HerStory Archive

ARCHDALE, Helen Elizabeth

Also known as: Betty Archdale

Born: August 21, 1907

Died: January 11, 2001

Special Achievements:

Headmistress of Abbotsleigh Girls School, Sydney.  Officer in W.R.E.N.s during World War II.  Became Principal of Women's College at Sydney University.  After her tenure at the College, Miss Archdale’s association with the University of Sydney continued when she was elected to the Senate in 1959. She founded the Australian branch of the International Law Association in 1958. She chaired the NSW Branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (1960-1962) and the Arts Council in NSW (1972-1974). Betty brought a passionate belief in the importance of women’s education and of their role in civic life to the conservative heartlands of Sydney at a time in the 1950s and 1960s when domestic virtues were more readily extolled.

One of Betty Archdale's governesses as a young student was Adela PANKHURST, daughter of Emmeline PANKHURST, suffragette. In 1934 Betty captained the first English women's cricket team to tour Australia. In 1944, she was awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for "zeal and whole-hearted devotion to duty". In 1998 the National Trust voted her one of Australia’s hundred living treasures.