Australian Historic Places
A unique national resource identifying places of signficance to Australian women’s history.
We look forward to setting an international trend for similar online resources and until then offer our favourite places in other countries too.
Old Parliament House Gardens, Canberra, ACT
The Centenary of Women's Suffrage Fountain commemorates the Commonwealth Franchise Act, which came into effect on 12 June 1902, granting Australian women aged 21 and over (with the exception of Indigenous women in some States), the right to vote and to stand in Commonwealth elections.
Link 1: National Capital Authority
8 Narrabundah Lane , Symonston, ACT
An 1830s cottage with furniture and memorabila from the Curley family. Saved from demolition on a number of occasions before Sylvia Curley offered it to the ACT govenrnment in 1994 as a environmental education centre.
Link 1: Canberra Museum and Gallery
25 Tinakora Road, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand, International
The childhood home of New Zealand's most famous author, Katherine Mansfield, provides essential background for the enjoyment and understanding of her work.
Garden historians, original photographs and Katherine Mansfield's letters have helped identify the plants growing at the house in the 1880s.
Link 1: Katherine Mansfield House
Town Square, Argent St and Chloride Streets, Broken Hill, NSW
The black granite women's memorial recognises the role of women in the mining history of Broken Hill, particularly in supporting mineworkers during troubled times.
An idea fully supported by the CFMEU, the memorial relates past, present and future for the people of Broken Hill in western New South Wales.
Cnr West & Worrigee Streets, Nowra, NSW
Meroogal has passed through the hands of four generations of women from the same family. Furniture, household objects, diaries, letters, scrapbooks, photographs and clothes allow a very personal insight into the more private world of the family.
Link 1: Historic Houses Trust
, Parramatta, NSW
NSW - Sydney
Jessie Street Gardens, Loftus St, Sydney, NSW - Sydney
This bronze, 3.5 metre monument to women pioneers of Australia was commissioned for Australia's Bicentenary in 1988 by the Australasian Women's Pioneer Society.
The sculptor was Alex Kolozsy.
Link 1: Jemima Mowbray article
Cumberland Hospital (grounds) 5 Fleet Street, North Parramatta, NSW - Sydney
This important historic site consists of remant buildings today located in the grounds of Cumberland Hospital in Sydney.
Parramatta Female Factory was commissioned by Governor Macquarie in 1816 and designed by Colonial Architect Francis Greenway, himself a former convict. It was built on a 4-acre site on the upper reaches of the Parramatta River, on land initially designated part of the Governer's Domain. The new Female Factory replaced the 1797 facility for separate confinement of female convicts, built above the Gaol at Parramatta.
The destination of all unassigned female convict women sent to New South Wales, Parramatta Female Factory provided accommodation, maternity and nursing care, employment, and a refuge. It also had a penitentiary where women who re-offended and those deemed incorrigble were confined.
The Parramatta Female Factory is the only remaining significant female convict site on the mainland, with the Cascades Female Factory in Tasmania an interesting comparison.
Associated with women through every part of Australia's history, the remnant buildings of these sites reflect attitudes on morality, welfare, reform and punishment throughout the two centuries of nmodern Australian history.
The Parramatta Female Factory is listed on the State Heritage List and the former Register of the National Estate, but has been omitted from the National Heritage Register.
The site is approximately 2 kilometres from Parramatta station.
Link 1: Parramatta Female Factory
Link 2: Cascades Female Factory
Fleet St, North Parramatta, NSW - Sydney
Parramatta Girls Training School, also known as Industrial School for Females and Parramatta Girls Home was the principal child welfare institution for girls aged between 9* and 18 years until 1974 when it was renamed Kamballa & Taldree Juvenile Centre operating as such until 1983.
Located in the former premises of the Roman Catholic Orphan School (1841- 1886) it was reassigned as an Industrial School for Females in 1887, replacing an earlier institution located on Cockatoo Island known as the Biloela Industrial & Reformatory School for Females.
More than 30 000 girls passed through this institution and it was often the topic of heated debate in the NSW Parliament in response to the many riots that occurred there. Girls were sentenced on the charge of 'neglect', or 'exposed to moral danger' . Routinely examined by a doctor the girls were classified and segregated (theoretically at least) as either 'corrupt' or 'not corrupt'.
Emphasis within the institution was placed on reforming girls through menial work and domestic duties. Schooling was only available to a maximum of 15 girls at any given time. The majority of girls had been either sexually, physically or emotionally abused and came from all socio economic backgrounds. Many girls had spent their entire childhood in 'care' either foster care or institutions, and on average between 9% and 15% of the institution's population were indigenous.
In the 1960s the institution was the focus of a 10 year campaign lead by feminist activist Bessie Guthrie.
In 1980 the Department of Corrective Services occupied the main buildings establishing the Norma Parker Detention Centre for Women.
In 2003 the first reunion of the former Parramatta Girls took place and the following year the institution featured prominently in the Senate Community Affairs reference committee Forgotten Australians. Since then former inmates of the Girls Home have been leading a campaign for the site to be declared as a memorial to the Forgotten Australians. It is located within the area known as the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct.
* after 1946 with the establishment of Ormond Training School, girls under the age of 12 were no longer sent to Parramatta.
Link 1: Parramatta Girls Home
Link 2: Bessie Guthrie
Link 3: Forgotten Australians
Tuncks Road (PO Box 8644), Alice Springs NT 0870, NT
The Olive Pink Botanic Garden fulfils Olive Pink's vision for a public display of plants of the arid regions of Australia, where she lived and worked for some forty years.
Link 1: Who's Who
Link 2: Olive Pink Botanic Garden
Old Alice Springs Gaol, 5 Stuart Terrace, Alice , NT
This is dedicated to preserving the place of women in history and their special contribution to Australia's heritage.
Gregory Downs , Queensland, QLD
New exhibition celebrates our first female explorer.
Emily Caroline Creaghe (Cray) has the remarkable distinction of being our first ever female outback explorer. Her story might have been lost forever if it wasn’t for the chance discovery of her expedition diary by visual artist Gemma Lynch-Memory. Ms Lynch-Memory found a copy of the diary while browsing in a second hand bookshop near her home in
Gemma Lynch-Memory has now brought this tale to life with her ‘emily:explorer’ exhibitions. To mark the 125th year anniversary of Emily’s 1883 expedition, exhibitions are being held in all capital cities during 2008.
For more information visit www.gemmalynch-memory.com
Link 1: emily:explorer
42-68 Palmer Street , Townsville, QLD
World War 2 display based on the experiences of women living and working in Townsville during the years 1939-1945. Some artefacts are exhibited alongside some moving and though-provoking stories. Most of the women interviewed were involved in the Services, and all of them had been young, loved dancing, making ball gowns out of mosquito netting, and wondered if the rest of Townsville realised that the safety of the city rested with them.
Link 1: Townsville Maritime Museum
QLD - Brisbane
King George Square, Brisbane, QLD - Brisbane
The statue of Emma Miller has a small hand-scratched plaque asking who stole Emma's umbrella - missing from her left hand.
121 William St, Norwood, SA
The life of Doris Taylor, the founder of Meals on Wheels, is commemorated in a very practical sense through the success of the organization she founded and through the many Meal on Wheels kitchens. However there is also a plaque at her childhood home, where she lived until her death in 1968. The home is now a private residence.
Her life is also commemorated through a Doris Taylor Wing at the University of South Australia Library. This initially housed her collection of books on community care, especially for the elderly, and now provides health information and resources.
More about Doris Taylor
77 Middle Road , Devonport, TAS
The Lyons family home was built in 1916 and is now a museum. The main focus of the house is on Prime Minister Joseph Lyons, but it also offers an interesting insight into Dame Enid Lyons and her role in creating and maintaining the family home.
Home Hill contains a rich collection of personal material which provides insights into Australian political life and international relations during the 20th century.
Across Tasmania and offshore islands, various country towns, TAS
Various buildings ranging from purpose built to recycled houses and buildings. Many of these buildings remain, but have new uses. For example the Bush Nursing Centre at Lilydale (Bush Nurses were stationed there for 34 years) is now used as a community centre for the aged. It recently was renamed the Mary Walsh Centre in honour of the longstanding Nurse who cared for generations of people in the district.
11 Beverley Road , McCrae, VIC
Georgiana McCrae arrived in
Link 1: Who's Who
Link 2: National Trust
42 Hunter Street, Castlemaine, VIC
Buda, in the Central Victorian goldmining township of Castlemaine, was the home of the Leviny family from 1863 to 1981. Born in Hungary, Ernest Leviny was a noted colonial gold and silversmith who came to Australia to mine for gold in 1853. He and his wife Bertha raised a family of ten children at Buda, eight of whom survived to adulthood. Of the six daughters, only one married. The five unmarried sisters lived most of their lives at Buda except Hilda, the youngest, who pursued a career and travelled.
An appreciation of art and culture and a love of nature was instilled in the Leviny children from an early age. The daughters all studied art during the 1890s and early 1900s taking classes in drawing, painting, design, modelling, woodwork, metalwork etc. They embraced the Arts and Crafts movement and created many items to decorate their home as well as collecting artworks by many now famous Australian women artists. Three of the Leviny women exhibited work in the landmark 1907 Exhibition of Women's Work held at the Melbourne Exhibition Building.
The house and 1.2 hectares of historic garden are listed on the Register of the National Estate and the Victorian Heritage Register. Buda is an accredited museum, open to the public five days a week.
Link 1: Buda Historic Home and Garden
Feather Top map GR129079, Hotham Heights, VIC
The hut was built in 1949 of stone in memory of Joyce Brockhoff, one of Australia's first champion skiers.
The hut was declared derelict in 1990 but saved by the efforts of the Alpine Club of Victoria and the Hothan Ski Club and committee.
'A skier of ability and courage' Joyce Brockhoff joined the Ski Club of Victoria in 1929 and was a foundation member of the Australian Women's Ski Club. During WW II she was President of the Australian Women's Ski Club which raised money to establish and maintain the libraries on Australian hospital ships.
Reference: Schuss June 1947
VIC - Melbourne
Ross House Fliinders Lane , Melbourne, VIC - Melbourne
The Women's Map of Melbourne Through Her Eyes marks places of historical significance to women and highlights many campaigns for equity and justice, from the right to vote to the demand for equal pay.
Produced by the Victorian Section of the Union of Australian Women, the Map was first published in 2004. The second edition published in 2007,includes several items and sites which have since been added to the Victorian Heritage Register.
Link 1: Women's Map of Melbourne
74 Leopold Street South Yarra, Melbourne, VIC - Melbourne
In the last quarter of her life, from 1929-49, Vida Goldstein's 'loved and familiar environment' was her city office at the Women's Peace Army clubrooms in Arlington Chambers, 229 Collins Street; her Leopold Street flat; and the nearby St Kilda Road Christian Science Church she attended.
From 1921 to 1929 she had shared a flat at 462 Punt Road in South Yarra after returning from three years overseas. From 1910 her home was 'Wyebo', the house her widowed mother had built at 1 Como Avenue South Yarra. Her parents lived separately from 1901, Vida lived with her mother, sisters and brother in law in a large flat at 88 Oxford Chambers in Bourke Street. Before then the family home from 1877 was 'Ingleton' in Alma Road, East St Kilda.
Melbourne sites of significance in Vida's Goldstein's work include Inkerman Street, St Kilda where she and her sisters ran a school from 1890-92 when it was moved to the family's home ; the Speakers' Gallery in Parliament House, where she observed the passage of the State's suffrage Bill in 1908; the Botanic Gardens, where the suffragists celebrated the success of the decades of campaigning; Melbourne Town Hall, where she held a crowded suffrage meeting in 1899 and a public meeting for her 1910 bid for a Senate seat and Hawthorn Town Hall, where she launched her 1910 and 1914 campaigns for the House of Representatives seat of Kooyong. Overflow audiences for the final rallies of these campaigns were accommodated in the smaller Hawthorn Hall.
Vida Goldstein's birthplace was her parent's house, 'Alma Cottage' in Hurd Street Portland Victoria and she opened her first election campaign, for a Senate seat, at Portland Library Hall on 13 October 1903. The family moved to Warrnambool in 1871, then to Melbourne in 1877.
A memorial plaque honouring Vida Goldstein has been placed in the Parliamentary Gardens in Melbourne.
Spring Street, Melbourne, VIC - Melbourne
The Emily McPherson College of Domestic Economy was an Australian domestic science college for women, in Melbourne, Victoria. . The College reflects a time when young women's access to post-secondary education was very limited, with a broader education largely only obtainable in the context of domestic training.
Known affectionately as the 'Emily Mac', this institution was founded in 1906 and followed in the European trend of providing young women with an education in domestic arts and sciences., at a time when there was a wider concerted push for 'scientific' mothering education. It was considered that mothering skills were not innate and needed to be taught, in the same way that domestic skills needed to be inculcated at school.
After years of struggling in overcrowded premises, the college secured the patronage of Sir William McPherson,a businessman and the then State Treasurer. His donated £25,000 (≈AU$1.5 million today) which enabled relocation to the beautiful white building in Russell Street in 1926. Renamed after Lady McPherson it became a Melbourne landmark. The college offered both tertiary and non-tertiary training in Foods and Food Service, Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Science, Fashion Design and Production, in addition to many evening classes for the general public.
Major changes occurred under the last principal, Miss Norma Findley, 1967-79. Inadequate facilities once again became a dominant issue but plans for a multi-storey building did not progress beyond the first stage. Sadly, although the upgrading of the diploma courses was successful, the college failed to qualify as a member of the Victorian Institute of Colleges and amalgamated with its neighbour, RMIT, on 27 March 1979.
The building is registered as "significant" and a "notable building" with the Victorian Heritage Register and the National Trust of Australia.
WA - Perth
Kings Park Road at main entrance to Kings Park, Perth, WA - Perth
The Edith Dircksey Cowan Memorial was erected in 1934. The clock tower is built of Donnybrook freestone mounted on a granite base. A bronze relief portrait of Edith Cowan faces Parliament House, where she made history in 1921 as the first woman to win a seat in an Australian parliament.
As well as the location being a central one, Edith Cowan lived in nearby Malcolm Street for many years.
Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, Fraser Avenue, West Perth WA 6005, Perth, WA - Perth
A Pavilion and bronze works in the Water Garden celebrate the 100th anniversary of women's achievement of the right to vote equally with men in Western Australian elections, and thus in national elections after Federation in 1901. Indigenous women and men won the right to vote in national elections sixty years later, in 1962.
The Water Garden was opened in 1968 and the pavilion and bronze works were installed in 1999.