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

  • BEARE, Mary Ann Elliot

    Born 1799, Died 1874

    Pioneer of Gumeracha in Adelaide Hills SA. Steamship 'Mary Ann' on Murray River was named after her.

  • BEASLEY, Mary

    1975 - First woman Commissioner for Equal Opportunity
    First female member Qantas board 1983-1985 Australia's first woman Ombudsman appointed 1985

  • BECKWITH, Mary

    1803 - First European woman to set foot on Kangaroo Island SA

  • BEGG, Sonya

    1987 - Started Australia's first commercial Snail Farm in Orange NSW 1986 - Member of Snail Club of America

  • BEH, Helen (Prof)

    Born 1941

    First woman to achieve positions at Sydney University - i. Senior Lecturer in Psychology (Associate Professor)
    ii. Head of Dept. Of Psychology, Associate Dean, Pro. Dean

  • BEHRENDT, Larissa

    First Aborigine to earn a Doctorate from Harvard Law School in USA. Professor of Law at Sydney University of Technology

  • BEILHARZ, Linda Karen

    Born 1960

    2004 - First Australian Woman to trek to the South Pole

  • BELL, Cheryl (Constable 1St Class)

    1992 - First woman to be permanently appointed to a 'Bush Station (at Yuendumu) by Northern Territory Police

  • BELL, Jane

    1920s - Appointed first tutor Sister and founded first Preliminary Training Course in Victoria. Matron of Royal Melbourne Hospital
    1934 - Established first Post Graduate Nursing Course…

  • BELL, Kylie

    2005 - First Alice Springs female to be a National Netball League Umpire
    2006 - Young Centralian of the Year

  • BELL, Margaret

    First Australian woman World President of International Association for Volunteer Effort

  • BELL, Mary (Mrs)

    Also known as: Paddy BELL

    1928 - First Victorian woman to receive an 'A' Pilot's Licence (20th March).
    First Woman Flight Engineer
    1940 - First Head of Women's Air Training Corps (Branch…

  • BEMSTEAD, Lucelle (‘lulu’)

    Born 1891, Died 1983

    1891 - First white baby born within Central MacDonnell Ranges Won fame as a singer in England, Europe and America

  • BENJAMIN, Phyllis Jean (Hon.) (Ao, Mbe

    First Leader of Government in Legislative Council (Upper House) Tasmania
    First female Member to present Budget in Southern Hemisphere.
    Life Member of Tasmanian Branch of Australian…

  • BENNETT, Agnes Elizabeth Lloyd

    Born 1872, Died 1960

    First woman to gain a Science Degree at Sydney University (in 1899)

  • BENNETT, Mary

    First Missionary Teacher to agitate against the removal of Aboriginal children

  • BENNY, Susan Grace

    Born 1872, Died 1944

    1919 - First female member of local government Established succcessful employment agency in Adelaide in 1930s

  • BENSTEAD, Lucelle (‘lulu’)

    Born 1891, Died 1983

    Also known as: Lucille

    Prot_g_ of Dame Clara BUTT
    Won fame in theatres and music halls in England, Europe and America


    1960 - First woman to successfully stand for election to the Northern Territory Legislative Council - won seat of Fanny Bay Businesswoman in Darwin.

  • BERNE, Dagma

    Born 1866, Died 1900

    1885 - First woman to enrol in medicine at Sydney University

  • BERRINGTON, Minnie

    Born 1898, Died 2001

    1925 - First woman opal miner in Coober Pedy SA

  • BERTRAM, Jean

    1938 - Drove Buick (1936) car across Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory into Queensland then back to Tasmania with two women friends and her 7 year old twin sons

  • BEVAN, Janet Cameron (Dr)

    2001 - Inaugural Northern Territory 'Carer of the Year'

  • BIN-SALLIK, Mary Ann (Prof)

    Born 1940

    1962 - First Indigenous Australian woman to graduate from Darwin Hospital
    First Indigenous Australian woman to receive a Doctorate
    First Indigenous Australian woman to gain full time…