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

  • Dagma Berne

    Born 1866 , died 1900

    Firsts: 1885 - First woman to enrol in medicine at Sydney University

  • Minnie Berrington

    Born 1898 , died 2001

    Firsts: 1925 - First woman opal miner in Coober Pedy SA

  • Janet Cameron (Dr) Bevan

    Firsts: 2001 - Inaugural Northern Territory ‘Carer of the Year’

  • Mary Ann (Prof) Bin-Sallik

    Born 1940

    Firsts: 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 employment

  • Ida (Mbe) Birchall

    Born 1906 , died 1994

    Special Achievements: 1933 - Won Dagmar Berne Prize for Best woman Graduate (Sydney University)

  • Ann Bird

    Born 1803

    Firsts: 1829 - First woman proprietor of a newspaper in Australia 5 March 1803 - First newspaper published in Australia ’ Sydney Gazette & New South Wales Advertiser’ was originally owned by her husband.

  • Nancy Bird

    Firsts: 1934 - Australia’s first female commercial pilot to fly commercially.

  • Rosetta Jane Birks

    Born 12 March 1856 , died 3 October 1911

    Firsts: Christian women’s leader active in many areas including welfare of girls and suffrage.

    Special Achievements:

    Presided over several Baptist women’s associations, including a mother’s union, her devout service culminating in the formation (1909) of a women’s guild. 1882 she joined the Ladies Social Purity Society as the Treasurer. Became a board member of the Adelaide Hospital in 1896. In 1902 she helped found and became vice president of the SA branch of the National Council for Women, and was appointed to the board of the Queen’s (maternity) Home. Was elected President of the SA branch of the Y.W.C.A. in 1902. She was credited with the modernization of the Australian movement of the Y.W.C.A.

  • Ruth (Dr) (Ao) Bishop

    Firsts: First person to discover the virus that causes Gastroenteritis

  • Elizabeth Blackburn

    Special Achievements: 2009 - Winner of Nobel Prize

  • Hilda May (Rev) Blackham

    Firsts: 1951 - First woman in Australia to be ordained as a Theological lecturer

  • Margaret (Dame) Blackwood

    Born 26 April 1909 , died 1 June 1986

    Firsts: First woman Deputy Cancellor at Melbourne University; First woman appointed Honorary Life Member by the Association of Women on Campus Melbourne University; OBE 1981, First constructor Australian cipher used by RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force).

    Special Achievements:

    She qualified at the Associated Teacher’s Training Institution, then taught at Lowther Hall and Korowa Church of England Girl’s Grammar schools. In 1930 she enrolled in science at the University of Melbourne (B.Sc., 1938; M.Sc., 1939) completing the course part time while continuing to teach. A scholarship assisted her to write a thesis on the die back of Pinus radiata for her master’s degree, which was conferred with first class honours. She then became a research and demonstrator, working on plant cytology and genetics. Margaret volunteered to serve in World War II. On 15 March 1941 She enrolled in the Women’s Auxilliary Australian Air Force. In January 1945 she reached the rank of temporary wing officer. When her appointment ended on 8 January 1946, she returned to the University (Mildura Branch campus), as a lecturer in biology and dean of women. In 1948 she proceeded to Britain on a Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme scholarship and entered the University of Cambridge (Ph.D., 1954), where she worked with David Catcheside on the B-chromosomes in Zea mays. Back in Melbourne she was appointed at last to a permanent lectureship, becoming one of only two lecturers in genetics at the University. She published little (five papers in 1953-68) and was promoted slowly, becoming a reader just before she retired in 1974. In 1958-59, a Camegie travelling scholarship had enabled her to study at the University of Wisconsin. As a geneticist she new that only one of the forty six chromosomes is different, therefore ‘innate abilities and characters are common to both men and women’. In 1975 she convened the University assembly’s working group on the position of women on the campus, which found that their status was no higher than it had been in 1951.

  • Roma Blair

    Firsts: First Australian Bride to be married by Proxy

  • Judith (Oam) Blake

    Born 1929 , died 2004

    Special Achievements: 1984 - Awarded Whyalla’s Australia Day Citizen Award 1989 - Awarded Life Membership of YWCA 1994 - Awarded Flinders University Suffrage Centenary Chancellor’s Medal 2003 - Awarded Life Membership of YWCA Adelaide

  • Myra Blanch

    Firsts: First Flying Sister for Royal Flying Doctor Service

  • Anna Bligh

    Firsts: First female Premier (popularly elected)

  • Jean Lillian Bloomfield

    Born 1916 , died 2005

  • Kit (Dr) Bloomfield

    Firsts: 1929 - One of first Victorian Women to obtain a Pilot’s Licence