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




  • Margaret Battye

    Born 9th August 1909 , died 16 November 1949

    Firsts: First female Lawyer to represent a client in a WA Court of Law.

    Special Achievements:

    1939 worked for the Council For Civil Liberties. 1934 joined the Western Australian branch of the Australian Federation of University Women (President 1937). 1938 appointed to the proposed college’s fund raising committee. Responsible for drawing up the original constitution for the Women’s University College. 1947-48 President of the West Australian branch of the A.F.U.W. Honorary legal adviser to the Women’s Service Guilds. 1949 belonged to the Karrakatta and Soroptimists clubs and was president of both. In addition she chaired a national committee for the United Nations, a commission into the status of women and acted as honorary solicitor to the Western Australian section of the Fellowship of Australian Writers.1945 she represented the original committee of the Liberal Party of Australia’s Western division at the first Federal council meeting in Sydney in 1945 and was given responsibility for the foundation of the State women’s committee, 1946 was a state delegate to the party’s federal conference in Canberra in 1946.

  • Irene Bayley

    Born 1877

    Firsts: 1929 - First woman to be elected to Queensland Parliament’s Legislative Assembly

  • Layne (Born Tania Maris Gardner. Adopted by Neil Beachley and his wife Valerie. 2010 currently engaged to Kirk Pengilly) Beachley

    Born 1972 , also known as Born Tania Maris Gardner. Adopted by Neil Beachley and his wife Valerie. 2010 currently engaged to Kirk Pengilly

    Firsts: First woman to win five (7) World Surfing Titles - statistically the greatest woman surfer in surfing history (2010)

  • Jean (Jane) Beadle

    Born 1868 , died 1942

    Firsts: 1898 - Convened the first Labour Women’s Association in Australia

  • Mary Ann Elliot Beare

    Born 1799 , died 1874

  • Mary Beasley

    Firsts: 1975 - First woman Commissioner for Equal Opportunity

    Special Achievements: First female member Qantas board 1983-1985

  • Mary Beckwith

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

  • Sonya Begg

    Firsts: 1987 - Started Australia’s first commercial Snail Farm in Orange NSW

  • Helen (Prof) Beh

    Born 1941

    Firsts: 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

  • Larissa Behrendt

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

  • Linda Karen Beilharz

    Born 1960

    Firsts: 2004 - First Australian Woman to trek to the South Pole

  • Cheryl (Constable 1St Class) Bell

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

  • Jane Bell

    Firsts: 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 in Melbourne

  • Kylie Bell

    Firsts: 2005 - First Alice Springs female to be a National Netball League Umpire

    Special Achievements: 2006 - Young Centralian of the Year

  • Margaret Bell

    Firsts: First Australian woman World President of International Association for Volunteer Effort

  • Mary (Mrs) (Paddy BELL) Bell

    , also known as Paddy BELL

    Firsts: 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 formed in each State)

  • Lucelle ('lulu') Bemstead

    Born 1891 , died 1983

    Firsts: 1891 - First white baby born within Central MacDonnell Ranges

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

    Firsts: First Leader of Government in Legislative Council (Upper House) Tasmania First female Member to present Budget in Southern Hemisphere.

    Special Achievements: Life Member of Tasmanian Branch of Australian Labor Party (ALP)

  • Agnes Elizabeth Lloyd Bennett

    Born 1872 , died 1960

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

  • Mary Bennett

    Firsts: First Missionary Teacher to agitate against the removal of Aboriginal children

  • Susan Grace Benny

    Born 1872 , died 1944

    Firsts: 1919 - First female member of local government

  • Lucelle ('lulu') (Lucille) Benstead

    Born 1891 , died 1983, also known as Lucille

  • Lyn Berlowitz

    Firsts: 1960 - First woman to successfully stand for election to the Northern Territory Legislative Council - won seat of Fanny Bay