Woman Raine, Mary Bertha

Businesswoman and Philanthropist

Written by Shurlee Swain, Australian Catholic University

Mary Raine was born in London in 1877, the eldest of thirteen children of fruiterer, Charles Carter and his wife, Mary. In 1900 she migrated with her sister to Australia where they worked as barmaids. They decided to return four years later but Mary's seasickness forced them to disembark at Fremantle, Western Australia. Again working as a barmaid, Mary accumulated enough money to begin to invest in property, a practice she continued after the breakdown of her fits short-lived marriage, acquiring, amongst other assets, a hotel in central Perth which she used as her headquarters.

Raine's entry into philanthropy came after her second marriage in 1943, to farmer and grazier Arnold (Joe) Raine. Although she made her husband her business partner, the fortune she accumulated reflected her shrewd business practice. Despite her business success, she declared on her marriage that her husband was 'the boss' now, saying 'we needed a man about the place'(Mirror, 4 December 1943). Joe died in 1957, not long after the couple had made a major donation to a planned medical school at the University of Western Australia. Mary donated his substantial estate to establish a medical research foundation in their joint names, entering into a partnership with the University which was to last for the rest of her life.

When Raine died childless in 1960 she left the bulk of her estate to the foundation. A square in central Perth is named in the couple's honour.

Published Resources


  • Sangster, Meg, The Mary Raine story: from Putney to Perth, M. Sangster, Perth, Western Australia, 2001. Details

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Online Resources