National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame presents the
This is a collection of stories which tell of the achievements of over 1,500 pioneering women in various fields. We are proud that our HerStory Archive brings Australian women and their achievements to light, and we hope that you enjoy discovering these inspiring women.
This archive contains more information about some women than others. As a small, not-for-profit museum, our limited resources often prevent us from collecting as much information as we would like. The information we do have, however, brings Australian women and their achievements to light. If you have additional information on any woman who features in our Herstory Archive, please contribute it here.
Born 1905, Died 30/08/1999
Also known as: Sister Emily Simper
1933 - Possibly the only nurse to ever buy her own hospital, the Warrawee Private Hospital on Oxide Street, Broken Hill, New South Wales.
Born 22/06/1861, Died 25/11/1940
Also known as: Mamie
1907 - First woman president of Tailors and Tailoress' Union of Western Australia.
First woman awarded honorary life membership of Australian Natives' Association in Western…
Owner and Director of Alice Springs Central Dance Theatre.2002 - Awarded world's first honour by British Ballet organisation for 50 years service to the dance industry.
Amboora worked for the Bradshaw family at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station as a housemaid.
Also known as: née Barrett, H. Roden
Pioneer of Southern New South Wales and Victoria.
Northern Territory Pioneer of Seven Emu Station.
Born 12/5/1897, Died 24/9/1992
Also known as: Dumps
1922 - She was the third South Australian woman admitted to the Bar.
1925 - Part of first female law practice with Mary Tenison Woods.
1928-1991 - Practiced as a sole law practitioner…
Born 1898, Died 18/03/1979
Also known as: née Laidlaw, Cloudy
Beryl Ivy Beale was known as ‘Cloudy’ because she was a heavy smoker. ‘……an artistic, sensitive, music-loving woman with the down-to-earth determination, fortitude and hard…
Born 25/07/1901, Died 23/05/1968
1953 - Founder of first Meals on Wheels organisation in Australia (South Australia). 1959 - Appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire.
The South Australian Electoral district…
Born 1884, Died 1/6/1962
Also known as: née Lett, Phyllis Burgh Ker, Charlie, Pat, Mick, Pete
Lived on Wyaldra Station (Julia Creek) and Tweedsmuir (at Richmond, North Queensland).World famous Contralto.
1980 - First police woman motorcyclist in Australia.
First police woman to be a Superintendent in the Northern Territory. 1978 - Joined NT police as a constable.Bachelor of Laws,…
Born 27/09/1927, Died 3/01/2009
Learned to read and write at United Aborigines Mission School at Ooldea, South Australia. After marriage, spent next 27 years at Gerard Mission in the Riverlands. Thirty years at…
Born 30/10/1918, Died 18 June 2007
Also known as: née Fitzsimons, Betty
Recipient of French Star, German Star, Burma Star, 1939 to 1945 Star, Civil Defence Work Medal, Normandy Landing Medal, Diploma of Honour from France, 2000, and the French…
Also known as: Elizabeth Frances Amey and Bess Coppock
Pioneer settler of Central Australia. Worked with her husband at Hatches Creek from 1936-1939 mining for Wolfram, then to Gibeanie Station (1939-1959) (located about 300km north-east…
Also known as: Pat
Australia's or New South Wales's first female Health and Building Surveyor.
Born 30/11/1919, Died
Also known as: Illma Gregory
Illma was a foundation member and worked hard to raise funds for the promotion of women's and community sports.
Born 21/4/1922, Died 2/8/1999
Also known as: Sister Kettle, “hook and eye sister”
Nurse of remote Australia, Papua New Guinea, Queensland and Timor. Foundation member of northern Territory Chapter of the College of Nursing of Australia.1967 - Author of Gone…
Also known as: Jo
First lieutenant Joanne Mein is the first woman member of the Roulettes in the 30-year history of the Royal Australian Air Force's formation aerobatics team. R.A.A.F Flight…
Also known as: Susie, Madame Butterfly
Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer. Most successful Australian swimmer ever.36 Australian titles - 2 Olympic Gold and 4 Silver medals.Record 10 Commonwealth Games Gold Medals
Australian reformist lawyer and jurist. A leading trailblazer, her support of women's civil and human rights has left Australia with a significant and lasting legacy. A woman with…
2000 - First woman Chairperson of Qantas (2000-2007).
First woman chairman of a top 50 publicly listed company in Australia.
Partner in KPMG's consulting division.
Director of BHP…
Also known as: née Bird
Granddaughter of Fred and Isobelle PRICE. (Fred PRICE was Telegraph Master at Old Telegraph Station, Alice Springs, 1916-24.)Daughter of Pearl POWELL.Author of By Packhorse and…
1897 - 1938 - First Honorary Matron of Girl's Club for under-privileged girls and women.
A pastoral matriach from Woodgreen Station, Adele was the first person to donate a box of papers to the Alice Springs office of the Northern Territory Archives when it opened in 2003…
Worked on the land on stations in Central Australia, while raising five children.
Born 10/11/1900, Died 1/09/1990
Married World War I veteran in Scotland then sailed to Australia to take up soldier settlement block at Urangeline, near Bulgandra, New South Wales. Was first woman on the settlement…
Born 9/9/1878, Died 14/7/1960
Also known as: née Manfield
Pioneer of Mt Buffalo district.
“Guide Alice” conducted guided tours in Mt Buffalo National Park.
Born 7/6/1892, Died 6/3/1976
Also known as: née Filshie
1937 - President, League of Women Electors.
1937 - Candidate for the Legislative Assembly seat of Nunawading, State election and became the second woman to be elected to the Victorian…
Also known as: née Meyers, Anne
Daughter of Charlie and Annie née Williams Meyers.Dorothy attended Muirden College, Adelaide, South Australia. ”Later she joined the staff of Charles Moore, then the biggest…
Born 29/11/1923, Died 2004
Twin sister of Moyia O'BRIEN who, together, were pioneer Occupational Therapists in Queensland. Their legacy to Queensland “The Sunshine Welfare and Remedial…
One of the first women police in the Northern Territory. All commenced their recruit training (with a number of men) in February 1961, and the course “passed out” on 10 April 1961. All…
Born 28/09/1846, Died 17/08/1932
Also known as: née Stanes, Jeanne
1879 - First Headmistress, Advanced School for Girls, the first government secondary school for girls in Adelaide.
Also known as: Sister, Doc
Pioneer Nurse. Arrived at Docker River in the Northern Territory in 1975 and stayed working at the clinic for 22 years.
Born 1875, Died 1960
Topsy, born about 1875, was the daughter of Mary Kemp, of Arabana Aboriginal descent, and Arthur Evans, an Oodnadatta policeman. In the early 1890s she married William (Bill) Smith, a…
Born 31/08/1875, Died 30/04/1957
Also known as: née Keysser, Frieda
Pioneer wife of Missionary Carl STREHLOW and mother of Prof. T.G.H.(Ted) STREHLOW.
Mabel Taylor, one of the Bradshaw's governesses, shocked the locals by wearing a divided skirt on horseback instead of riding side saddle as was customary for women in c1905.Doris…
Also known as: Jill
1997 - First woman to head Pulteney Grammar Schools governing body”, as chair, breaking a 150-year “men only” tradition and first non-clergy appointment in 125 years.
1995 - She was…
Born 1924, Died 2007
Also known as: née Clancy
First Solicitor at Katherine, Northern Territory, Regional Legal Aid Service. 1942 - Winner of Harry Emmerton Exhibition for Articled Clerks.
Born 1867, Died 1949
Tryphena Rains married William (Bill) Benstead in 1881. … Bill became manager of Barrow Creek Pastoral Company, setting up home at Stirling Creek near the Barrow Creek Telegraph…
Born 3/10/1860, Died 15/12/1940
Also known as: Panther
First woman member and committee member of the Australian Art Association. Her work is held by the National Gallery of Victoria and the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
Also known as: née Bohning, Edie
The two Bohning girls, Elsie and Edie, were famous for their station work.Esther Bohning and her daughters, Elsie and Edith, from Helen Springs Station north of Tennant Creek, were…
Born 18/12/1915, Died 3/07/2000
First female Trustee of Australian War Memorial. 1947 - She received the Florence Nightingale Medal.
1973 - Ms Bullwinkel received a MBE 1974 - Vivian was presented the Order of…
Born 21/12/1948, Died 23/07/2002
Also known as: née Simeon, Frances Storm
Journalist/Author of books on youth suicide and sex education. Wrote Anna's Story (Anna Wood died after taking an Ecstasy tablet at a “Rave' Party.” Anna's…
Born 3/12/1817, Died 24/08/1909
Also known as: Emily Mary Darvall
Emily wrote poems for most of her life and was still being published at the age of 90. She was the grandmother to A.B (Banjo) Paterson who she was a great inspiration to.
1846 - First woman newspaper editor in Australia, Perth Gazette.
Born 8/12/1940, Died 7/12/1975
Also known as: née Miller, The Sugarbird Lady
Robin was a nurse and a pilot. From 1967-69 she flew to many remote Aboriginal communities administering the Sabin polio vaccine on sugar cubes. The children called her “the sugarbird…
Former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Councillor. National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week Aboriginal of the Year. 1997 -…
Born 25/05/1903, Died 1953
Also known as: née Moir
1940s - Probably Australian Capital Territory's first female architect. Half-sister of the opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland.
Born 3/04/1910, Died 28/11/1994
Also known as: née Stark, Gwen, Starkie, Gwen Caldwell
1941 - First service woman recruited by WAAAF in New South Wales. On 40th Anniversary of Anzac Day, she was the first woman honoured to give the Dawn Service Address in Sydney.
Born 30/12/1928, Died 7/12/2006
Also known as: née Buik
Artist, printmaker and photographer. Foundation member of South Australian Print Workshop.