HerStory Archive

The stories and photographs of pioneering Australian women are preserved in our HerStory Archive, which has been catalogued and indexed in the database below.

Apart from preserving many often previously untold stories, the archive will be useful for future researchers, as well as inspiration for future exhibitions at National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame headquarters in Alice Springs and online.

The information comes to us through many avenues: from our staff and volunteer research and from information supplied by visitors, authors, scholars and friends and family of the pioneer women.

The information on each woman who is included is a summary of her file in our archives. We are working toward attaching photos and will update information as it becomes available to us. As you can appreciate, this is a huge task and will require some financial support. If you have additional information on any of the women listed or another pioneer woman, or believe that our information is incorrect, Submit a HerStory Form


  • A BECKETT, Emma

    Born 1838, Died 1906

    Author of diaries spanning half a century, they tell an absorbing story of the birth of one of Australia's most famous artistic families. Emma was a decisive influence in this…

  • ACKROYD, Joyce Irene

    Born November 23, 1918, Died August 30, 1991

    Joyce Ackroyd was a professor of Japanese language and literature, and one of the pioneers who changed the pattern of Japanese studies in Australia. In 1965 she founded the Department…

  • ADAM-SMITH, Patsy

    Born May 31,1924, Died September 21, 2001

    Also known as: Patricia Jean Smith

    First woman Articled on an Australian Merchant Ship (Radio Operator) (1954-60). Popular author of 33 books on history, folklore, and preserving national traditions, plus an…

  • ADAMS, Margaret

    Died 1988

    Also known as: Margaret Kentley

    First President of the newly formed Australian Women's Flying Club (AWFC). Prior to the outbreak of the war, the Australian women's piot scene was beginning to develop and…

  • ADAMSON, Dorothy

    First female bank clerk in Alice Springs. Also worked in Commonwealth Bank in 1942.

  • ADAMSON, Mabel

    Born October 3, 1905, Died December 18, 1995

    Also known as: May”. Maiden name was Wilkinson.

    Mabel was an early pioneer of Central Australia, arriving in Alice Springs on 5th May, 1920, with her family. Mabel's father's brother, George Wilkinson, had a store in Alice…

  • ADDISON, Lily Isabel Maude

    Born 1887, Died 1968

    1906 - First woman to do technical work in architectural office in Queensland. Lily assisted in her father's office from about 1906. In 1914 she passed Building Construction and…

  • ADDISON, Marion Lillian “lily”

    Born December 21,1885, Died November 27, 1982

    1919 - First Australian woman to play at Wimbledon. At the time, Lily was the singles champion of Australia. As a tennis player she had significant success in Australia and often…

  • ADKINS, Shirley (Oam)

    First women to be awarded the Oswald Watt Medal (Australia's highest Aviation Award)
    First woman elected president of the royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia

  • ADLER, Mary

    Born February 17, 1862, Died June 8, 1897

    Also known as: nee Millar

    Mary Adler came from Murtoa in the Wimmera. In 1893, she and her husband selected land at Lalbert, near Swan Hill, which they settled with their five sons. She died at 36 years of age,…

  • ADLIDE, Virginia (Mrs) Oam

    Developed the first Ronald McDonald House in Australia

  • AH TOY, Woo Len (“lily”)

    Born October 24, 1917, Died November 15, 2001

    Also known as: nee Wong

    Lily was born and grew up in Darwin and was known to many in the Top End for her stoicism, generosity and warm good humour. From 1936 to 1942 and continuining after the war, Lily and…

  • AKHURST, Daphne Jessie

    Born April 22,1903, Died January 9,1933

    Also known as: Daphne Cozens

    Daphne Akhurst was the first Australian woman to reach the Wimbldeon semi-finals (1928) and the first Australian woman to figure prominently in tennis in overseas tours. She reached…

  • ALBOROUGH, Joan

    Born December 23, 1909, Died May 2003

    Also known as: Joan Maclean

    Australian Inland Mission (A.I.M.) nurse at Marble Bar (WA) Hospital 1939-1940 Joan, with husband Bill and three children moved to Tennant Creek in the late 1940's. During…

  • ALEXANDER, Elizabeth

    Born April 16, 1943

    First woman to be a partner at a big eight accounting firm (Price Waterhouse) in 1977. First woman to be State and National president of CPA (Certified Practicing Accountants)…

  • ALLAN, Bridget

    A pioneer of the Heytesbury Closer settlement in Victoria, from around 1959-1960.

  • ALLAN, Stella

    Born October 25, 1871, Died March 1, 1962

    Also known as: Stella Henderson, ‘Vesta’ (pen name)

    Introduced the first woman's page in Australian daily paper. In 1907, the Argus commissioned Stella to write a series of articles on the first Australian Women's Work…

  • ALLARD, Louise

    2006 - First Australian woman to ski to the North Pole

  • ALLCHIN, Mary David

    Born May 17, 1913

    Pioneer of Central Australia. Arrived in Alice Springs in 1941, took her final vows with the Catholic Church in 1942 and helped establish Arltunga mission in 1942. Also worked on…

  • ALLEN-BROWN, Lynne

    1993 - First female Chief Superintendent of St Johns Ambulance

  • ALLEN, Denise

    1983 - First observer woman posted to Queensland 1984 - First woman posted to Willis Island 1986 - First woman to winter on the Antarctic Continent for the Bureau of Meteorology 1988 -…

  • ALLEN, Lynn (Prof.)

    First woman State Librarian in Western Australia in its 107 year history

  • ALLPORT, Mary Morton

    Born May 17, 1806, Died June 10, 1895

    Also known as: Mary Morton Chapman (maiden name)

    Mary Allport was Tasmania's first professional woman artist. She exhibited in local exhibitions and published lithographs. She advertised her professional services as a portrait…

  • ALLSOP, Elizabeth

    First woman to be elected to, and later President of, the Kaniva Shire Council, Victoria Pioneered the mechanical and driving of both 2 and 4 wheeled vehicles for women of the…

  • ALLSOP, Joan Winifred

    Born November 10, 1912, Died October 12, 2000

    Australian adult educator. With the assistance of a grant, Allsop was able to attend Columbia University in New York, where she became the first Australian to obtain a doctor of…