• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE6105

Baillie, Helen

( – 1970)
  • Died 31 December, 1970
  • Occupation Aboriginal rights activist, Nurse


Helen Baillie was an Aboriginal rights activist and a nurse. She was passionate about Aboriginal issues and was involved in various Aboriginals rights organisations. In addition, Baillie opened her house on Punt Road as a hostel to Aboriginal people from the 1930s to the 1950s.


Baillie attended the Aldworth Girls’ Grammar School in East Malvern and on completion of her study she travelled to England to undertake midwifery training at the London Maternity Hospital. In her late thirties, Baillie returned to Australia and it was during her sea journey that she became enthralled by the work of Mary Bennett, an internationally renowned activist on behalf of Australian Aboriginal people.

In 1932, Baillie formed the Victorian Aboriginal Fellowship Group and became their Honorary Secretary. In 1933 she also became involved with the Victorian Aboriginal Group; a group with similar objectives to the Fellowship. The Victorian Aboriginal Group co-ordinated a meeting to launch their campaign in September 1933, which brought together a considerable number of groups, including the Aboriginal Fellowship Group, The Women’s Citizen’s Movement, the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Also involved were the Student Christian Movement, the United Aboriginal Mission, the Society of Friends and the Victorian League. Helen Baillie spoke at the meeting, alongside many others. Whenever an opportunity arose to present Aboriginal issues before a public audience, Helen Baillie took it. This was the case when she was made a delegate for Australia at the convention of the British Commonwealth League in 1935.

Bailie was a life member of the Australian Aborigines league and she also liaised with the Association for the Protection of Native Races in Sydney and the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society in London. After 1951, Baillie became a member of additional activist groups, including the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Council for Aboriginal Rights.

In addition, Baillie volunteered as a nurse for the Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War and also worked for the Spanish Relief Committee in Melbourne.



  • 1931 - 1932

    Formed the Victorian Aboriginal Fellowship Group

  • 1935 - 1935

    For Australia at the convention of the British Commonwealth League


Archival resources

  • National Archives of Australia, National Office, Canberra
    • BAILLIE, Helen
  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Papers of Joan Kingsley-Strack, 1908-1978 [manuscript]

Related entries

  • Member
    • Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Australia (1919 - )
  • Affiliated organisation
    • The Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Victoria (1885 - )
    • Young Women's Christian Association Victoria (Y.W.C.A. Victoria) (1999 - )
  • Friend
    • Tucker, Margaret Elizabeth (1904 - 1996)