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 8/6/1879, Died 4/2/1962
1919-43 — first woman librarian at the State Library of New South Wales. Miss Kibble set up the Library's first research department in 1918. She was appointed the Library's…
Born 1813, Died 1898
Pioneer of Wangaratta, Victoria.
Born 1817, Died 24/04/1889
Also known as: née Ward
Probably the first female taxidermist in Australia (Sydney 1860s).
Maybe first woman to be employed in a professional capacity in any Australian Museum (Tasmania 1856).
Also known as: Melda
“Western Australia author and poet. … marrying Eric Prince. Together they took up five thousand acres of virgin land near Esperance in 1927.” Pioneer of Esperance and Mallee District…
Also known as: Dame Beryl Beaurepaire née Bedggood
A pioneering Australian feminist, Beryl knew how to push boundaries. Beryl’s first attempts to force acceptance of equality was during World War Two when she joined the Women’s…
Also known as: Jo
Jo Barker was the first Australian President of World Federation of Occupational Therapists (1986-1990); the first occupational therapist in Australia to be awarded a Ph.D. (1988); in…
Also known as: Tania Maris Gardner
Layne Beachley is regarded as the best female professional surfer in history. She was the first woman to win seven World Surfing Titles (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006), six of…
Born 4/05/1830, Died 11/09/1894
Also known as: née Moir
Pioneer of Beltana District, South Australia. Born in Scotland.
Founded non-denominational Sunday School (under Wesleyan Church).
Unofficial Doctor - laid out the dead.
Born 1870, Died 27/5/1945
Also known as: née Little
1893 - First woman science graduate, Bachelor of Science, Melbourne University.
1985 - Awarded Master of Science. 1904 - Enrolled at University College/The University of Melbourne and…
1987 - First female jockey in Australia to ride in the Melbourne Cup.
Born 24/12/1841, Died 9/8/1910
Also known as: née Marks
Pioneer of Bendigo area of Victoria.
Also known as: née Sinclair, Isa
Winner of the 1985 Australian Jack-Be-Nimble Championships (Knuckle Bone (Jacks) Champion).
Born 13/07/1909, Died 13/02/1996
Also known as: Jean
1952 - Founding Principal of 'Larnook 'Teacher Training College. Pioneered education for women.Trained in Domestic Arts (later known as Home Economics).
Born 23/12/1842, Died 24/12/1929
Also known as: née Cook
1857 - First woman sculptor in Australia. Sculptor. Exhibited a portrait bust at first Victorian Society of Fine Arts.
Born 31/07/1899, Died 17/01/1987
First female Lecturer in Mathematics at University of Queensland. She taught from 1928-1955. 1927 - Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics, University of Queensland, with first class honours…
Also known as: Jackie
2000 - First serving Federal Minister to give birth while in office. Bachelor of Law, University of Queensland.
1996 - Entered Parliament.1998 - She was elected MHR (Lib) for Lindsay,…
2000 - First woman crew and first Victorian to win the Institute of Ambulance Officers (Australia) National Clinical Excellence competition.
2000 - Won Victorian Clinical Excellence…
Born 9/12/1893, Died 18/10/1971
Also known as: née Kitson
1921 - First female in British Empire to be made a Notary Public. Her application led to a change in the law, as the Act at that time did not include women as “persons.” 1950 - Awarded…
Also known as: née Hammond
Began flying between Melbourne and Tasmania.Flew in Papua New Guinea - “Only exceptional pilots survive.” Now flies in South Australia.
Born 16/02/1871, Died 1/10/1951
Also known as: née Elliott, Lizzie
In 1904 Elizabeth (Lizzie) Nicker arrived at Arltunga with her second husband Sam, 10 year old daughter Jane Doolan and baby Claude, born en route at Quorn, SA. They had travelled…
First all female Yacht Club in Australia (maybe the world). Later known as the Hampton Sailing Club.
Born 1891, Died 1979
Also known as: née Cotela, Antonia
Maria Antonia Ciccone arrived from Serrata, Southern Italy in 1933 and came straight to Alice Springs to join her husband Patsy. He had been here seven years already, trying to get…
2001 - First woman midnight to dawn radio presenter (5AA) in Adelaide. Masters in Business Administration Degree in Public Relations. Nurse.
Also known as: née Reid
Convict who arrived on “Lady Juliana” on 30 July 1790. Married and went to live on Norfolk Island.
1961 - First Policewoman (from South Australia) to be seconded to the Northern Territory Police to establish Women Police Section of the Northern Territory Police.
1975 - First female president of a South Australian Football Club (Waikerie Magpies).
When Adelaide House was opened in 1926, it was run by nurses … with the help of Aboriginal women like Dido Cooper.
In 1999, Sarina Bratton became the first woman founder and chief executive officer of a cruise line anywhere in the world when she launched her Sydney-based Norwegian Capricorn Line…
One of South Australia's first women “Surfies.” The State's first women surfies surfaced in 1915.
Also known as: Rose
First female medical scientist of Flinders Medical Centre to be promoted to professor. She is the granddaughter of Dame Enid LYONS.
Born 15/1/1842, Died 8/8/1909
17 Oct 2010 - Australia's first Catholic saint - Saint Mary MacKillop of the Cross - Canonized in Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI.
2001 Victorian Honour Roll of Women. n 1867…
Born 30/10/1899, Died 4/2/1992
1936 - Only Speech Therapist in Australia and New Zealand.
First Speech Therapist at Spastic Centre, Mosman, New South Wales. 1981 - Appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire…
2007 - First female Governor in Northern Territory Rotary Club.
1990s - First successful Indigenous Australian woman photographer and film maker. Moffatt is a contemporary artist using a variety of techniques, such as collage, set design, and text…
Born 1926, Died 2010
Also known as: Dame Joan Sutherland, La Stupenda
Joan Sutherland was a world famous soprano, one of the greatest voices of the twentieth century. Joan studied at the Royal College of Music in London, making a successful debut at…
Born 29/11/1923, Died 4/05/2017
Twin sister of Dorothy O'BRIEN who, together, were pioneer Occupational Therapists in Queensland. Their legacy to Queensland “The Sunshine Welfare and Remedial…
Born 24/4/1877, Died 29/7/1964
Also known as: née Bayley
1929-1932 - Was the first woman member of the Queensland Assembly, representing Bulimba.
Born 1884, Died 1975
Olive Pink was one of Australia’s pioneering women anthropologists and the founder of what is now the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens on Tuncks Road, Alice Springs.
She was also a fierce…
Born 20 June 1896, Died 23/06/1966
Also known as: née Ross, Cookie, Kitty, Ma, Sandhill Gertie
Affectionately known as “Kitty,” “Ma,” and “Cookie” to the Aborigines.ca 1949-50 - First cook at Alice Springs Hospital and a (first) union representative. Community worker. Mother…
Born December 1919
Youngest female pilot and first female parachutist in Australia; joined the Royal Victorian Aero Club at 14, was flying at 16 and gained her pilot's licence at 17; completed her…
Wife of Rev. John Flynn the founder of Australian Inland Mission and the Royal Flying Doctor Service
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…
First woman to conduct at The Vienna Philharmonic and Paris Opera, La Bastille.
1987 - Young Australian of The Year.
1993 - First female Australian Conductor to achieve International…
Born 2 March 1971
2000-2005 - First woman to be appointed ABC's Africa correspondent. 1999 - Won the John Douglas Pringle Award.2006 - Presenter of the ABC's Landline.2007 - Awarded the…
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.
Born 8/11/1915, Died 19/08/2009
Also known as: née Brooke
1956 - Lifetime devotion to Girl Guides as District and Division Commissioners in South Australia. She served as: 1963–1968 - State Commissioner of Victoria. 1968–1973 - Chief…
Born 8/11/1943, Died 2003
Also known as: née Johnson
Historian of the Northern Territory.
1999- Chief Minister's Women's Achievement Award for her contribution to the Northern Territory as a journalist, historian, author,…
Also known as: Gracia Parry-Okeden, Gracia Freeman
Gracia Baylor was the first woman President of Shire of Healesville, Victoria (1977) during 12 year stint as municipal Councillor; in 1973-74 she was the president of the Victorian…
Born 1907, Died 1984
Also known as: Paddy
1940s - First woman to drive alone between Adelaide and Alice Springs.
1947 - First woman in Alice Springs to actually register a business - the first exclusive womens' store in…