Students at the University of Sydney

Early women students

Margaret Anne Ramsay (later Brebner)

Margaret Anne (Meg) Ramsay (later Brebner) was one of first four women admitted to the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture course (1917) and one of its first two women graduates (1921).


Her early years

Margaret Ramsay attended the West Maitland Girls' High School and passed the Leaving Certificate in 1916.

Her student days at the University of Sydney

Margaret was admitted to the Department of Agricultural Science in the Faculty of Science, University of Sydney in 1917, together with fellow West Maitland students Lorna Byrne and Muriel Hatton.

Part of the practical training for the course was at Hawkesbury Agricultural College, and in 1920 she married Charles Walter Brebner, a former New Zealander and an engineer at the College since 1914. His first wife had died of pneumonia the previous year.

In 1920 the Department of Agricultural Science in the Faculty of Science became a separate faculty, the Faculty of Agriculture.

Margaret Brebner graduated Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with Lorna Byrne in 1921, the first two females to graduate with this degree.

Meg Ramsey, Lorna Byrne and Mollie Boag at a palaeontological excursion to Gerringong in 1919

From left: Meg Ramsey, Lorna Byrne (Hayter) and Mollie Boag at a palaeontological excursion to Gerringong in 1919, photo provided by Mary Stewart Jefferson (nee Boag), from 'The Gazette', February 1983.

Lorna Byrne (Hayter) and Margaret Ramsay (Brebner).

From left: Lorna Byrne (Hayter) and Margaret Ramsay (Brebner) in academic dress, G3_224_1338, University of Sydney Archives.

Her career

After she left university, Margaret settled into married life with Charles in Richmond. She was involved with the Richmond Horticultural Society, winning prizes in its regular shows and exhibitions, and they were both involved with the Golf Club.

In 1934 they moved from the Hawkesbury Agricultural College to Westmead where he had been appointed electrical engineer at Lidcombe State Hospital.


Information sources