1. Rosemary Margan
Rosemary Margan, was born on May 12, 1937 and died on December 5, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia, was an Australian television and radio personality. She received Logie Awards in the years 1969 and 1970. Her television career was a long and successful one, and she was known for her soft, clear speaking voice that was perfect for television and radio use.
She had a cameo in Frontline, playing herself in an episode where she called Mike Moore “mate” instead of his real name. She presented the weather on GTV’s Nine News, a role she was also known and loved for. She died on December 5, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia; cancer was announced as her cause of death. Her daughter Cathy Godbold, was an Australian actress.
2. Elizabeth Kenny
This self-taught Australian Bush nurse was a trailblazer in her field, developing a controversial approach to treat victims of poliomyelitis. Instead of using the conventional method of placing affected limbs in plaster casts, she applied hot compresses to the affected parts of the bodies of her patients.
She then followed up with passive movement of those areas to reduce spasms. Her principles became the very foundation of physical therapy, also known as physiotherapy. She volunteered to serve as a nurse in World War I. And even though she was not qualified, nurses were needed so badly they let her in to work on the “Dark Ships”-slow moving transport vessels that ran with all lights cut between Australia and England.
She even earned the title “Sister” which, in the Australian Army Nurse Corps, is the same as First Lieutenant.
3. Anne Deveson
Anne Deveson wore many hats, being a writer, broadcaster, movie-maker and social commentator. She worked in England as well as Australia. She was born in Kuala Lumpur, and her family was evacuated to Western Australia as refugees before they returned to the UK.
The first job she ever held was working with a small London-based newspaper called The Kensington News. Afterward, she would go on to work at the London branches of BBC and The New York Times. It was not until 1956 that Deveson moved back to Australia, starting work for the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
In the 1950s, she was a presenter for 2GB, and was one of the first to use talkback radio in Australia. Aside from being a pioneer of radio, she wrote two books about the loss of her partner Robert Theobald and her son. Her unfortunate death took place 12 December 2016.
4. Shirley Hazzard
This Australian-American writer, essayist, and short story author won many awards and accolades for her work. She not only wrote fiction like The Bay of Noon and The Great Fire, but also non-fiction like two books about her experience working with the United Nations Secretariat.
She was born in Sydney to Reginald Hazzard, a Welshman, and her Scottish mother, Catherine Hazzard. Her parents immigrated to Australia in the 1920s. At the age of 16, Miss Hazzard went to work for the British Combined Intelligence Services, until she was removed due to an ill sister and a father who moved to New Zealand due to becoming Australian Trade Commissioner. Her first story was called “Woollahra Road” and was written in 1960.
It was published by The New Yorker one year later. After this, she resigned from the United Nations-she’d been there since 1951-and began her life as a full-time writer, creating stories and works we still enjoy today.
5. Beryl Mills
Beryl Mills was Miss Australia and was born on January 3, 1907 at Walkaway. She was the fourth daughter of her parents Kitty and Frank. She attended high school and received a bursary to attend Perth Modern School, where she became a prefect. Her hard work gained her a scholarship to University of Western Australia, where she studied English and French.
She was extremely athletic, winning swimming and diving competitions, and being captain of the hockey team. Her father submitted a photo of Mills wearing a swimming costume to the first Miss Australia competition, which she won. Her athletic and healthy appearance made her the ideal woman of Australia.
She got to tour the United States and even was a guest at the Miss America beauty contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Eventually, she joined the American Red Cross after moving to the United States with her husband. Her death took place on 13 July 1977, at the Medical Center Hospital in Punta Gorda, Florida.
6. Faith Bandler
The civil rights activist named Faith Bandler was best known for being a campaigner for the rights of Indigenous Australians and South Sea Islanders. She was a leading figure in the 1967 referendum on Aboriginal Australians. She and her sister Kath started their careers during World War II, serving in the Australian Women’s Land Army. They worked hard on fruit farms, earning little money.
In 1956, she became an activist full time, working with Pearl Gibbs and Jessie Street. She led campaigns to remove discriminatory provisions from the Constitution of Australia, which resulted in a referendum being made in 1967 by the Holt government. It succeeded in all six states.
7. Shirley Strickland
Shirley will always be known as the woman who won the most Olympic medals than any other Australian in running events. She attended East Pithara School from 1934-1937, and then won a scholarship to Northam High School where she won 47 out of 49 events as an athlete.
She even enlisted in the Australian Army to help the war effort when running events got disrupted by the conflict. She later became a teacher at Perth Technical College, and was coached by footballer Austin Robertson, where she improved her 100 yards run time. She would win a total of 12 medals in her Olympic career.
8. Claire Dennis
Clare Dennis is an Australian national treasure as the breaststroke swimmer of the 1930s who took home the gold in the 200 Meter Backstroke at the 1932 Summer Olympics, which took place in Los Angeles, California. It was in 1931 that she would win her first state and national title in the 220-yard breaststroke. This was repeated in the years 1933, 1934, and 1935, and remained undefeated until she retired in 1936.
Her mother pressed her to continue, even after her father passed away. In 1932, she broke the 110-yard Australian record, followed by the 200-meter world record, which gained her selection for the Olympic team at only 15 years old. After her swimming career was over, she became a swimming coach and hairdresser. Her talent for swimming will never be forgotten by Olympic athletes and the people of Australia.
9. Annalise Braakensiek
Annalise Braakensiek was a model, actress, TV presenter, and activist as well as businesswoman. She had a successful career as model for over 25 years. She even deferred her university studies to do modeling as a job in the interim but stuck with it and became extremely successful.
She also designed her own jewelry and underwear and was also a blogger for a vegan diet and lifestyle. She was an ambassador for “R U OK?”, an Australian mental health charity. Her inner and outer beauty as a model and hard worker will always be remembered and cherished by many. Braakensiek’s shocking death happened in January 2019. She was found dead in her Potts Point apartment.
10. Bonita Mabo
She is best known for being an educator as well as an activist for Aboriginal Australians, South Sea Islanders, and Torres Strait Islanders. Her husband was Eddie Mabo. Born in Halifax, Queensland, she is the descendant of ancestors who were blackbirded, or tricked, into working in the sugar cane industry in Queensland.
She and her husband established a special school where children of color could learn about their own heritage instead of white culture. A TV movie was made about her valiant efforts, and a star was named in her honor at the Sydney Observatory. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in honor of her huge contributions to human rights from James Cook University.
These amazing women all contributed to the world of art, music, science, social justice, and literature, plus much more. The outstanding talents and abilities of these women are an inspiration and a representation of the great things Australia brings to the world, and of the wonderful things women can do. Although these women no longer walk the earth, their memory lives on and inspires many to do their very best each and every day.