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Croft, Ida Lucy (1878 - 1957)

6 February 1878
Wallaroo, South Australia
5 June 1957
Semaphore, South Australia


Ida Lucy Croft was the first woman pharmacist in Broken Hill, New South Wales.


Ida Lucy Croft was the second daughter of John Thomas Davey Croft, pharmacist, and his wife Lucy Nixon Wardle of Terowie, South Australia. Born in London, John Thomas was the son of James Croft, a medical practitioner, and the Hon. Catherine Herrich Wicks Croft (nee Siberry). He migrated to South Australia with his parents in 1857.

Ida had five siblings, two of whom died in infancy: Catherine Emily, born 1877, died at seven weeks, while Edith, born 1866, lived for just 22 hours. Her surviving siblings were John Thomas Davey, born in 1844, Ellen Cordella, born 1881, and Lily, born 1882. In 1891, when Ida was 15 years old, the family moved to Broken Hill where John Croft established a pharmaceutical business. Ida was one of a group of women, all daughters of pharmacists, who were able to gain registration as pharmacists without a university examination under the terms of an Act of Parliament in 1897. She gained her certificate on 12 July 1900 at the age of 24, having worked for her father as an apprentice.

In 1911, Ida's father died from injuries after an accident in South Australia. Within just three months her mother and brother had also died, leaving Ida with her two sisters. She remained in Broken Hill working in the family chemist shop until 1915, and later became manager of the Broken Hill United Friendly Society Dispensary Ltd.

Ida Croft left Broken Hill in 1937 and worked at Martindale's Pharmacy in Balaklava. She was re-registered in South Australia in July 1942 and lived at Semaphore. In 1943 she worked for Mr Goldsack at Victor Harbour. By 1946 she had purchased her own pharmacy in Semaphore but was forced to retire from ill health in 1955. She briefly joined the South Australian Women Pharmacists' Association.

Ida Croft was buried at St Jude's Church of England Cemetery in Glenelg, South Australia.

Sources used to compile this entry: Camilleri, Jenny, Some Outstanding Women of Broken Hill and District, Jenny Camilleri (Broken Hill Historical Society/Broken Hill Council), Broken Hill, NSW, 2002; Wunsch, Elizabeth, 'Early Women Pharmacists of N.S.W.', Australasian Journal of Pharmacy, 30 October 1963, p. 929.

Barbara Lemon

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