HerStory Archive

ANDREWS, Shirley Aldythea

Born: November 6, 1915

Died: September 15, 2001

Special Achievements:

Shirley graduated in Science when women were barely tolerated as students.  She went on to work for six years at the Veterinary School of the University of Melbourne.  In 1947, she joined the CSIR (which became the CSIRO -- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) as a research officer but she left in 1951 as it was difficult for her to remain there given her membership of the Communist Party of Australia, From 1953 until her retirement in 1977 Shirley worked at the Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital.  She became Honorary Secretary of the Council for Aboriginal Rights in Victoria in 1952 and in 1958 was involved in bringing together members of nine State based Aboriginal Advancement Leagues to form 'The Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement' which later incorporated Torres Strait Islanders . Shirley was involved in organising a national petition for a referendum to empower the Commonwealth Aboriginal affairs -- more than 100,000 people signed the petition.  

Shirley was also actively involved in dance, teaching and leading dance classes and researching dance and dance styles. Her research led to her seminal book, Take Your Partners on how Australians danced in the nineteenth century. In 1994, Shirley received the Order of Australia for her contribution to dance.