Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content

By Repository

Helen Ferber interviewed by Susan Marsden

Helen Ferber interviewed by Susan Marsden
National Library of Australia

Interview conducted in 2006. Helen Ferber, born in Adelaide speaks about her family background; her father's career at BHP; life in Whyalla, Newcastle and Melbourne; her education; father's views on career options for girls; family's educational background; recollections of her uncle, Sir Richard Butler; her university education, travels to Italy and Germany, language studies; WWII preparations; her impressions of pre-war Italy and Germany; her studies in Munich; Germany under Hitler; Nazi propaganda; summer schools, anti-Nazi friends, anti-Jewish action; the war build-up; studying in Perugia, Italy; being caught up in war preparations for the invasion of Czechoslovakia; her return to Australia; completion of her university education; interpreting work for the Army, monitoring foreign broadcasts; her employment as monitor at Listening post, responding to crucial world news; censorship; writing wartime reports; her work for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) Mission in Yugoslavia: the growth of Communism; her letters, excerpts, uses and responses.
Ferber discusses American security; the American threat to the Mission in Yugoslavia and later impact on staff; the build-up of the Cold War; her sisters' lives and careers; her work with UNRRA's Public Information office in Paris; Arthur Calwell; working with postwar migrants, her involvement in Jewish migration and refugees; her return to Australia; her marriage to David Ferber and his career; Foreign Service life in USA and Philippines; returning to employment in Melbourne; working on the Henderson Report, a study on poverty, research team members; Ronald Henderson; her contribution as Australian Economic Review's business manager; David Ferber's later work, their children and their daughters' careers; her publications; her role in the Federation of University Women; return visits to Europe, compares visits to Germany in 1938, 1947 and 1968 and Yugoslavia in 1945 and 1968; influences of her work on social policy in Australia; perspective on her own history and family history.

3 digital audio tapes.
Open Access
Finding Aid

Timed summary (15 p.) and uncorrected transcript (typescript, 85 leaves)

Repository reference links are external links to the relevant catalogue record in the holding repository. If you experience a broken link it will be because the repository has not understood the value of maintaining persistent links and/or the judicious use of redirects. Try locating the repository's catalogue search and search on the records' creator's name and/or the repository reference number for the records.

Related entries


Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124