One of the most influential agricultural entomologists in history was an insatiably curious and fiercely independent woman named Eleanor Anne Ormerod. She never went to school - nor was she paid for her work.
Pat Larter (England; Australia, b.1936, d.1996) Pat’s anger 1992.
acrylic and mixed media on board, 91 x 60.5 cm; 92.5 x 62 cm.
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Gift of Frank Watters 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program © Estate of Pat Larter. Photo: AGNSW 32.2018
Best known as the subject of her husband Richard's work, Pat Larter was herself a major artist.
Grata Flos Greig, First Female Law Graduate, c1904, University of Melbourne. Flos was the first woman admitted to the Australian legal profession.
University of Melbourne Archives, UMA/I/5131
When Flos Greig first entered law school, it was illegal for women to become lawyers. Undeterred, she lobbied for change and became the first woman admitted to the legal profession in Australia.
Isabel, on left, when she was working for Mangankali Housing Company, talking to politicians and/or bureaucrats on the Wollai, the Aboriginal reserve at Collarenebri.
Family collection, provided to author.
Denied an education in 1930s Australia because she was too black, Isabel Flick went on to fight segregation at her local cinema in the early 1960s. She became a powerful campaigner for Indigenous rights.
The National Museum of Iraq photographed in February 2018. Many of the pieces discovered at the ruins of Ur, arranged and labelled by Ennigaldi-Nanna, can be found here.
Ennigaldi-Nanna is largely unknown in the modern day. But in 530BC, this Mesopotamian priestess worked to arrange and label various artefacts in the world's first museum.
Eliza Winstanley, Carte de visite, circa 1860. TCS 19, Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Eliza Winstanley, who died of diabetes and exhaustion in Sydney in 1882, is largely forgotten. But as a leading artist on Australia’s earliest stages she deserves a prominent place in our theatrical histories.
Map of New France, by Samuel de Champlain (1612), including French depictions of First Nations peoples.
Antoinette de Saint-Étienne was a Canadian First Nations woman of the 17th century whose beautiful singing voice attracted the attention of a queen.
Fanny Finch’s 1856 voting card.
Castlemaine Art Museum
Decades before most white Australian women were granted the right to vote, a businesswoman and single mother of four took to the polls and signed a ballot paper.
Hsieh Hsüeh-hung and her partner in life and politics Yang K'o-huang in Beijing, 1949.
At her birth in 1901 she was registered with the name 'girlie', not really a name at all. But from this assigned anonymity, Hsieh Hsüeh-hung became a courageous and tenacious revolutionary.
Letham with her board.
Dee Why library.
Isabel Letham was one of the first Australians to ride the waves. After moving to the US in 1918, she became an epitome of the modern woman: economically independent, physically daring and unapologetically ambitious.
A colour portrait of Maria Sibylla Merian by Dutch artist Jacobus Houbraken, circa 1700.
Maria Sibylla Merian's meticulous observations laid the groundwork for the fields of entomology, animal behaviour and ecology. But the legacy of this scientific superhero has been sidelined by sexism.
Standard of Ur mosaic, 26th century BC.
Enheduanna's name means 'Ornament of Heaven'. She wrote hymns and myths more than 4000 years ago, studied the stars and yet is almost entirely unknown in the present day.
An 1808 painting by Marie-Gabrielle Capet titled Atelier of Madame Vincent, showing Labille-Guiard at work (centre) as Capet fills her palette.
Adélaïde Labille-Guiard was a supremely skilled artist. But like so many talented women before and since, she suffered from snide allegations that she could not be capable of such brilliance.
MIss Fury had cat claws, stiletto heels and a killer make-up compact.
Miss Fury was the first female superhero written and drawn by a woman. The comic in which she featured was syndicated in 100 newspapers but her creator has largely been excluded from the pantheon of comic greats.
Kathleen McArthur (left) and Judith Wright (right) wildflowering at Currimundi in 1961.
Photo by Alex Jelinek. Courtesy Alexandra Moreno
Wildflower artist Kathleen McArthur led one of Australia's first major conservation battles, over Queensland's Cooloola region. Yet this canny activist is rarely mentioned in most accounts of the campaign.
María was murdered in front of the San Agustin Church in Manila (pictured). Her killer was later executed on the same spot.
The story of María invites us to consider how the powerless could assert personal autonomy in their lives and how we can hear traces of the voiceless in the archives.
Mary Jane Cain (centre) with granddaughters Miley Barker and Molly Chatfield and her great niece Josephine.
The sun dancin' : people and place Coonabarabran (Aboriginal Studies Press, 1994)
In the late 1880s, Gomeroi woman Mary Jane Cain began petitioning Britain for land rights. A matriarch and Queen to her people, she recovered 600 acres that became home to displaced Aboriginal families.
An Attic red-figure kylix from Vulci (Italy), 440-430 BC, depicting King Aigeus in front of the Pythia at the Oracle of Delphi.
In a time and place that offered few career opportunities for women, the role of priestess at Delphi was enormously influential. She was consulted on everything from warfare to love to public policy.
Portrait of Ruby Lindsay, published in The drawings of Ruby Lind, 1920.
Often overshadowed by her famous brothers, Ruby Lindsay found ways to challenge the restrictive gender roles of early-20th Century Australia.
Portrait of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, c. 1500, by Gentile Bellini.
One of the most significant woman of Venice’s golden age, Cornaro was an important figure in Renaissance politics, diplomacy and arts.