Early women students

Louisa Wilson

Louisa Wilson was the first woman Pharmacy students at the University of Sydney in 1900, and in 1902 she became the first academically trained woman to register as a pharmacist in NSW.

Her early life

At the University of Sydney

Louisa Wilson was apprenticed to a pharmacist, and in 1900 was the first woman student to enrol in the Pharmacy course at the University of Sydney, in the second cohort of 20 unmatriculated Pharmacy students.

She gained the following results:

  • 1900:
    - Botany - Honours Class II
    - Materia Medica - Pass
  • 1901:
    - Chemistry (Introductory) - Pass
    - Chemistry (Metals) - Pass
    - Chemistry (Organic) - Pass
    - Chemistry (Practical) - Pass

She then passed the Pharmacy Board of NSW examination and was registered on 12 June 1902, becoming the first academically trained woman to register as a pharmacist in NSW.

Her career

In 1903 she started business as a chemist at Killara, where she remained until 1918.

"Miss Wilson always held that her profession was one especially suitable for women, and proved it by her own work and that of the two girls whom she trained. She was a capable dispenser, and, because of that fact and of her own kindly disposition, was well thought of by residents of the district. Several North Shore doctors showed their confidence in her by sending their own family prescriptions to her shop", Sunday Times, 13 April 1919.

She died during the flu epidemic in April 1919.


The late Miss Louisa Wilson photographed in her dispensary, image from the Sunday Times, 13 April 1919, National Library of Australia

Information sources

  • University of Sydney Calendar archive
  • NSW State Records
  • Sunday Times, 13 April 1919