ry (NPA ACT).

    1961 — First woman to receive a Doc­tor of Sci­ence) (D Sc) from…

  • Elizabeth Ann Dewar CHURCHER

    Born 11 January 1931, Died 30 March 2015

    Also known as: née Cameron, Betty, Betty Blockbuster

    First woman direc­tor of a State Gallery when appoint­ed direc­tor of the Art Gallery of West­ern Aus­tralia from 1987 to 1990. She went on to head the pres­ti­gious Nation­al Gallery of…

  • Rosina Mary EDMUNDS

    Born 31 May 1900, Died 23 April 1956

    Also known as: Rosette

    The 1950s wit­nessed Rosette Edmunds becom­ing the first woman pres­i­dent of a chap­ter of the Roy­al Aus­tralian Insti­tute of Archi­tects (RAIA), not to be repeat­ed for anoth­er 30 years.

  • Patricia Julianne EVANS

    Also known as: née Morris

    Qual­i­fied as an accoun­tant in 1948, and in 1949, at 21, became the first female accoun­tant to be employed by Bitu­men and Oil Refiner­ies (Aus­tralia) Lim­it­ed (Boral). One of the…

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Victoria

  • Emma A BECKETT

    Born 1838, Died 1906

    Emma A Beck­ett was the Boyd fam­i­ly’s first and most impor­tant patron, buy­ing and pro­mot­ing their work, and pro­vid­ing their main source of income. The Boyds are revered by many as…

  • Reverend Hilda May ABBA

    Born 30 May 1918

    Also known as: Reverend Hilda May Abba, Hilda May Blackham

    First woman in Aus­tralia ordained as The­o­log­i­cal Lec­tur­er (Pitt Street Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church, Syd­ney: 1951)

    1936: Hil­da May entered Home­r­ton Col­lege, Cam­bridge, where she…

  • Barbara ABLEY AM

    Bar­bara Abley was elect­ed in March 2001 to the Coun­cil of the City of Greater Gee­long (Vic­to­ria) before becom­ing elect­ed as Deputy May­or lat­er that year.

    In 2002 she became the first…

  • Mary ADLER

    Born 17 February 1862, Died 8 June 1897

    Also known as: née Millar

    Mary Adler came from Mur­toa in the Wim­mera. In 1893, she and her hus­band select­ed land at Lal­bert, near Swan Hill, which they set­tled with their five sons. She died at 36 years of…

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Queensland

  • Joyce Irene ACKROYD

    Born 23 November 1918, Died 30 August 1991

    Joyce Ack­royd was a pro­fes­sor of Japan­ese lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture, and one of the pio­neers who changed the pat­tern of Japan­ese stud­ies in Aus­tralia. In 1965 she found­ed the Department…

  • Denise ALLEN

    1983 — First observ­er woman post­ed to Queens­land 1984 — First woman post­ed to Willis Island 1986 — First woman to win­ter on the Antarc­tic Con­ti­nent for the Bureau of Mete­o­rol­o­gy 1988 -…

  • Clara Victoria Elizabeth ANDERSON

    Born 21 February 1872, Died 6 April 1975

    Also known as: née Campbell, Vic Campbell

    Pio­neer of Theodore, Queens­land. As a child, Clara lived with her fam­i­ly at sev­er­al dif­fer­ent sta­tions before set­tling at their prop­er­ty, Clar­avale”, in Queens­land. In her…

  • Brit ANDRESEN

    In 2002, Brit was the first woman to be award­ed the pres­ti­gious Roy­al Aus­tralian Insti­tute of Archi­tects (RAIA) Gold Medal, hon­our­ing her con­tri­bu­tion to the archi­tec­ture field and…

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Tasmania

  • Mary Morton ALLPORT

    Born 17/5/1806, Died 10/6/1895

    Also known as: Mary Morton Chapman (maiden name)

    Mary All­port was Tas­ma­ni­a’s first pro­fes­sion­al woman artist. She exhib­it­ed in local exhi­bi­tions and pub­lished lith­o­graphs. She adver­tised her pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices as a portrait…

  • Robyn ARCHER

    Born 18/6/1948

    Also known as: Robyn Smith

    In 1998 and 2000, Robyn Archer became the first woman in Aus­tralia to direct a major State Fes­ti­val of the Arts. Robyn is the for­mer Artis­tic Direc­tor of the Nation­al Fes­ti­val of…

  • Phyllis Jean BENJAMIN

    Born 30 August 1907, Died 9 April 1996

    Also known as: née Allsopp, Hon. Phyllis Benjamin

    1968 – 1969 — First woman Leader of the Gov­ern­ment in Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil (Upper House), Tas­ma­nia. She was the first woman to hold the posi­tion in any Aus­tralian leg­isla­tive council.…

  • Ida Lois BIRCHALL

    Born 6 September 1906, Died 20 April 1994

    After grad­u­at­ing from Syd­ney’s med­ical school in 1933 and becom­ing one of Tas­ma­ni­a’s first female doc­tors, she went on to become one of the first Aus­tralian women and the…

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South Australia


Northern Territory


Western Australia


Australia


International


New Zealand

  • Ada Jemima CROSSLEY

    Born 3 March 1871, Died 17 October 1929

    Also known as: née Crossley, Ada Muecke

    Mem­ber of a pio­neer­ing South Gipp­s­land fam­i­ly. Her hus­band was a doc­tor (throat specialist).Early years sang in all church­es of Tar­rav­ille Vil­lage, Victoria.Singer — Ora­to­rio Music -…

  • Emmeline Freda DU FAUR

    Born 16 September 1882, Died 11 September 1935

    Also known as: Freda

    Alpine climb­ing pio­neer in New Zealand. There are fea­tures in New Zealand named after her (e.g., Du Faur Peak and Du Faur Glac­i­er in Mount Cook Nation­al Park). She was the first woman…

  • Catherine Clarissa HOWARDE

    Born 28 July 1864, Died 18 February 1939

    Also known as: née Jones, Kate, Catherine Black, Catherine De Saxe, Catherine Jones

    1921 — First woman offi­cial­ly cred­it­ed with pro­duc­tion and direc­tion of an Aus­tralian fea­ture film Pos­sum Pad­dock’, which was a play that she wrote, pro­duced, and…

  • Eileen JAMES

    Born 1894, Died 1988

    Also known as: née Edes, stage name was Ivy DARRELL

    1910 — The youngest musi­cian in the first con­cert par­ty of The Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of the Blind, trav­el­ling with them for 18 years. Played in con­cert halls in 1913 – 1920s…

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United States

  • Ada Jemima CROSSLEY

    Born 3 March 1871, Died 17 October 1929

    Also known as: née Crossley, Ada Muecke

    Mem­ber of a pio­neer­ing South Gipp­s­land fam­i­ly. Her hus­band was a doc­tor (throat specialist).Early years sang in all church­es of Tar­rav­ille Vil­lage, Victoria.Singer — Ora­to­rio Music -…

  • Robyn FOX

    Mem­ber (Robyn Fox, Geor­gia Le Plas­tri­er, Jen­ny McKen­zie, Jo Van Son) of the first Aus­tralian all-female canoe team to make the full descent of the Yukon Riv­er (Unit­ed States).

  • Catherine Clarissa HOWARDE

    Born 28 July 1864, Died 18 February 1939

    Also known as: née Jones, Kate, Catherine Black, Catherine De Saxe, Catherine Jones

    1921 — First woman offi­cial­ly cred­it­ed with pro­duc­tion and direc­tion of an Aus­tralian fea­ture film Pos­sum Pad­dock’, which was a play that she wrote, pro­duced, and…

  • Elizabeth KENNY

    Born 20/9/1880, Died 30/11/1952

    Also known as: Sister Elizabeth Kenny

    1911 — First per­son to imple­ment an effec­tive method of treat­ment for Infan­tile Paral­y­sis (Poliomyelitis).
    1927 — Designed and patent­ed the Sylvia“ambulance stretch­er which…

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New Guinea


England


Italy


Belgium

  • Marie Louise Hamilton MACK

    Born 10/10/1870, Died 23/11/1935

    Also known as: née Mack, registered as Mary Louisa, Louise Creed, Gouli Gouli, Louise Leyland, Mary Mack

    1914 — First woman war cor­re­spon­dent, Bel­gium, report­ing for the Evening News and the Dai­ly Mail.

    Late 1880s — Con­trib­u­tor to The Bul­letin, an Aus­tralian mag­a­zine, Sydney.1896


Canada


France


Timor


Afghanistan


Papua New Guinea


Antarctica


Fiji


Europe


India


Torres Strait Islands


China

  • Rhoda WATKINS

    Born March 1894, Died 1975

    Mis­sion­ary nurse.

    1922 — She was a Church of Eng­land mis­sion­ary nurse in the Church Mis­sion­ary Soci­eties Way of Life” Hos­pi­tal, Kweilin, China.1924 — Sis­ter Watkins…


Malaysia

  • Rhoda WATKINS

    Born March 1894, Died 1975

    Mis­sion­ary nurse.

    1922 — She was a Church of Eng­land mis­sion­ary nurse in the Church Mis­sion­ary Soci­eties Way of Life” Hos­pi­tal, Kweilin, China.1924 — Sis­ter Watkins…


South Africa


Ethiopia

  • Elinor Catherine HAMLIN

    Born 24 January 1924, Died 18 March 2020

    Also known as: née Nicholson, Catherine

    Ham­lin has been recog­nised by the Unit­ed Nations agency UNF­PA as a pio­neer in fis­tu­la surgery for her devel­op­ment of tech­niques and pro­ce­dures for obstet­ric fistula…


Africa


Japan

  • Fiona Caroline GRAHAM

    Also known as: Dr Fiona Graham, Sayuki

    2007 — First for­eign geisha in Japan.

    Social anthro­pol­o­gist; doc­u­men­tary film mak­er; author; and finan­cial journalist.


British Malaya


United Kingdom

  • Jessie Catherine COUVREUR

    Born 28 October 1848, Died 23 October 1897

    Also known as: née Huybers, Tasma

    In the ear­ly days of set­tle­ment, there were women colonists who trav­elled back­wards and for­wards between Eng­land and Aus­tralia, which in itself was some­thing of an adven­ture. Some,…


Cambodia

  • Geraldine Dorothea COX

    Born 1945

    1970 – 1987 — Began her career with the Aus­tralian Depart­ment of For­eign Affairs. Was sta­tioned to embassies Phnom Penh, Cam­bo­dia; Philip­pines, Thai­land, Iran, and the USA.
    1987 – 1995 -…


Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Barbara Rose FERGUSON

    Born 1940

    Author of Do Not Look Away: Snap­shots of Con­go and the Pyg­mies of Mubambiro.1967 — Worked with the bush fire vic­tims of Tasmania.2015 — Received Ocea­nia: Liv­ing for Oth­ers Award.