Cox, Eva Maria(1938 – )
Social activist, Sociologist, University teacher, Women's rights activist, Writer
A founding member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby, which was established in 1972, Eva Cox has been an advocate for women and is well-known as a social critic. In 1995 she was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia ‘for services to women’s welfare’. In 1997 the Council of Australian Humanist Societies named her Humanist of the year.
De Groen, Alma Margaret(1941 – )
A New Zealander by birth, Alma De Groen has distinguished herself as a feminist playwright whilst living in Australia and Canada. On moving to Australia in 1964, she wrote her first play, The Sweatproof boy in 1968. She has written for live theatre, film, radio and television in Canada and Australia. In 1998 she was the first playwright to win the Patrick White Award for her contribution to Australian theatre. In 2003 she returned to live and work in New Zealand.
Archer, Robyn(1948 – )
Advocate, Artistic director, Director, Singer, Writer
Robyn Archer has established an international reputation as a cabaret artist and as an artistic director. She became the first woman to head a major Australian Arts festival when she was appointed Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival in 1998 and 2000. On 12 June 2000 she became an Officer of the Order of Australia ‘ for service to the development of cultural life within Australia and its resultant international recognition, through her contribution as an artistic director, performer and writer.’
She is currently the Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra celebrations, which begin in March 2013.
Giblin, Eilean Mary(1884 – 1955)
Diarist, Feminist, Potter, Social worker
Eilean Giblin (born Burton) arrived in Australia in 1919 with a shipload of war brides following her marriage the previous year to AIF officer Major L F Giblin, DSO, MC. She came with a commitment to women’s rights and social justice developed through the suffrage movement and left-wing social and political circles in London. During the next three decades in three Australian cities she worked to advance her feminist, humanitarian and educational ideals. In Hobart in the 1920s she campaigned for ‘equal citizenship’; in Melbourne in the 1930s she led a committee that built and opened University Women’s College; in Canberra during the Second World War she was one of small minority who championed the cause of the enemy aliens deported on the Dunera, This is recorded in her wartime diary which is a unique social record and a powerful witness to the immense suffering and futility of war. She was a pioneer Canberra potter some of whose work is in the National Gallery of Australia.
Boelke, Grace Fairley(1870 – 1948)
Grace Boelke was one of the first women medical graduates of the University of Sydney. Founder of the Professional Women’s Association, she was a strong advocate of improved conditions for women.
During her lifetime, Boelke held positions in a variety of community organisations, including:
- Vice-President, Town Planning Organisation of New South Wales
- Convenor, Standing Committee on Health, National Council of Women of New South Wales
- Vice-President, Australian League of Nations (New South Wales branch)
Brewer, Ilma Mary(1915 – 2006)
Academic, Botanist, Educator
Ilma Mary Brewer studied and later taught botany at the University of Sydney. She developed new methods of teaching based on the principle that a student learnt more by working at their own pace and through self-instruction. She outlined her methods in Learning more and teaching less: a decade of innovation in self-instruction and small group learning, published in 1985.
As well as working in academia, Brewer also spent time working for the Australian military and in private industry in the United States.
She attended North Sydney Girls’ High School before enrolling at the University of Sydney in the 1930s.
Browne, Ida Alison(1900 – 1976)
Academic, Geologist, Palaeontologist
Ida Alison Browne lectured in palaeontology at the University of Sydney from 1935 to 1950, before working jointly with her husband, William Rowan Browne, a renowned geologist.
She was educated at Fort Street Girls’ High School in Sydney, before attending the University of Sydney where, in 1922, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science, with First Class Honours. She was awarded the University Medal in geology. In 1932, she was awarded a Doctorate of Science.
Later in her career, she served as a Member of the Australian National Research Council.
O’Reilly, Susannah Hennessy(1881 – 1960)
Medical practitioner, Obstetrician
Susie O’Reilly was a popular family doctor and renowned as an obstetrician. She was co-founder of the New South Wales Association of Registered Medical Women in 1921 and became life governor of the Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children in 1959.
Bembrick, Amy Glenthora(1893 – 1949)
Army Nurse, Child welfare worker
Amy Glenthora Bembrick, born at Grenfell New South Wales, served with the Australian Army Nursing Service in World War I in Salonika. After her marriage to Charles William James Gumbley, an Anglican Minister, she was active in Adelaide during the Second World War as ‘camp mother’ for disadvantaged boys.
Caldicott, Helen Mary(1938 – )
Medical practitioner, Nuclear disarmament activist
Helen Caldicott has achieved an international reputation as a tireless campaigner against nuclear power and weapons. Trained as a medical practitioner, she is acutely aware of the effects of radiation on living beings and on the environment. While living in the United States of America from 1977 to 1986, she formed the organisation called ‘Physicians for Social Responsibility’, serving as its president from 1978 to 1983. In the belief that women had a special role to play in the peace movement, she established Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament in 1986 and became a full-time anti-nuclear activist. She addressed anti-nuclear and peace rallies in Australia and around the world and wrote a number of books on the topic of nuclear disarmament.
Worsley, Maureen Gertrude Theresa(1937 – 2001)
Originally a member of the Australia Party, Maureen Worsley was one of the first women to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory in September 1974. She resigned from the party in 1977 and intended to stand as an Independent in the 1977 election, but her marriage breakdown meant she had to find full-time work. As a result she did not contest the 1979 election. She died of emphysema in 2001.
Liangis, Sotiria(1941 – )
Sotiria Liangis is the developer behind a number of commercial properties in Canberra. She was the first Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year in 1995. In 1996 she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for ‘for service to the Greek community, particularly the aged and through St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Canberra’. She received the Centenary Medal in 2001, also for service to the Greek community.
With her husband and son, Sotiria Liangis had received a Real Estate Institute of the ACT award in 1994.
Blundell, Madeline Patricia Petrie (Patricia)(1880 – 1968)
Army Nurse, Matron, Nurse
Patricia Blundell served in in the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) in World War I at Lemnos (Gallipoli), in Egypt, on hospital transports, in military hospitals at Wimereux near Boulogne in France and at military hospitals in England. In 1918 the ship on which she was travelling back to Australia was torpedoed in the Bay of Biscay. After being rescued by the British Navy she reached Melbourne safely on another ship. Before enlisting in 1915, she had gained military nursing experience as matron of Royal Military Hospital, Duntroon.
Boon, Gladys Elizabeth Clare(1891 – 1948)
Army Nurse, Nurse
Gladys Elizabeth Clare Boon served in the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) at Salonika, Greece from 1917 to 1919 and then briefly in England before returning to Australia. Trained at Orange Hospital, she nursed at Bathurst District Hospital and Wallsend Hospital before her marriage to Arthur Firkin in 1925.
Gallagher, Flora(1874 – 1938)
Army Nurse, Nurse
Flora Gallagher served from 1915 to 1918 as a nurse in World War I in Egypt, England and France. She was one of three female Gallagher family members from Browns Flat, a farming settlement between Queanbeyan and Bungendore in New South Wales, which later became part of the ACT, who served overseas as nurses in World War I.
Gallagher, Janet Isobel(1880 – 1957)
Army Nurse, Nurse
Janet Isobel Gallagher was one of three female members of the Gallagher family who served overseas with the Australian Army Nursing Service during World War I. She was a niece of Flora Gallagher and Evelyn Gallagher and like them was born at Browns Flat, a farming settlement near Burbong between Queanbeyan and Bungendore in New South Wales, now within the eastern border of the Australian Capital Territory. She enlisted in 1916 and spent most of the War nursing in India with service also in Egypt and England.
Gallagher, Evelyn Melita(1877 – 1946)
Army Nurse, Nurse
Evelyn Gallagher served from 1916 to 1919 with the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) in World War I in India, Egypt and England. She was one of three female Gallagher family members from Browns Flat, a farming settlement between Queanbeyan and Bungendore in New South Wales later part of the ACT, who served overseas as nurses in World War I. After the war she was matron of a private hospital at Nowra.
Lawlor, Gertrude Frances(1883 – 1959)
Army Nurse, Matron, Nurse
Gertrude Frances Lawlor served in 1918 with the Australian Army Nursing Service in India during the latter stages of World War I. She enlisted in 1917 after Canberra Hospital, where she was Matron, closed because of war restrictions. She resumed as Matron when the Hospital re-opened in 1921 and continued in the position until 1928.