Bring back some good or bad memories


October 20, 2014

Australian Women's Firsts in the Early 20th Century

Two of the first female men's barbers, Miss Dolly House and her sister, c.1927 / photographed by Sam Hood. The House sisters’ father, Jack House, ran the barber shop just underneath Australasian Films' film studio.

First "Miss Australia", Beryl Mills of WA, 1927 / photographed by Sam Hood. Theatre commissionaire holds back crowd from the first "Miss Australia", Beryl Mills of Western Australia, outside Sydney’s Haymarket Theatre, 14 December 1927.

Coffs Harbour, the first fully equipped women’s surf life saving competition team in the world, 1931 / photographed by Sam Hood.

First woman Presbyterian cleric in Australia, 1930s / photographed by Sam Hood.

May Bradford welding part of the all Australian monoplane for the England-Australia air race, 1934 / photographed by Sam Hood. May Bradford was the first woman pilot to hold “A” & “B” ground engineer’s licences in Australia.

Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie were Australia’s first women Olympians, winning gold and silver in the 100 metres freestyle, Stockholm, 1912.

Lady Mary Elizabeth Windeyer, 1st President of the Womanhood Suffrage League, c.1890s / by Madame Praeger.

Nancy Bird in Gipsy Moth at Kingsford Smith Flying School, 1933 / by unknown photographer. Nancy Bird was one of Australia’s first women commercial pilots. She flew medical services to the Outback. The first Qantas A380 Airbus is named after her. She was given a State Funeral in St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney on Wednesday 21 January 2009.

Enid Lyons by the Lodge fireplace, 1934. Enid Lyons was the first woman elected to the Australian Federal Parliament, in 1943, and the first woman in Federal Cabinet.

Dr Beryl Nashar, 1955 / by unknown photographer. Dr Beryl Nashar (1923- ), a geologist, was the first female Dean of Science at an Australian university.

Mina Wylie, Coogee, 1913. Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie were Australia’s first women Olympians, winning gold and silver in the 100 metres freestyle, Stockholm, 1912.

Ida Leeson, 1933, photographer unknown. Ida Leeson, after being promoted to Mitchell Librarian in 1932. She was second ever Mitchell Librarian and first female Mitchell Librarian.

Florence Austral at home, Newcastle, NSW, 10 March 1953 / Sam Hood. Florence Austral was Australia's first Wagnerian soprano with an international career. She and Frida Leider were considered the two greats of the 1920's. Unfortunately she didn't have an established career at Covent Garden which restricted her renown, although she left 102 recordings of her warm but majestic voice. In Berlin in 1930, she showed the first signs of multiple sclerosis. Her career afterwards consisted of more concert and recording work, also entertaining the troops during the War. After the War Austral was a teacher at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, New South Wales. Regarded by many as Australia's greatest singer.

Louise Carbasse ca. 1913 / photographed by Rudolph Buchner. Louise Carbasse, also known as Louise Lovely, was Australia's first Hollywood star of the silent era.

(via State Library of New South Wales)


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