• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE2022

Taperell, Kathleen Joan

(1939 – )
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 15 February, 1939, Sydney New South Wales Australia
  • Occupation Feminist, Public servant, Teacher


Kathleen Taperell ran only once for parliament (ALP candidate, New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Nepean, 1973) and went on to become a leading feminist and a senior public servant. From 1990, she has been Senior Adviser to the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Assistant Secretary in the Department. Her papers are deposited in the National Library of Australia.


Kathleen Taperell was born in Sydney and educated at Eastwood Public School, and Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta. She completed a BA at the University of Sydney (1959), and a Dip Ed at the University of New England (1969). She married John Tucker, with whom she had two sons. She was known as Kathleen Tucker when she ran for the NSW seat of Nepean in 1973. She later returned to using her own name of Taperell.

She taught in NSW secondary schools 1967-72 and then became electorate Secretary to MHR John Kerin in 1973. From 1974 she was a public servant, on the staff of the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration, the Public Service Board (Equal Opportunity Section) and from 1977 she was senior adviser at the Office of Women’s Affairs, Canberra. From 1978 to 1983 She was Director of the Office of Women’s Affairs (later Office of the Status of Women). She published Sexism in Public Service: the employment of women in Australian government administration with C. Fox and M. Roberts, in 1975.

She has been Convenor of the Women’s Film Fund Advisory Panel, 1978-83. She represented Australia on the Preparatory Committee for the World Conference of the UN Decade for Women 1978-1980 and was a member of the Australian delegation to it in 1980. She was a member of the Australian delegation to the OECD High Level Conference on Women’s employment in 1980.

In 1984 she moved to the Department of Foreign Affairs where she worked on human rights questions, and in 1986 she joined the Department of the Special Minister of State. She was Assistant Secretary, Prime Minister’s Department 1986-90.


Published resources

Archival resources

  • Australian National University Archives
    • Women's Studies - Tenth Anniversary at ANU - Dr. Dorothy Broom, Dr. Jill Matthews, Dr. Susan Magarey, Ms. Wang Ying, Ms. Wu Lintao, Ms. Xu Xuehai, Ms. Liu Maoshu, Ms. Lian Lijuan, Kathleen Taperell & others
  • National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection
    • Kathleen Taperell interviewed by Sara Dowse [sound recording]
  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Papers of Kathleen Taperell, 1973-1992 [manuscript]

Related entries

  • Related Organisations
    • Office for Women (1977 - )
    • Office of Women's Affairs (1974 - 1977)