• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE6149

Makinson, Kathleen Rachel

(1917 – 2014)
  • Born 15 February, 1917, England United Kingdom
  • Died 16 September, 2014
  • Occupation Physicist, Research scientist


Kathleen Rachel Makinson studied at Newnham College Cambridge and it was during this time she participated in student politics in both communism and the Peace Movement. In 1939 she immigrated to Australia, after marrying physicist Richard Elliss B Makinson.

Rachel held positions as Research Assistant in Physics at the University of Sydney (1939-1941); Assistant Lecturer at the University of Melbourne (1941-1944); CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) Radiophysics Laboratory (1944-1945); Division of Physics at the National Standards Laboratory (1945-1950); and ICI Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds (1950-1952).

Rachel joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 1953. She was Senior Principal Research Scientist at the CSIRO from 1971 to 1977, and Chief Research Scientist from 1977 to 1982. From 1979 to 1982 Kathleen was Assistant Chief of the CSIRO Division of Textile Physics and later became the first woman to be appointed Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO.

In 1981 Rachel was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and in 1982 was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).


Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Papers of Kathleen Makinson, 1945-1980 [manuscript]
  • National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection
    • Kathleen Makinson interviewed by Ragbir Bhathal for the Australian women scientists oral history project [sound recording]
  • Noel Butlin Archives Centre, Australian National University
    • K R Makinson papers
  • National Library of Australia
    • [Biographical cuttings on Dr K. Rachel Makinson, former senior principal research scientist with the CSIRO, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]