Courtesy: J Leishman, Personal collection
With a political career spanning two decades, Joy Leishman is an inspiring and respected local government figure.
First elected in 1985 to the Caboolture Shire Council and re elected in 1988, Joy became the first female deputy to chair her local council. In 2000 Joy was elected to Mayor of Caboolture with a significant majority, serving for eight years until the councils’ amalgamation in 2008.
Joy is widely recognised for her support and commitment to women in local government. She believes women bring a unique presence to the grass roots level of government and she promotes opportunities available to women working within councils.
Throughout her many years of service, Joy’s membership and association with various professional women’s groups has been extensive.
With an immense knowledge and wealth of experience, Joy continues to serve her local area, providing advice and support to innovative projects for the betterment of Caboolture; a community she so proudly calls home.
Source: J Leishman, 2009, personal biography, 24 June 2009.
Courtesy: E Shepherd, Personal collection
Else Shepherd AM
Else Shepherd graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1965. She first worked as a process control engineer in the Queensland sugar industry and since 1986, has co-founded two engineering businesses in Brisbane, making innovative telecommunications products. She has also been a part-time lecturer at TAFE and several Queensland universities. In 2000, she was named Queensland Engineer of the Year by Engineers Australia. Else was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2003. She is an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. She is Chairperson of Powerlink Queensland, a Director of the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO), as well as a member of the Brisbane City Works and Brisbane City Design Advisory Boards. She is a Trustee of the Brisbane Girls Grammar School and Deputy Chairman of the international Riverfoundation.
Source: Shepherd E, 2009, personal biography, 4 March.
Courtesy: K Devitt, Private collection
Kristin Devitt has over 15 years’ experience working in media and corporate public relations. As Director of KD Public Relations in 2000, Kristin co-founded Babes in Business - a networking organisation for Brisbane's top businesswomen. Kristin’s company also plays an important role in attracting and encouraging Queensland’s young female leaders of tomorrow.
Source: Babes in Business Pty Ltd, About Us, 2008, viewed 10 December 2008, <http://www.babesinbusiness.com/bib/prod/content/gui_bib_aboutus_babesteam.cfm>.
Affirmative Action – “Right Gentleman… Any suggestions as to how we go about this…”. Courtesy: Geoff Pryor and the National Library of Australia (nla.pic- an23168214)
The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999
The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 came into effect on 1 January 2000, renaming and updating the Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986. The Act requires private sector companies, community organisations, non-government schools, unions, group training companies, and higher education institutions with 100 or more employees to establish a workplace program to promote equal employment opportunities for women.
Source: Commonwealth Government of Australia, Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, 2001-2008, Overview of the Act, viewed 10 December 2008, <http://www.eowa.gov.au/About_EOWA/Overview_of_the_Act.asp>.
Copyright: Newspix / Nathan Richter
In October 2000, Grace Grace became the first woman in the 115-year history of the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) to be elected as General Secretary. She has served as a full-time union official since 1980, including roles as Industrial Officer at the Finance Sector Union’s Banking Division, and Adviser to the Federal Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations. She also became the first female QCU Assistant General Secretary when she won the role in June 1995. Grace was elected to Queensland State Parliament in October 2007.
Source: Queensland Council of Unions, 2008, Personality Profiles: Grace Grace, viewed 2 December 2008, <http://www.worksite.actu.asn.au/showall.php3?secid=1&page=article&artid=366>.
Courtesy: L Yeomans, Personal collection
Lien Yeomans lives and works in Brisbane. Born into a middle class family in Hanoi, she moved with her family to Saigon in 1954 and then to Australia in 1962 on a Colombo Plan scholarship. As a librarian Lien worked at the Mitchell Library (Sydney), the University of Queensland Library, Queensland Department of Primary Industries Library and started the Children’s Collection for the Cairns City Library. She also made functional pottery at her own studio.
Over many years, Lien extended and refined her repertoire of distinctive North Vietnamese dishes. From 1994-2007, she owned the Green Papaya – one of Brisbane’s most celebrated restaurants. Her book, Green Papaya: New fruit from old seeds, was published by Random House in 2001. She has given master classes and presented lectures on Vietnamese food and culture at festivals around Australia.
Lien has participated in numerous charitable activities for charities in Vietnam and Australia, including riding the length of Vietnam for the Bach Mai Hospital in 1994.
Lien frequently travels for self-education and to transmit her cultural heritage. She currently works as a food consultant. Quan Yeomans, of the noted band Regurgitator, is her son.
Source: L Yeomans, 2009, personal biography, June.
Courtesy: Jackie Huggins, personal collection
Dr Jackie Huggins AM (1956 - )
Dr Jackie Huggins is of the Bidjara (Central Queensland) and Birri-Gubba Juru (North Queensland) peoples. Among her various leadership roles in organisations across Australia, Jackie is the former Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia; a director of the Telstra Foundation; member of the Indigenous Advisory Board of the Queensland Centre of Domestic and Family Violence Research, Central Queensland University; and a Public Service Commissioner for Queensland. In 2000, Jackie was honoured with the Premier's Millennium Award for Excellence in Indigenous Affairs and, in 2001, was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to the Indigenous community, particularly for her work with reconciliation, literacy, women's issues and social justice. Jackie received a Doctor of the University honoris causa from the University of Queensland and the position of Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences in December 2006. In 2007, Jackie was named University of Queensland (UQ) Alumnus of the Year and co-chaired the Indigenous stream of the 2020 Summit in 2008. Today, Jackie is the Deputy Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit at UQ. She has several publications to her name, including Auntie Rita (with her mother Rita Huggins, 1994) and Sister Girl (1999).
Source: The University of Queensland, 2009, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit - Unit Staff, viewed 16 January 2009, <http://www.uq.edu.au/ATSIS/index.shtml?page=41868#jackie>.
Courtesy: Queensland Police Service
Kathy Rynders (1955 - )
Kathy Rynders joined the Queensland Police Service in 1975 during the last year of her university degree, abandoning her previous teaching ambitions. She took her first post on Brisbane’s southside and, since then, has risen through the ranks of the Queensland Police. She later became one of five female officers to be promoted to Inspector alongside 50 male colleagues. Across her 33-year career, she has helped pave the way for other women entering the police service. In 2001, she became the state’s first female Assistant Commissioner, before being promoted in 2008 to become the first female Deputy Commissioner within the Queensland Police Service. In this role she is responsible for the strategic management and direction of regional police operations throughout Queensland. Kathy’s main goals in her current position are to reduce the road toll and increase staff flexibility.
Source: Doneman, P 2008, ‘Rynders a pioneering force’, The Sunday Mail, 5 April, viewed 2 December 2009, <http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,,23488584-5007191,00.htm>.
Courtesy: Volunteering Qld
Beaudesert-born Diane Morgan has been involved in counselling and volunteering for over 35 years at local, national and international levels. She spent the first 18 years of her married life working in a voluntary capacity before returning to the community sector. Since 1987, Di has served as CEO of Volunteering Queensland, an organisation which has placed over 50,000 volunteers in non-profit community organisations around the state since its creation in 1982. She recently helped establish a network of regional volunteer resource centres in Cairns, Townsville, Bundaberg and the Gold Coast, and has developed policy, procedures, and accredited training courses for volunteers and managers. In 2001, Di successfully lobbied the United Nations (UN) to endorse the International Year of Volunteers, as well as the development of the UN Declaration on Volunteering.
- Austin, S and Fynes-Clinton, J 2009, ABC Queensland, 2009, Diane Morgan: a conversation, viewed 22 January 2009, <http://www.abc.net.au/queensland/stories/s1369367.htm>.
- Volunteering Queensland Inc, About Us, viewed 22 January, 2009, <http://www.volqld.org.au/about_us/>.
Copyright: Newspix / News Ltd
As a young woman in Australia's budding era of feminism, Lea Giles-Peters had her eye on financial and social independence. She sent herself back to school to do her HSC (High School Equivalent) and began to build a career in librarianship and information systems. In 2001, she made history, becoming Queensland's first female State Librarian. Together with a staff of nearly 300 people, Lea is developing innovative approaches to digital information storage, children's programs, heritage collections, and Indigenous collections. Lea has a particular interest in Indigenous services and is committed to providing remote settlements with library access.
Source: Sorensen, R 2008, ‘State librarian’, The Australian, viewed 20 January 2009, <http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23466544-16947,00.shtml>.
Courtesy: Dr Rosemary Hill
Dr Rosemary Hill
Dr Rosemary Hill has devoted her life to Australian conservation with a strong focus on the rights and cultures of Indigenous Australians. As an academic and environmental scientist, she has had a role in promoting community-based, scientific models for sustainable economic development and conservation. She is known to be a respected, outspoken leader and activist dedicated to her cause, from lobbying politicians and liaising with the media, to running community education programs, to even putting herself in front of bulldozers to stop logging. In 2001, she won the Cassowary Award for helping to gain recognition for Aboriginal cultures in Queensland’s Wet Tropics, as well as facilitating the area’s World Heritage listing. “Yalanji People of the Rainforest Fire Management Book” which Rosemary co-wrote with Eastern Kuku-Yalanji Traditional Owners won the National CRC Association Award for Excellence in Innovation in 2005. Rosemary is currently a Senior Research Scientist with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems based at the Australian Tropical Forest Institute in Cairns, where she researches sustainable development issues across the north. She is also Vice-President of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Source: Wet Tropics Management Authority, 2006, The Cassowary Awards – 2001, viewed 15 January 2001, <http://www.wettropics.gov.au/wwc/wwc_casawards01.shtml>.
Copyright: Newspix / Sarah Rhodes
Katie Noonan (1977 - )
In 2002, Brisbane-band George, led by the mesmerising Katie Noonan, exploded onto the mainstream music scene with their ARIA award-winning album, Polyserena. The record entered the charts at number one and remained there for 15 weeks. After releasing a subsequent platinum album and 10 years of sell-out tours, Katie embarked on a solo career. Her debut album, Skin (2007), is a musical celebration of motherhood, and her recent release, Blackbird (2008), is a collection of Beatles’ covers with a jazz-twist. Katie is currently touring Australia (Mar-Apr 2009).
Copyright: Newspix / Jeff Darmanin
Acclaimed actress Deborah Mailman was born in Mt Isa in 1972 and attended the Academy of Arts at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. Deborah is probably best known for her role as Kelly Lewis on the popular television drama The Secret Life of Us for which she won Logie Awards in 2002 and 2004. She has appeared in several stage productions including the all-Aboriginal Sydney Theatre Company performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as numerous films including Louis Nowra’s Radiance, for which she was named Best Actress at the 1998 Australian Film Institute Awards. Many Australian children would recognise Deborah from her regular appearances on the ABC’s Playschool program. In 2003, Deborah was named Aboriginal Person of the Year by the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) for her outstanding contribution to the Indigenous community.
- Australian Government (NAIDOC), About the Awards, 2008, viewed 26 February 2009, <http://www.naidoc.org.au/NAIDOC-awards/aboutTheAwards.aspx>.
- Queensland University of Technology, 1999, QUT Outstanding Alumni Award Winners, viewed 24 February 2009, <http://www.alumni.qut.edu.au/awards/alumniawards/1999summary.jsp>.
Copyright: Newspix / Adam Head
Anna Meares OAM (1983 - )
Born in Blackwater and raised in Middlemount, Anna completed Year 12 at Rockhampton State High School. She began cycling at age eleven and, in 2000, joined the Australian Junior track cycling team. At the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, Anna not only won Olympic gold, but also set a new world and Olympic record in the women’s 500m time trial and won bronze in the sprint. Among her many awards and honours, she was named Australian Women’s Track Cyclist of the Year in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008, and was awarded Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2005. Anna currently competes professionally as part of Team Toshiba.
Source: Australian Cycling Federation Ltd, 2009, Anna Meares OAM, viewed 12 January 2009, <http://www.cycling.org.au/default.asp?id=8754>.
Courtesy: M Davies, Personal collection
In 2005, Queenslander Melissa Davies received the Barnardos Mother of The Year Award for her dedication not only to her own two children, but to the many foster children she has had the privilege of caring for over the past seven years. As a single mother, Melissa has undertaken this role with selfless devotion and has always provided the utmost care to every child placed with her family in a caring, supportive and loving environment. Though her days are quite hectic, caring for her two sons and three permanent foster children (one of whom is intellectually-impaired), Melissa's life would not be complete without them. Her unwavering dedication to her extended family is an inspiration to all.
- Queensland Government, Department of Child Safety, 2005, Building Blocks Magazine, ‘Mother of the Year’, June, p. 15.
- Davies, M 2009, personal biography, 2 March.
Courtesy: R Barkus, personal collection
Rosie Barkus was born on Thursday Island, traditionally known as Waibene Island, in 1959. Her ancestral ties are to Moa with roots to Mabuiag and Mer Islands. When she was six months old she moved to Cairns with her father and spent her childhood living at Holloways Beach.
After moving back to Thursday Island in 1980, Barkus established a craft store on Waibene and began hand-printing textiles as a hobby. For ten years she fine tuned her skills before turning to printing professionally. Rosie prints from carved lino blocks onto fine fabrics, where the imagery used is inspired from both nature and culture.
Rosie has participated in many mainstream and Indigenous art exhibitions on both a national and international level with major cultural institutions collecting her works along the way.
In 2006 Rosie was named Torres Strait Australia Day 'Citizen of the Year' and from 2005-2008 she worked as a board member for the Australia Council for the Arts, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board.
Rosie creates and designs out of her art studio set in a tropical garden overlooking the Thursday Island harbor in the Torres Strait.
Source: Artists at Amichi, 2009, Rosie Barkus, viewed on 6 April 2009, <http://www.amichi.com.au/gallery/artists/index.shtml>.
Courtesy: K Mailman, Personal collection
Keelen Mailman (1983 - )
Keelen Mailman was astounded when she was selected as a Queensland finalist for Australian of the Year in 2007. As the first female Aboriginal cattle station manager, Keelen was given control of the Mt Tabor Station under license of the Bidjara people. With very little experience working the land, she had to quickly master her trade and manage life on the farm. She is eager to help other traditional owners and the broader community learn how commercial and cultural interests can be successfully combined in the farming industry. Keelen is also a caring foster mother whose door is always open to children in need. Recently awarded a scholarship into the Australian Rural Leadership Program, Keelen is very excited to embark upon this new challenge in 2009.
Source: Australian of the Year, 2007, ‘Queensland Finalists 2007: Australian Of The Year – Queensland’, viewed 11 December 2008, <http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au/pages/page249.asp>.
Copyright: Newspix / Brianne Makin
Gardasil ® - immunisation against cervical cancer
In 2007, the new cancer vaccine, Gardasil ®, was released for young women and girls to be immunised against the strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which cause 70% of cervical cancers.
Source: Rose, D 2008, ‘Gardasil given all-clear on reactions’, The Courier Mail, 3 December, viewed 7 January 2009, <http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24746068-5003402,00.shtml>.
Copyright: Newspix / Steve Brennan
Tania Major (1981 - )
In 2005, Tania Major became the youngest person ever elected to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. Tania’s commitment to her people and her country was cemented in 2007 when she was named Young Australian of the Year for her work in Indigenous communities. She is a role model for young Australians, working tirelessly to improve the welfare of young Indigenous people and actively fighting domestic violence.
Source: Hill-Douglas, O 2007, ‘Young Australian: Tania Major’, The Age, 26 January, viewed 5 January 2009, <http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/young-australian-tania-major/2007/01/25/1169594432321.shtml>.
Courtesy: N Hollows, personal collection
BBus (Acctg), Grad Dip CSP, Grad Dip Adv Acctg (Dist), ACIS, CA, GAICD
Nicole Hollows was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Macarthur Coal in January 2007 and Managing Director in June 2007. Prior to this Nicole held the positions of Acting CEO, Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer.
Nicole joined the group in 1998 and was appointed Company Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of Macarthur Coal (C&M Management) Pty Ltd [MCCM] then Australian Premium Coals Pty Ltd, the manager of the company’s Coppabella and Moorvale coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
In her role Nicole leads a team of over 300 employees and is recognised as one of Australia’s emerging business leaders. Nicole has more than 16 years experience in the resource sector and is also a Director of all Macarthur Coal subsidiaries.
In 2007 Nicole was appointed to the Board of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and became president of the QRC in November 2008. Nicole’s memberships include the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries Australia. In 2008 Nicole joined the QUT Faculty of Business Executive Dean's CEO Strategy Group.
Nicole was honoured in the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards in March 2009, when she was awarded the The Veuve Clicquot Rising Star Award which previously has not been given in Australia.
Source: Hollows N, 2009, personal biography, 24 April.
Courtesy: L Bond, Personal collection
Leanne Bond is a chemical engineer with 20 years' experience in design, project management, marketing and business management in the hydrocarbons, minerals processing, infrastructure, water and power industry sectors. She consults with industry through her company, Breakthrough Energy Pty Ltd.
Leanne is also a company director and board member of numerous public sector and professional membership organisations including the Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority (Seqwater), and Tarong Energy Corporation (a government-owned electricity generator). She has previously served as Chairperson of the Brisbane Water Advisory Board for the Brisbane City Council, and Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Professional Engineers in Queensland.
In 2000, Leanne was awarded the Shedden Uhde Medal for services to the profession of Chemical Engineering at the World Congress of Chemical Engineering in Melbourne. In 2002, Leeanne served as President of Engineers Australia (Queensland Division) and, in 2007, she was named Australian Professional Engineer of the Year by Engineers Australia.
Source: Bond L, 2009, personal biography, 4 March.
Courtesy: J Morris, Personal collection
Jill Morris was born in 1936. At the age of nine, following her father’s death in World War II, she wrote her first poem in the rainforest of Lamington National Park and since, has written more than 100 children’s books, mostly about wildlife and the natural environment.
Jill has worked as a producer of radio and TV, teacher, journalist, editor and publisher. She is a co-founder of Greater Glider Productions and the founder of the Book Farm at Maleny, which has inspired writers of all ages.
Jill has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship, a Dame Annabelle Rankin Award for services to children’s literature in Queensland, a Senior Honorary Fellowship from the University of the Sunshine Coast and a Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International.
In 2008, Jill wrote and produced her first independent film, celebrating Maleny history for Q150: A Peace of Green - Cornerstone of a Community.
Her major prize-winning titles include: The Wombat Who Talked to the Stars, Green Air, Nautilus Pearl of the Deep and The Boy Who Painted the Sun.
Source: J Morris, 2009, personal biography, 8 June.
Copyright: Newspix / Phil Hillyard
Stephanie Rice (1988 - )
Queensland swimmer Stephanie Rice stamped her mark on world swimming at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when she won three gold medals in the pool. Stephanie took out the 200m and 400m individual medley events, and led her team-mates to victory in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay final, knocking five seconds off the World Record. As Australia’s most successful achiever of the Games, Stephanie was chosen to carry the Australian flag in the closing ceremony.
Source: Gordon H, 2008, Australian Olympic Committee, viewed 19 January 2009, <http://corporate.olympics.com.au/athletes.cfm?AthleteID=11117>.
Norma McRae in Pakistan in 2005. Courtesy: I Woolverton, Australian Red Cross
Norma McRae AM
Sunshine Coast nurse Norma McRae has been a dedicated Red Cross worker for over 15 years. Norma is one of the organisation’s most experienced aid workers with fifteen years Red Cross experience in conflict and disaster zones across the globe having completed eleven missions (Malaysia, Afghanistan; Kenya/Sudan; Kurdistan; Tajikistan; East Timor , Bali , Banda Aceh, and Israel). She was instrumental in coordinating disaster relief for the Bali bombings in 2002, the Indonesian tsunami in 2004, and the Pakistan earthquake in 2005. In recognition of her contribution and commitment to humanitarian work, Norma received the Florence Nightingale Medal and Member of the Order of Australia (AM), 2008.
Source: Davis, M & Drayton, L 2008, ‘Healers high on awards list’, The Australian, 26 January, viewed 6 January 2009, <http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,23111016-23289,00.shtml>.
Courtesy: Dr Glenda Stone
Dr Glenda Stone
2008 saw Queensland entrepreneur Dr Glenda Stone (nee Slingsby) awarded the inaugural Australian Woman of the Year in the UK Award. Having founded Aurora, a company providing online employer perception data through wheretowork.com, Glenda's entrepreneurial success has been widely recognised. She was appointed Chair of the UK's Women's Enterprise Taskforce established by the British Prime Minister, was awarded European Businesswoman of the Year and has been featured in the British media over 500 times. An active advocate for women's equality, Glenda established a 30,000-member women's network and also launched the global internationalwomensday.com website where hundreds of events are registered each year. An active business-angel investor, Glenda also supports innovative start-ups. From her early career as a teacher in Middlemount, west of Rockhampton, and later with Queensland Treasury, this Brisbane woman has risen high.
Source: Source: Hudson, F 2007, ‘Think of the money’, The Courier Mail, 16 February, viewed 5 January 2009, <http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,21237489-3122,00.shtml>.
Courtesy: Queensland Government Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries
Dr Neena Mitter
Dr Neena Mitter, Principal Biotechnologist with the Queensland Government Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, is one of Queensland’s leading biotechnologists, having been involved in molecular biology and biotechnology in Australia and India for over 15 years. In 2008, she won the Women in Technology (WiT) University of Queensland Biotech Researcher award for her involvement in innovative projects such as the development of a needle-free vaccine for livestock, and disease-resistant horticultural crops. Neena also played a key role in the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Queensland and India for scientific collaboration in agricultural biotechnology.
Source: The State of Queensland, (Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries), 2009, Biotechnologist takes top award in technology, viewed 10 December 2008, <http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/dpi/hs.xsl/30_12046_ENA_HTML.htm>.
Courtesy: The Office of the Governor-General
Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC (1942 - )
Quentin Bryce was born in Brisbane in 1942 and spent her childhood in Ilfracombe, central western Queensland. In 1965, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland and was soon admitted to the Queensland Bar. She has since built a distinguished career as an academic, lawyer, community and human rights advocate, senior public officer, university college principal, and vice-regal representative. Quentin also served as the first Director of the Queensland Women’s Information Service with the Office of the Status of Women. On 5 September 2008, she was sworn in as the first female Governor-General of Australia. In recognition of her service to the community, particularly to women and children, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and was eventually elevated to a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).
Source: The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, 2007-2008, Their Excellencies Ms Quentin Bryce AC and Mr Michael Bryce AM AE, viewed 11 December 2008, <http://www.gg.gov.au/governorgeneral/content.php?id=40>.
Courtesy: The Office of the Governor, Queensland
Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley AO (1946 - )
Penelope Wensley was born in Toowoomba and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with First Class Honours at the University of Queensland in 1967. In 1968, Ms Wensley joined the Australian Foreign service and pursued a highly distinguished career as a diplomat, representing Australia in a wide range of overseas posts and senior policy positions until 2008, when she became Queensland's twenty-fifth Governor. Among her prestigious diplomatic appointments, she served as Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations for seven years, in both Geneva and New York, as Ambassador for the Environment, High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to France. She has been awarded honorary Doctorates by both the University of Queensland and Griffith University. In 1994, the University of Queensland named her as the first woman Alumnus of the year. In 2001, Penelope was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for her distinguished contributions to Australia's international relations.
- Downer, A 1997, Commonwealth of Australia, FA89 - Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York, viewed 27 November 2008, <http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/1997/fa89_97.shtml>.
- Office of the Governor, Queensland, 2008, Biography of Her Excellency Ms Penelope Wensley AO, viewed 11 December 2008, <http://www.govhouse.qld.gov.au/the_governor/biography_Penelope_Wensley.aspx>
Photographer: Nick Falconer
Olympic weightlifter and sporting all-rounder, Deborah Lovely, is one of Ipswich’s most successful daughters. In 2007, she was named Ipswich Young Citizen of the Year and Senior Sportsperson of the Year. Her impressive resumé includes three silver medals in weightlifting events at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and a gold medal in the 75kg event at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. In Beijing in 2008, she became the first woman to represent Australia at two Olympic Games in weightlifting (following Athens in 2004). But Deb’s sporting talents are hardly limited to weights. She also excels at soccer, rugby, cycling and track and field events including the discus, hammer throw, javelin and shot put. In addition to presenting ‘Choices’ on Brisbane family radio station 96.5FM (a program aimed at teaching high school students about making good life choices), she also coaches at St Edmund’s College and Anglican Church Grammar School, encouraging girls into the field of weightlifting. Deb married Joshua Acason in December of 2008 and she is currently studying law and criminology at Griffith University.
Source: Lovely, D 2008 ‘Deborah Lovely’, viewed 9 March, 2009 <http://www.lovelydeb.com/index.shtml>.
Courtesy: P Hackworth, personal collection
At the age of 22 and as a single mum, colourful Brisbane identity Peter Hackworth opened ‘Primitif’ café in Piccadilly Arcade, Queen Street. Primitif boasted European style cuisine (which the public then called wop food) and some of the finest musicians visiting town. She even introduced Sunday night jazz, in an era where live music was not allowed on a Sunday.
Primitif went under in the 1974 flood having survived 17 years. For almost half a century Peter’s flamboyant restaurants have livened up the Brisbane scene including, Great American Disaster, Manouche, Scaramouche and Cat’s Tango.
Due to her links into the arts scene, Peter is also responsible for establishing numerous iconic Brisbane markets including the Riverside Market, South Bank Market, West End Green Flea Market and her latest endeavour has been developing the Kelvin Grove Urban Village Precinct Market (2008).
Peter continues to work and dream and believes you can achieve anything if you have the passion, courage, belief and determination to follow your heart.
Source: Hackworth P, 2009, personal biography, 8 April.
Courtesy: M Laurie, personal collection
Toowoomba-born Meshel Laurie has been a professional comedian, writer and actor since 1994. She currently co-hosts Brisbane's top rating Nova 106.9 breakfast radio show and appears regularly on television programs such as Spicks and Specks, Stand Up, Rove and Good News Week.
In 2008 Meshel narrated Roller Derby Dolls, a documentary about roller derby, and made her feature film acting debut in Subdivision. She was also a judge for the 2008 Brisbane International Film Festival.
Meshel has performed seasons of various one-woman shows at the Sydney Opera House, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival, and has performed in the last 14 Melbourne International Comedy Festivals.
Source: Laurie M, 2009, personal biography, 26 March.
Courtesy: K Miller-Heidke, Personal collection
Kate Miller-Heidke started writing songs at 13 years old. She was trained as a classical singer at the Queensland Conservatorium (1999-2003), and despite winning awards for her operatic soprano, embarked upon a career in popular music.
Her first album, Little Eve, was nominated for five ARIA awards, and is certified Gold. Kate's sophomore album, Curiouser resulted in her first top 10 album and top 40 single Can't Shake It.
Kate has built a large and loyal national following, and tours continually with her band. Renowned for her blistering live performances, Kate was presented with the Folk Alliance Award for the most CDs sold at festivals in 2006. She has also won a Helpmann Award for Best Performance in a Contemporary Concert (2005).
In May 2009, Kate and her collaborator Keir Nuttall were the first Australians to win the Grand Prize in the International Songwriting Competition for their poignant song Caught in the Crowd. The judges, including Tom Waits, Robert Smith, Ray Davies and Neil Finn, were unanimous.
Kate and Keir's song Can't Shake It has recently been nominated for an APRA award, in the prestigious peer-voted Song of the Year category.
Source: K Miller-Heidke, 2009, personal biography, 3 June.
Copyright: Department of Communities 2009
Aunty Valda Coolwell
A Gooreng Gooreng woman born in Bundaberg, Aunty Valda Coolwell moved to Brisbane in 1957 and has worked tirelessly for her community ever since. Through her involvement in a vast range of volunteer activities, she has devoted her life to supporting and guiding people in need while also raising five children. Aunty Valda has been a member of the Brisbane Council of Elders for 13 years and the Chairperson for the past four years. As part of this role, she regularly visits and mentors Indigenous women at the Women’s Prison and the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre. She also regularly donates her time to sit on the boards of many other community-based organisations such as the Bahloo shelter which houses young Indigenous people, and the Brisbane Women’s Legal Service.
Aunty Valda has a personal interest and special commitment to working with migrant women, by welcoming and supporting them to settle into Brisbane. For many years, she has opened the doors of her home to anyone in need, demonstrating kindness and hospitality and providing inspiration to other women of the personal satisfaction that can be gained from helping those less fortunate. She is a member of the Indigenous and South Sea Islander communities in Queensland. Through her efforts, she has touched the lives of countless women from a diversity of cultures across Queensland, and helped to inspire the values of integrity, respect and community spirit among others.
Aunty Valda was awarded the Office for Women's 2009 Great Queensland Woman Award.
Source: Valda Coolwell, interview, 3 December 2009
Copyright: Department of Communities 2009
Mrs Judith Noble
As a volunteer leader with more than 40 years involvement with Girl Guides Australia, Judith has mentored an extremely large number of young Queensland girls to challenge themselves and aspire to be the best they can. As a mother of two, Judith’s ability to motivate others started at home. Today, she is a well-respected member of her local community and often renowned as the ‘backbone’ of the Girls Guides Jindalee District. Her enthusiasm and dedication to improving the lives of young women, and her ability to motivate and inspire, saw her appointed to the position of Women of Substance Adviser for Girl Guides Queensland. In this role, she co-ordinated a program that skills teenage girls in critical decision-making via mentoring and other support from professional and business women. She continues to support this program as a Woman of Substance member.
Judith also regularly donates her time to other community-based organisations such as the Guiding and the Community and Brisbane Centenary Rotary Club. Judith has made available her home to many overseas students and visitors through Rotary and Guiding over the years. In addition to positively influencing the lives of individual Girls Guides, she also positively impacted the lives of their mothers and the various teams of female leaders for which she has been responsible for over the years. Judith has devoted her life to inspiring a volunteer ethos in younger generations and nurturing tomorrow’s community leaders, while also overcoming a range of personal difficulties. Judith was a highly commended finalist in the Office for Women’s 2009 Great Queensland Woman Award.
Source: Judith Noble, interview, 3 December 2009
Courtesy Radmila Desic, personal collection
Ms Radmila Desic
Radmila emigrated to Brisbane, where she lives today, from the former Yugoslavia in 1980. Since earning a Certificate III in Carpentry and Joinery in 1996, she has coordinated many programs for women and girls in her efforts to recruit more women to the construction industry.
Radmila has led by example to challenge female stereotypes and has become a positive role model and active mentor for young women completing their construction industry apprenticeships. Through her work with Construction Skills Queensland and as President of the Queensland Chapter of the National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC) in a volunteer capacity, she has achieved success in exposing the sector to the positive and valuable contribution women can make in building and construction.
Radmila was a finalist in the Great Queensland Woman category of the Queensland Government’s Our Women, Our State Awards 2009. She won the NAWIC Crystal Vision Award in 2004, and the Office for Women Achievement as Business Woman Award, also in 2004.
An all-round achiever, Radmila also represented Queensland in rugby league from 1994-1996 and was awarded the Queensland Women’s Rugby League’s Best Forward title in 1995.
Source: Radmila Desic, interview, 10 December 2009
Women in pictures
A collection of images relating to women from 2000 - 2009.
All photographs, artwork and other images displayed in this gallery are protected by copyright law. These works are not to be reproduced or used in any form without the written permission of the Office for Women and/or the copyright owner indicated on each image.
Did you know?
- 2000 - The Queensland Pay Equity Inquiry found that the gender pay gap was between 11 and 17%, and was particularly marked in industrially weak workforces where knowledge of industrial rights was lower
- 2001 - Queensland Parliament attained the highest proportion of women representatives of any Australian parliament, and one of the highest proportions in the world, with 33 of the 89 elected members being women
- 2002 - There were 47,771 births in Queensland (with a ratio of 12.9 births per 1000 residents)
- 2003 - There were 22,273 marriages (with a ratio of 5.9 marriages to 1000 residents) and 10,681 divorces (with a ratio of 2.8 divorces to 1000 residents) in Queensland
- 2004 - The life expectancy of females in Qld was 82.8 years
- 2005 - The total population of females in Queensland was 2,026,251 (with a ratio of 99.6 males to 100 females)
- 2006 - Women comprised of 46.3% of the state workforce
- 2006 - The average age of women in Queensland was 37.7 years
- 2007 - There were 273,858 females in Queensland who were aged 65 and over, about 13.1% of all Queensland females
Last updated 8 January 2010