Diversifying Portraiture 2018
The 2018 International Women’s Day event celebrated the following women.
- Constance Davey OBE
Psychologist, Feminist advocate for women and children
Working as a teacher, Constance Davey studied part-time, graduating with a BA (1915) and MA (1918).
With the Catherine Helen Spence scholarship (1921) she studied psychology, graduating with a PhD (1924) University of London.
Appointed as the first psychologist in the South Australian Education Department, she focussed on children with developmental disabilities, training teachers for this work. She lectured in psychology and logic at the
University (1927 – 50) and helped establish the University social work courses. She was a Fellow of the British Psychological Society (1950) and President of the Australian branch (1947 – 48). The Constance Davey Room
at the University of Adelaide acknowledges her contributions.
Active on women’s issues, as President of the Women’s Non-Party Political Association she campaigned for
women on government boards, equal pay and equal parental guardianship of children. From 1955, as Senior
Research Fellow at the University, she researched Children and their Law-Makers (1956).
- Dianne Davidson AO
Deputy Chancellor, University Council member,
Dianne Davidson graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Adelaide (1969) and holds an MSc (1974) James Cook University and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (1979)
South Australian Institute of Technology. She is one of Australia’s most experienced agriculture, horticulture and viticulture consultants, and has contributed to University governance as a Council Member and as
Deputy Chancellor (2013 – 2016).
She has published textbooks on viticulture, is an active member of several wine industry bodies, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (2000) and a Fellow of the Australian Academy
of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2002). The Australian Centenary Medal (2015) acknowledged
her contributions to the Australian wine industry, horticultural management science, and higher education
management science and administration.
- Ruby Davy
Pianist, composer, Teacher
Firstwoman in Australia to earn a music doctorate
Ruby Davy studied music privately, particularly with her mother. She entered the Elder Conservatorium,
graduating with a BMus (1907) and was the first woman in Australia to gain a Doctorate in Music (1918).
She became a Fellow of the Trinity College of Music London (1921) and also gained a Diploma in Elocution from the London College of Music. She composed the music for ‘Australia Fair and Free’ for the South Australian Centenary.
She taught music in Victoria and South Australia, and briefly at the Elder Conservatorium. She gave music
and lecture recitals across Australia, Europe and the United States of America. She established the Davy
Conservatorium of Music in Melbourne and founded the Society of Woman Musicians in Australia (1941).
Ruby Davy’s £300 bequest to the Elder Conservatorium enabled a commemorative prize for composition.
- Hilda Gardner FRACP
Bacteriologist, pioneer of laboratory medicine
Hilda Gardner (nee Florey) graduated with an MBBS from the University of Adelaide (1912). She held resident appointments at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Adelaide Children’s Hospital and the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. She was Assistant Bacteriologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (1929) and took charge of the department as Clinical Pathologist (1934). Her laboratory was responsible for the bacteriology and haematology for the entire hospital.
She trained a generation of pathologists and physicians and helped initiate a formal training course for laboratory technicians. She was regularly consulted on bacteriological, haematological and allergy problems by clinicians.
Her work was recognised by her election as a Fellow of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (1951).
- Nalini Joshi AO
Mathematician, Professor, Mentor
Nalini Joshi studied at the University of Sydney, graduating with a BSc (Hons) (1982) and winning the University
Medal in Applied Mathematics. She gained her PhD in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton (1987). From 1997 – 2002 she was ARC Senior Research Fellow in Pure Mathematics, University of Adelaide.
Professor of Mathematics at University of Sydney (2002 – present), she was awarded an ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellowship (2012) to work on a project on nonlinear systems with a component to encourage, attract and retain female researchers in STEMM.
She was a foundation Co-Chair of SAGE (Science in Australia Gender Equity) and was appointed AO (2016)
for distinguished service to mathematical science and tertiary education as an academic, author and researcher,
to professional societies, and as a role model and mentor to young mathematicians.
- Barbara Kidman
Trailblazer, Physicist, Computer scientist
Strongly committed to the University
Barbara Kidman studied physics and mathematics, is the first woman to graduate with an Honours Degree in Physics (1949). After postgraduate research at Oxford, she was awarded a PhD in Physics from the University
of Adelaide in 1956. Initially a programmer, she became a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science (1970), developing curricula in this rapidly evolving area. She played a prominent role in the establishment of Computer Science at the University, being promoted to Senior Lecturer (1978).
She wrote the history of computing at the University, published papers on the life and work of Professor Ralph Tate
and co-founded the University Alumni Science Chapter. She volunteered with University Collections and University
Archives, and as a heritage tour guide.
The Barbara Kidman Women’s Fellowship recognises her contributions to University life.
- Marie Robinson
Collection Development and Research Librarian Dedicated and passionate librarian
Marie Robinson graduated with a BSc with Honours in Mathematics (1956) Queens University (Belfast). Appointed as a Barr Smith Library Assistant (1960) she built a successful career, despite the need to resign each time she had children as was the order of the day. Gaining library qualifications (ALAA) (1966) she was promoted to Senior Library Assistant (female).
Appointed Resource Librarian (1977) and Collection Development and Research Librarian (1984 – 1998), she was an expert and invaluable adviser on the Library’s collections, collaborating with academics to build on the Library’s impressive teaching and research collections and contributing significantly to the development of new collections. She was keenly interested in the physical conservation of valuable library materials.
She bred the plant Tillandsia ‘Marie Robinson’, named in her memory by the Bromeliad Society of South Australia. Her bromeliad book collection was donated to the Barr Smith Library. Marie Robinson was renowned for her energy, Irish wit and charm, her legendary ability to find funds for new projects and her encyclopaedic knowledge of the Library’s collections.
- Amy Wheaton
Social work pioneer, Feminist, University academic
Amy Wheaton studied part-time, graduating with a BA (1920) and MA (1923) University of Adelaide and later BSc (Econ) (1931) London School of Economics. She developed social work courses for the South Australian Board of Social Study and Training (1936). These courses transferred to the University of Adelaide in 1942 when she became Lecturer-in-Charge (later Senior Lecturer) of the new Social Science department. President of the Australian Federation of Women Voters (1948 – 54) she advocated for equal pay and co-founded the South Australian Council of Social Service.
Post-retirement, she developed social work programs in Pakistan (1958 – 1962) as a United Nations adviser. With broad international links and knowledge, she attended various high-level international conferences on social work, sociology and women’s status.
- Rosemary Wighton AO
Cultural leader, Feminist, Editor and Public Servant
Rosemary Wighton graduated with a BA Hons (1945), winning the John Howard Clark Prize for English Literature. She combined being an English tutor with motherhood and co-founded the Australian Book Review (1961), to promote ‘a critical examination of new Australian literature’, campaigning against literary censorship. Lecturing in Children’s Literature at Salisbury College of Advanced Education (1971 – 79) she helped constitute children’s literature as a serious field.
From the 1950s she was deeply involved in the cultural transformation of Australia, chairing state and national committees on literature and the arts. Women’s Adviser to the Dunstan government (1979 – 84) she became Deputy Director General of the Department of Community Welfare (1984 – 8) promoting change in women’s, family and adoption policies. A mentor, she ‘burst the glass ceiling for hundreds of women’ who, like her, balanced heavy family responsibilities.