• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0312

Derham, Enid

(1882 – 1941)
  • Born 24 March, 1882, Hawthorn Victoria Australia
  • Died 13 November, 1941, Kew Victoria Australia
  • Occupation Academic, Lecturer, Photographer, Poet


Enid Derham was a poet and an academic who photographed her travels to Egypt, the Mediterranean, Europe, and England during 1927.


Enid Derham was born in Hawthorn, Melbourne, on 24 March 1882. Her father, Thomas Plumley Derham, was a Bristol-born solicitor, and her mother was Ellen Hyde née Hodgson. She attended Hessle College, Camberwell, before moving on to Presbyterian Ladies’ College. She commenced studies at the University of Melbourne in 1900, where she read Classical Philology. Whilst studying at the University, she became involved in the Princess Ida Club, of which she became a committee member. The club aimed to ‘promote the common interests of, and to form a bond of union between the present and past women students.’

Derham graduated from the University of Melbourne with a B.A. (First Class Honours) in 1903. Following this she was awarded a scholarship to complete a M.A. and majored in English and modern languages; she completed this degree in 1905. She began to write her own poetry during this time.

Her association with the University of Melbourne continued after her graduation when she became a tutor of English at Trinity and Ormond Colleges, and lectured for the University Extension Board, and the Workers’ Educational Association.

Derham, along with 18 other women, was a founding member of the Catalysts’ Society, which was based on the Lyceum Clubs in England, as well as The Lyceum Club, Melbourne and the Classical Association of Victoria, all of which fostered intellectual discourse.

Before the commencement of WW1, Derham travelled to Oxford and studied Anglo-Saxon and Old English for six months before returning to Melbourne.

Derham published ‘The Mountain Road and Other Verses’, along with a short play entitled ‘Empire: A Morality Play for Children’ in 1912.

She moved to Western Australia where she took up a temporary lecturing position at the University of Western Australia in 1921, returning to the University of Melbourne in 1922, where she became the first woman to hold a lectureship position in the English department. She remained in this position for the rest of her life. Derham passed away on 13 November 1941, at her home in Kew.

In 1958, Melbourne University Press published a posthumous collection of her poetry entitled ‘Poems’.

During 1927 she travelled to Egypt, the Mediterranean, Europe, and England; she documented her travels with photographic studies. These photographs are held by the University of Melbourne Archives.


University of Melbourne Archives (accession no. 1984.0030)

Content added for initial entry in the Australian Women’s Register, last modified 19 November 2015.

Educated at Presbyterian Ladies’ College and the University of Melbourne, Enid Derham graduated (BA) in classical philology in 1903 and her MA (Hons) in 1905. After tutoring in English at Trinity and Ormond colleges she spent six months at Oxford studying Anglo-Saxon and Old English. A member of ‘The Catalysts’ in 1912 she was a foundation member of both the Lyceum Club and the Classical Association of Victoria. Also her publications The Mountain Road and Other Verses and Empire. a Morality Play for Children were released in 1912. From 1922 until her death Derham was a lecturer in English Language and Literature at the University of Melbourne. In 1958 her second volume of poetry was published posthumously.



  • 1927 - 1927

Published resources

  • Book
    • Dictionary of Australian biography, Serle, Percival, 1949
    • Australian women writers : a bibliographic guide, Adelaide, Debra, 1988
    • Degrees of liberation : a short history of women in the University of Melbourne, Kelly, Farley, 1985
    • Two centuries : selections from English prose and poetry of the 18th and 19th centuries, Ellis, Adele and Derham, Enid, 1904
    • Notes on the school treasury of English literature. Section 1, Derham, Enid, 1911
    • Empire : a morality play for children, Derham, Enid, 1912
    • How the animals came to Australia : an uncensored account, Derham, Enid, 1930
    • Poems, Derham, Enid, 1958
    • The mountain road and other verses, Derham, Enid, 1912
    • Jessie Webb, a memoir, Ridley, Ronald T, 1994
    • Melbourne University portraits : they called it "The Shop", Paper-Clip Collective., 1996
  • Resource Section
  • Edited Book
    • Who's Who in Australia, 1941, Alexander, Joseph A
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • The University of Melbourne Archives
    • Derham, Enid
    • Derham, Enid
    • Derham, Enid
    • Derham, Enid
    • Derham, Enid
    • Derham, Dorothy Lush
    • Ridley, Ronald Thomas

Related entries

  • Membership
    • Lyceum Club (Melbourne) (1912 - )
    • The Catalysts' Society (1910 - )
  • Related Organisations
    • Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne (1875 - )