• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: PR00673

Bishop, Clare

(1945 – )
  • Born 26 June, 1945, Sydney New South Wales Australia
  • Occupation Public servant


Clare Bishop graduated in catering and hotel management before joining the Department of Immigration in Canberra in 1970, serving in London 1971-74, Edinburgh in 1975-77 and New York 1977-80. After helping organize the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Melbourne in 1981, she was sent to Cologne to process refugees from Poland, and to the Philippines to process spouse applications. From 1984-86 she was First Secretary in the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, then Consul in New York to 1990. From 1993 until her retirement in 2000, she was responsible for overhauling all the Department’s forms.


Clare Bishop was born in Sydney on 26 June 1945, daughter of neurophysiologist Sir Peter Orlebar Bishop and Hilary Louise neé Holmes, a former nurse. Educated in Sydney at Chatswood Primary School, Roseville College and Abbotsford Anglican School for Girls, she travelled in 1963 with her parents to Massachusetts. After briefly attending a secretarial school she worked first as a volunteer at the Harvard International Students Club, and then as a governess in Paris.

On her return to Sydney in 1964 she completed two years of an Arts degree at Sydney University before studying catering and hotel management at East Sydney Technical School. On graduating, she moved to Canberra and worked briefly in a hotel and an employment agency before joining the Professional Migration Section of the Department of Immigration in 1970. She was posted to London from 1971-74, then trained new staff in the Recruitment Section in Canberra, before being posted to Edinburgh in October 1975.

In 1977 she was cross-posted to New York, returning to Canberra in 1980 where she worked as Ministerial Correspondence Liaison Officer in the Legal and Parliamentary Branch. In 1981 she was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to help organise the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Melbourne. She was then sent to Cologne to process Special Humanitarian Entrants from Poland, to Berne, Switzerland, to process applications from chefs, and then to the Philippines to process women entering Australia on spouse visas. On returning to Canberra she worked as executive to the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs on its evaluation of the implementation of the Galbally Report.

From 1984 -86 she served as First Secretary in the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, then as Consul/ Principal Migration Officer in New York and Area Director in Chicago and Toronto to 1990. Following her return to Canberra she was Executive officer to the National Population Council and to the Conference of Commonwealth/State/Territory Ministers for Immigration, before becoming Departmental Liaison Officer in the office of the Minister for Immigration, Gerry Hand. From 1993 until her retirement in 2000, she was in charge of overhauling all the Department’s forms. 


Published resources

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection
    • Clare Bishop interviewed by Ann-Mari Jordens in the Chief Migration Officers' oral history project [sound recording]