Students at the University of Sydney

Early women students

Ann Flora Froude Flashman (later Rylah)

Ann Flora Froude Flashman (later Rylah) was the first woman to enrol in the Sydney University Faculty of Veterinary Science (1930) and the second woman to graduate (1936).

The first paid veterinarian at the Lost Dog's Home in North Melbourne, Ann set up her own practice in Victor Street, Kew, wrote newspaper articles and books about animals, and was a keen member of and contributor to the Victorian Division of the Australian Veterinary Association.


Her early years

Ann Flora Froude Flashman was born in Sydney, the only daughter of Dr James Froude Flashman, BA BSc MB ChM MD Sydney and Mrs Irene Flora Froude Flashman.

Her father's career included being senior medical officer and pathologist, first at Parramatta and afterwards at Callan Park Hospitals for the Insane, and pathologist and lecturer at the University of Sydney. He then entered private practice. When WWI broke out he offered his services as medical officer, and was sent to England, where he was placed in charge of No. 3 Hospital, at Wandsworth, chiefly used for Australian wounded. In 1917 he was transferred to France to take charge of the hospital at Boulogne, where he contracted pneumonia, and died suddenly.

Ann was educated at the Ascham School for Girls, and matriculated in 1929.

Her student days at the University of Sydney

She enrolled in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at Sydney University in 1930.

Her final year essay on duodenal ulcers in dogs was published in the Australian Veterinary Journal, and she was awarded the STD Symons prize for clinical subjects.

Final year practical work was undertaken at the Berri Experimental Farm chaperoned by Pat Littlejohn.

Anne Flashman, the first woman Veterinary Science student, admitted in 1930.

Flashman at Berry c1933, photo, Faculty of Veterinary Science website

Littlejohn and Flashman

Patricia Littlejohn (later Abbott) on the left who was first woman to graduate Bachelor of Veterinary Science, in 1935, and Flashman on the right at Berry Training Farm c1934, photo, Faculty of Veterinary Science website.


Because she repeated a year, she graduated Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1936, enabling Patricia Littlejohn to become the first woman graduate in 1935.

Her brother James Allen graduated Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1936.

Her career

After graduating, Ann moved to Melbourne and joined the staff of the Lost Dog's Home in North Melbourne as its first paid veterinarian. She also worked for the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in North Melbourne.

1936

Ann was appointed veterinary officer to the Dogs Home and Animal Hospital in North Melbourne, photo, The Argus, 14 January 1936, National Library of Australia.

1936

A slightly later photo of Ann working at the Dogs Home and Animal Hospital in North Melbourne, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 8 February 1936, National Library of Australia.


In 1937 she married Arthur Gordon Rylah, who held a prominent position in the Victorian Government, and set up her own practice in Victor Street, Kew. They had two children.

Ann wrote a column called Pet Talk in the 'Melbourne Herald' under the pseudonym John Wotherspoon. These columns continued until the 1960s and were followed by two books: 'The Australian Pet Book' (1962) and 'The Australian Dog Book' (1971).

Mrs A G Rylah in 1955

Mrs A G Rylah in 1955, photo from 'The Argus', 6 May 1955, National Library of Australia.


Ann was a keen member of and contributor to the Victorian Division of the Australian Veterinary Association and became its Vice-President.

She also devoted much time and care to fostering the Guiding Movement in Victoria.

Ann died from a cerebral haemorrhage on 15 March 1969.


Information sources