On Australia Day three eminent alumna of Sydney University – The Hon Elizabeth Evatt AC AO (LLB ’55), Professor Germaine Greer (MA ’63 DLitt ’05) and Dr Anne Summers AO (PhD ’79) and one Friend – Professor Eva Cox AO – joined the ranks of Australians immortalised on a postage stamp.
Ahmed Fahour, Australia Post managing director and CEO, said this year’s award celebrates the remarkable contributions the women have made to public life and women’s rights in Australia.
“These passionate individuals have worked tirelessly to champion the rights of women and they continue to campaign against obstacles that women still face today,” Mr Fahour said. “The stamps will be a permanent reminder of the indelible mark these four outstanding women have made on Australian society through the advancement of gender equality.”
The latest Legends rose to prominence during the ’70s, working since then – and continuing to do so – to address the issues facing women in Australia, and internationally, through their writing, activism, judicial work, advocacy or a combination of these activities.
Journalist and author Dr Summers said, “I hope the fact there are four women on Australian stamps at the time of International Women’s Day and the centenary of International Women’s Day will contribute to awareness about women’s issues and the continuing need to fight for equality for women in Australia. I hope it will encourage people to realise that the fight for women’s equality is not yet over.”
Former judge Elizabeth Evatt said she is, “proud to be in such eminent company. I hope they will increase people’s knowledge and understanding of women’s fight for equality over the years. I think those of us involved in it would like to feel that we represent a whole larger group of women who have been in the same battle.”
Academic and author Germaine Greer said, “I think it’s very funny. I wish my poor old Dad were alive to see it. It might have made up for some of the embarrassment I’ve caused him. My mother would have said, ‘what is she doing on a stamp?’ I’m delighted to be with three distinguished Australian women and not to be singled out as some sort of rara avis.”
Dr Summers added that she too is honoured to be on a stamp. “It’s a very strange feeling to know that your image will be on letters going all around the country, or possibly all around the world,” she said.
Social justice, change and women’s advocate Eva Cox, said, as someone who arrived in Australia as “a refugee kid”, that she’s delighted with the recognition. “I think it’s terrific and I’m going to encourage women around Australia to do a lot of posting. The women who’ve been picked have all made a difference in a not so conventional way, and I think that’s a really good lesson for people to understand – that there are lots of ways of making a difference. I’m also pleased that we’re all still here and still working. That makes a difference too.”
We in the alumni community are also delighted that these exemplary women, whose own lives and careers have been so influenced by their experiences at the University, continue to inspire and challenge the generations following them.
The Legends feature on 4 x 60c stamps, a stamp pack, first day cover and set of maxicards. A commemorative biography, Trailblazers: The Road to Equality, by Kay O’Sullivan, accompanies the issue. They can be purchased at participating Australia Post outlets or online at www.auspost.com.au/legends.
The Australia Post Australian Legends Award began 14 years ago when Sir Donald Bradman was the first living person, other than a ruling monarch, to feature on an Australian stamp.