Australian Women's Register

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

Skip to content

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Cameron, Bessy (c. 1851 - 1895)

c. 1851
Nyungar country, Western Australia, Australia
12 January 1895
Victoria, Australia
Aboriginal teacher


Bessy Cameron was educated at a 'native institution' (later known as Annesfield) at Albany, opened in 1852 by Anne Camfield, a teacher and governess. Bessy took her certificate of Proficiency with honours, and was sent to Sydney to attend a 'model school', where she became an accomplished pianist. In 1866 she returned to Albany to help Mrs Camfield in the school and was employed as church organist. In 1867 Bessy was sent to the Moravian Ramahyuck mission as a teacher. Not being able to marry a European man of her choice, she was transferred to Lake Tyers, were she married Donald Cameron, a Jupagilwournditch man from Ebenezer in 1868. Bessy lost her initiative and enthusiasm, which was reflected in a marked deterioration in her status. Her married years were spent moving from Ramahyuck to Lake Tyers and back, in a struggle to support her four surviving children. Her marriage deteriorated, and in 1887 Bessy fell seriously ill following another miscarriage. The rest of her life was spent battling to prevent the forceful removal of her children and grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: Radi, Heather, 'Bessy Cameron', in Radi, Heather (ed.), 200 Australian women : a Redress anthology, Women's Redress Press, Broadway, N.S.W., [1988], pp. 58-59; Radi, Heather (ed.), 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Women's Redress Press, Sydney, 1988, 258 pp. Also available at

Leonarda Kovacic

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