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




  • Katie Louisa (Mrs) (Dr) Obe, Mb, Ch.m Ardill

    Firsts: First woman Doctor to Serve in a Military Hospital in France in World War I. First woman Doctor to see military service in Egypt in World War I First woman in NSW to serve as Chairman of St Johns Ambulance Assoc.

    Special Achievements: 1939 - Awarded Order of British Empire for services to women’s clinic 1952 - Became Dame of Grace of Order of St John of Jerusalem

  • Lilian Armfield

    Firsts: 1915 - First policewoman in Australia First female plain clothes detective

  • Carol Armstrong

    Firsts: First ‘Bush Woman’ on Northern Territory’s Women’s Advisory Council

  • Gillian May (Am) Armstrong

    Firsts: First female Film Director since1930s

    Special Achievements: 1984 - Awarded AM

  • Rosemary Arnold

    Firsts: 1967 - Australia’s first female Commercial Helicopter Pilot

    Special Achievements: Achieved commercial ratings in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft

  • Alana Arnot

    Firsts: First woman to fly a helicopter around Australia’s coastline

  • Jean Fleming (Mbe,flaa) Arnot

    Special Achievements: 1965 - Awarded Member of the British Empire

  • Phyllis Arnott

    Firsts: 1929 - First woman in Australia to be granted a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (but chose to only fly for pleasure)

  • Valerie (Dr) Asche

    Firsts: 1993 - Northern Territory’s first Dame of the Order of St John of Jerusalem

    Special Achievements: 1988 - Fellow of Janet Clark Hall, University of Melbourne

  • Rosemary (Ao, Ba) Ashton

    Firsts: First woman to become Deputy Leader of Opposition at either State or Federal Level

    Special Achievements: Awarded Order of Australia for services to the community in areas of Health, Visual Arts, Women’s’ interests and politics

  • Maltilda Ann (Known as Tilly) Aston

    Born 1873 , died 1947, also known as Known as Tilly

    Firsts: First blind woman to attend University. Established first Braille Library

  • Caroline Louisa Atkinson

    Firsts: 1857 - First Australian born woman Novelist

    Special Achievements: 1857 - Published ‘Gertrude The Emigrant: A Tale of Colonial Life’ by an Australian Lady

  • Audrey June (Mbe) Attwood

    Born 1927 , died 2008

    Firsts: 1997 - First President at Flynn Lodge Old Timers Village

    Special Achievements: 1978 - Awarded M.B.E. for contribution to education

  • Evelyn (Dr) Backo

    Firsts: 1991 - First Female Chairperson of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation

    Special Achievements: 2000 - Honorary Doctorate Awarded by University of Western Sydney

  • Mary Josephine Bagot

    Born 1912 , died 2006

    Special Achievements: 1996 - Made Member of Honour of CWA South Australia

  • Karyn Bailey

    Special Achievements: 2005 - First Northern Territory player in over a decade to be in an Australian 21 and under squad. Also won a scholarship to Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra

  • Norma Helen Bailey

    Firsts: Inaugural President of Country Women’s Association (CWA) in Playford NT

  • Norma Helen Bailey

    Firsts: 1961 - First of first five women recruited to Northern Territory Police

  • June Rosalie (Commander) Baker

    Firsts: 1976-1977 - First and only WRANS Officer to attend Royal Naval Staff College in Greenwich, England