Students at the University of Sydney

Early women students and graduates

In 1881 Senate unanimously decided to allow the admission of women, and the passing of the University Amendment Act in 1884 secured the legal rights of women at Sydney University.

Of the first nine Bachelor of Architecture students in 1918, four were women.

While this webpage focusses on the early women Architecture students and graduates, it also includes a number of recent women Architecture graduates.

On this webpage:


Click on the larger images for enlargement.

View more information and photos about early Architecture students.


Faculty of Architecture 1920

Milestones

1884:     The study of architecture at the University of Sydney began as an elective in the Bachelor of Engineering program in the new Department of Engineering, Faculty of Science, and was also offered as an option in the Master of Engineering degree.
  A part-time Lecturer in Architecture was appointed and the annual 30 lectures, although designed for Engineering students, were open to other students. Additional lectures on architectural design were introduced, largely for the benefit of architects' articled clerks and not compulsory for University engineering students.
1918: Senate approved the establishment of a Department of Architecture within the Faculty of Science, the first Architecture degree in Australia and a Chair of Architecture, with Leslie Wilkinson appointed to the position.
  Women formed a considerable proportion of students at the Sydney University architecture school from its inception. (6)
  Nine students enrolled, four of whom were women: Leonore (Lorna) Lukin (later Phillips), Beryl McLaughlin BSc Sydney, Ellice Nosworthy and Mary Sheffer.
1920: The Department of Architecture was given faculty status and Wilkinson was elected Dean, a position he held until his retirement in 1949.
  There were 31 students enrolled in the Faculty that year, 21 men and 10 women.
  Accommodation for the Faculty consisted of one large studio under the original Fisher Library (now MacLaurin Hall) and a lecture room. 
1922: Enrolments comprised 25 men and 21 women.
  The first three women to graduate Bachelor of Architecture, together with five men, were Leonore (Lorna) Lukin (later Phillips)Beryl McLaughlin and Ellice Nosworthy.
1929: Another 16 women had graduated Bachelor of Architecture by 1929.
1930s: 14 women graduated Bachelor of Architecture, including Helen Turner who was the first woman to graduate Bachelor of Architecture with honours - second class - in 1930.
1940s: 24 of the 66 Architecture graduates were women, including Judith Moreau (later Macintosh) who was the first woman to graduate Bachelor of Architecture with first class honours and to receive the University medal in Architecture, in 1944. She was also awarded the University's Sir John Sulman Prize for Design.
1950s: 45 women and 240 men graduated in Architecture.
  However, there was still a widely held belief that women architects were best suited to domestic projects, and women architects received lower pay than men. Women students felt that there was still a great deal of prejudice against them, even within the Faculty.
  The Wilkinson Building was completed in 1959.
1960s: – Leonie Black was the first woman Master of Architecture graduate, in 1961.
– Antoinette Logan was the first woman Master of Town and Country Planning graduate, in 1967.
– Valerie Havyatt and Carolyn Mather were the first women to graduate Master of Building Science, in 1968.
1970s: Carolyn Mather was the first woman to be awarded the Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture - in 1971 - for her work on Building Science.
1980s: Numbers of female students were gradually climbing, with 135 women graduates, while the numbers of male students remained constant, with 274 graduating. (6)
1990s: In 1992 and 1995, more women than men graduated in Architecture (52% and 56.9% respectively).
2000s: The Faculty was renamed the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning in 2006 in recognition of the development of activities beyond architecture in which the Faculty is involved.
2012: Total enrolments in Architecture as at 31 March were 537 women and 690 men.
  However, while in Australia women graduate from architecture in roughly equal numbers to men, the number of women practising architecture is much smaller than the number of men practising architecture. Of the 11,090 registered architects in Australia, only 2,290 are women (20.6%) (8). The numbers drop even further when women rise - or don't rise - to senior roles.

Gallery

In the early 1900s
Florence Parsons (later Taylor)

Florence Parsons (later Taylor) was the 1st woman architect in Australia. A clerk in an architect's office, then articled as a junior draftsman, she later enrolled as a night student in the architecture course at Sydney Techical College which she completed in 1904. It was reported that she attended lectures in architecture at Sydney University (7), photo Mitchell Library, State Library, Digital order no a138200

In the 1920s
Ellice Nosworthy

Ellice Nosworthy, one of the first three women Architecture graduates, in 1922, photo G3_224_1351 taken in 1922, University Archives. Her practice employed many women architects and played an important role in offering work to women colleagues.

Beryl McLaughlin

Beryl McLaughlin was another of the first three women Architecture graduates, in 1922, photo, courtesy, Blue Mountains Historical Society.

Leonora (Lorna) Lukin (later Phillips) 

Leonore Lukin (later Phillips)
another of the first 3 women
Architecture graduates,
(1922), photo, The Australian
Women's Weekly,
12 January
1935,
NLA
. One of  the first
women architects in Australia
to practise on her own, she
was an architect in Melbourne
for a year after graduating.
After her marriage she
maintained her interest in
architecture, & as honorary
architect to the Melbourne
Lyceum Club, designed its
new  premises. 

 
Nell McCredie

Nell McCredie graduated
Bachelor of Architecture
in 1923, photo from
The Sydney Morning
Herald,
20 October 1936
, NLA.
She became an architect
& a well-known potter. 

 
Rosina Edmunds 
Rosina Edmunds graduated
Bachelor of Architecture in
1924, photo taken in 1946,
 Sydney Morning Herald,
1 May 1946,
NLA
She had a Canberra practice,
 became a town-planning
officer with the Cumberland
County Council and was the
first woman in NSW to be
made a Fellow of the Royal
Australian Institute of
Architects.
 
Eugenie Wickham-Lawes
Eugenie Kirkpatrick
(later Wickham-Lawes)
graduated
BArch in 1924, photo
taken in 1945,  Sydney
Morning Herald, 31 July
1945, NLA.
She practised as
an architect before her
marriage in 1928. Enlisting
in WW2, she coordinated
all WAAF buildings in
Australia & designed camps
& buildings for air force strips.
 
 
Jean Alison Cunningham
Jean Cunningham
 
(later Showers)
graduated BArch in 1925,
photo, SMH 12 August 1925,
National Library of Australia. 
She married into a
"naval career" in 1927 
before she could continue
her profession
(Sunday Herald, 4.6.50).
 
Olive Cannan

Olive Cannan (later Withy)
graduated Bachelor
of Architecture in 1926,
photo from the
'Queensland Figaro',
12 May 1928
, NLA
She undertook additional
study in the United States
and practised in Brisbane
on a part-time basis.

 
Marjorie Holroyde

Marjorie Hudson (later Holroyde)
graduated Bachelor of
Architecture in 1926.
Until her death in 2008, 
she was
probably
the oldest living female
graduate of Architecture.
 

 
 Heather Sutherland (later Moir)

Heather Sutherland (later Moir)
 graduated
Bachelor of Architecture
in 1926. She was a
Canberra architect
in partnership with her
husband Malcolm Moir
from the 1930s to
the 1950s, photo,
The Courier-Mail,
13 November 1952,
NLA 

 
Winsome Hall

Winsome Hall graduated
 Bachelor of Architecture
in 1928, photo from 
Sydney Morning Herald, 
 
6 March 1937
, NLA.
She was a partner with
her husband in the firm of
Andrew and Hall, and a
feminist who spoke to
new women students
about women's rights.

 

 

In the 1930s
Barbara Peden
Barbara Peden (later Munro)
graduated BArch in 1930,
photo, Sydney Morning Herald,
28 December 1929, NLA.
She was an architect in
England and Canada,
then returned to Sydney
in 1941 where she
continued as a practising
architect.   
 
Helen Alma Newton Turner 


 Helen Turner was the first
woman at the University to
graduate BArch with Honours
(second class), in 1930,
photo, The West
Australian
,
16 August 1938,
NLA
. She began a scientific
career that would see
her recognised as one
of the pioneers of
sheep
breeding internationally.

 
 
Hilary Lawrence
Hilary Lawrence
(later a'Beckett)
graduated BArch in 1931,
photo, Sydney Morning
Herald, 6 May 1930
, NLA
A practising architect in
Wagga for four years, 
she planned to continue
her practice after her
marriage in 1937
(SMH, 8.4.36).
 
Catherine Helen Dalrymple Wood  
Catherine Wood
(later Brink) graduated
in 1934, the only woman
graduate  that year, photo,
SMH, 12 February 1937, NLA.
She travelled for 2 years
after graduating, with
alternate periods of work
as an architect in London.
She returned to London 
intending to specialise in
the design of film sets (SMH,
12.2.1937). In 1950 she
married a Swedish architect
in London.
 
Kathleen Moss
Kathleen Rutherford
(later Moss) graduated BArch
in 1935, photo, Sydney
Morning Herald, 26 June 1936,
National Library of Australia.
Designing her own cottage
at Palm Beach in 1935, 
she married in 1936,
moving to Gilgandra where
she raised a family.
 
Eleanor Grant (later Cullis-Hill) Eleanor Grant (later Cullis-Hill)
graduated in 1938, photo,
Sydney Morning Herald, 22
October 1938, NLA.
 Working
from her home office
she successfully combined
a long-term, busy
design business with
raising a large family.
She designed kindergartens
and some 30 houses
in neighbouring Warrawee,
Turramurra, Pymble &
Wahroonga.
 

1938

A female student at work on architectural plans, photo, The West Australian, 10 August 1938, National Library of Australia.

Marion Hall Best
Marion Hall Best,
one of Australia’s most important
and influential 20th century
interior designers, was in
First Year Architecture in 1939;
photo, The Sunday Herald,
14 September 1952,  
National Library of Australia.
 

In the 1940s
Judith Macintosh

Judith Moreau (later Macintosh) was the first woman to graduate Bachelor of Architecture with first class honours and the University medal in Architecture, in 1944. She was also awarded the University's Sir John Sulman Prize for Design, The photo of Judith Macintosh is courtesy of her daughter, Kerrie Barnett.

Mary Wishart (later Dawson)

 
Mary Wishart (later Dawson)
also graduated BArch in 1944,
photo, The Advertiser, 6
September 1950, National
Library of Australia
.
In 1949 she was elected to
associate membership of the
Royal Victorian Institute of
Architects. Married the 
following year, she raised
a family.

 
 Elizabeth Mary Pilcher (later Causwell)
Elizabeth Pilcher (later
Causwell) graduated in 1945,
photo, SMH 23 April 1946, NLA.
She studied architecture at
Harvard & gained qualifications
in Town Planning from Edinburgh
in 1952.  After working as an
architect in Australia, she
worked in Canada & the USA,
and settled in Jamaica where
she worked as a government
planner 1964-1980. She
returned to Australia in 1989.
 
Gene Marsali Turner
Gene Turner
graduated BArch in 1945,
photo, The Sun Herald,
24 July 1949, 
NLA.
She said she wanted to
design nursery schools and
plan for
social reconstruction
undertakings.
 Initially she 
worked in the office of
her
father, Sydney architect
D K Turner, (Narandera
Angus & Riverina Advertiser,
28.8.45).

 
 
Elizabeth Mary Wilkinson (later Hare) 
The younger daughter of
Professor Leslie Wilkinson,
Elizabeth Wilkinson
(later Hare) graduatedin 1947,
winning the Sir John Pulman
Prize for Design, photo,
The Sun Herald, 24 July 1949,
NLA. She went to England and 
spent 7 months at Middlesex
County Council helping to
design school buildings,
then toured Europe with her
father. She married a Geelong
Grammar schoolmaster in
1949 (SMH, 1.2.49).

 

Valerie Lhuendé

Valerie Lhuendé AM graduated Bachelor of Architecture in 1947, graduation photo, courtesy Valerie Lhuendé, and is also a photographer and writer. She gained her Australia Medal for the conservation and restoration of the early 1900's mining town of Yerranderie in the Blue Mountains. She donated the town to the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 2011.

1949 women graduates

Moira Kennedy (later Foley), Ethel Hyland, Nenette Minasi (with honours) (later Lorimer), Pamela Cridland (later Miller) and Mrs Valerie Havyatt (nee Luker) were the only women among the 17 Architecture graduates whose degrees were conferred on 25 June 1949, photo, The Sunday Herald, 26 June 1949, National Library of Australia.

In the 1950s
Helen Pulling, Winsome Shand and Marie Newnan

Helen Pulling, Winsome Shand (later Kelman) - who won the Sir John Sulman prize for design for an office block and graduated with honours – and Marie Newnan received their degrees in Architecture on 14 June 1950, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 1950, National Library of Australia.

 Helen Pulling (later Wharton)

Helen Pulling (later
Wharton) graduated BArch in
1950. She worked for the
Ministry of Works in
London, then married
Harold Wharton & lived in
Malaya until 1963. Their
first leave was spent in a
new house Helen had
designed, photo,
Sunday Herald, 3 April 1949,
NLA

Winsome Shand (later Kelman) on her wedding day in 1952 

Winsome Shand (later
Kelman) graduated BArch
with honours & the Sir
John Sulman prize for design
for an office block in 1950,
photo, The Australian
Women's Weekly,
16 July 1952,
NLA. She
was employed by Ellice Nosworthy
in her practice, and worked
for the NSW public service.

Elizabeth Johnston Miller (later Stringer)

Elizabeth Miller (later Stringer) 
graduated BArch with honours
 in 1950. While working in a city
architectural firm,
she and her fiance & fellow 1950
Architecture graduate Richard
Stringer designed and built
their home in Dundas.  
Elizabeth is pictured
lining up the theodolite
for the building, photo,
The Sunday Herald,
22 July 1950,
National Library of Australia.



Margaret Harvey-Sutton  


Margaret Harvey-Sutton
graduated Bachelor of
Architecture in 1952,
photo, The Sydney
Morning Herald,,
24 January 1952, NLA,
She was Principal Planning
Officer of Woollahra
Municipal Council.

 

 
Mary Horsley (later Burns) 

Mary Horsley (later Burns)
graduated Bachelor of
Architecture in 1952,
photo, The Sydney Morning
Herald,,
24 January 1952,
NLA.
She then undertook a
postgraduate course in
architecture at Stan
ford
University, California.

Pamela Purves Lyttle (later Jack) 

Pamela Lyttle (later Jack)
graduated Bachelor of
Architecture in 1952. 
After working as an
architect in England
& Australia, she started
her own practice in 1958,
mainly domestic work
in the country. She taught
at UNSW 1981-96,
photo, Women's
College
Journal, Vol 23.

Nina Anderson (later Walmsley)

Nina Anderson
(later Walmsley)
graduated Bachelor of
Architecture in 1953,
photo, The Sydney Morning
Herald, 30 April 1953,
National Library of Australia.
 


Patricia Horsley, Margaret ODonohue, Margaret Harvey-Sutton and Mary Horsley 1952

To celebrate successful passes in University architecture examinations, Patricia Horsley and Margaret O'Donohue, both Architecture IV, and Margaret Harvey-Sutton and Mary Horsley, architecture graduates, lunched at the Pickwick Club in Sydney on 23 January 1952, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 1952, National Library of Australia.

Deidre Hall Best (later Broughton), Margaret ODonohue, Margaret Stapleton and Patricia Horsley

Deidre Hall Best, Margaret O'Donohue, Margaret Stapleton & Patricia Horsley lunched at the Pickwick Club on 3 July 1953 to celebrate the 21st birthday of O'Donohue, who was in Architecture V with Horsley. Hall Best, who had recently returned after a year abroad, was in Architecture IV, photo, Sunday Herald, 5 July 1953, NLA. Stapleton had completed her second year exams in March 1951 but had not continued.

 

 

Margaret Mary O'Donoghue 

 Margaret O'Donoghue
graduated BArch in 1954. She
initially worked in the office
of the university architect at
ANU & was presented to the
Duke of Edinburgh during
the Royal Visit when he
opened the new University
House, as the only woman
on the designing staff of the
University, photo, The Sunday
Herald, 5 July 1953
, NLA.

Patricia Horsley 

Patricia Horsley graduated
BArch in 1954, and was
a practising architect.

 Deidre Hall Best (later Broughton)

Deidre Hall Best (later
Broughton) graduated
BArch in 1955. For more
than 20 years she
worked alongside her
mother, interior designer
Marion Hall Best, in the
Queen Street, Woollahra
shop that made Hall Best
an Australian legend,
photo, The Sydney
Morning Herald,
16 December 1954
, NLA.


In the 1960s
Louise Cox AM

Louise Cox AM graduated Bachelor of Architecture in 1963 and Diploma of Town and Country Planning in 1971. She received the 2004 University of Sydney Alumni Award and has practised as an architect for many years both in private practice and in service of the advancement of architecture in the local, national and international arena, photo, archetype March 2005.

Penelope Seidler AM

Penelope Seidler AM graduated BArch in 1964. In this 'Australian Women's Weekly' photo, 23 July 1975, NLA she wears a Mao jacket & matching cap after her return from China. A partner of Harry Seidler & Associates since 1965, she was awarded an AM in 2008 for service to the preservation of cultural heritage, to visual arts organisations & to architecture.

In the 1970s
Valerie Havyatt

 Valerie Havyatt (nee Luker)
became the 2nd woman to
gain the PhD in Arch, in
1972.  A research assistant
in the Faculty for some
years, she did not obtain
a permanent academic
position. In 1981 she
published A dictionary of
measuring instruments
.
She became a long-
standing Macleay volunteer,
p
hoto,  Museums News, 
October 2008.


Dr Robin King-Cullen

Robin King (later King-Cullen) graduated BArch in 1973. She then graduated Grad Dip of Urban & Regional Planning QUT PhD UQ & Master of Public Policy & Management Monash. After nearly 30 years experience in statutory & strategic planning in local government across Australia, Robin founded The Planning Academy in Queensland to provide statutory planning & skills training, photo, courtesy Dr King-Cullen.

In the 1980s
Jan McCredie

Jan McCredie, urban designer, planner and architect, graduated with a Master of Architecture in 1971, a Diploma in Town & Country Planning in 1975 and a Master of Urban Design in 1989, photo, coutesy Jan McCredie.

Helen Lochhead

Helen Lochhead graduated BSc(Arch) (Hons I) in 1979 and BArch(Hons I) in 1983, photo, courtesy Helen Lochhead. She became the first female NSW Assistant Government Architect, was awarded the Rider Levett Bucknell Crystal Vision Award at the National Association for Women in Construction’s awards night in 2009 and was made an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty in 2012.

Caroline Pidcock

Caroline Pidcock graduated BSc(Arch) in 1984 and BArch(Hons) in 1987. In 2011 she was director of the companies PIDCOCK - Architecture + Sustainability, House of Parts, and Resource 88 - Centre for Sustainable Practice, photo, courtesy Caroline Pidcock.

In the 1990s
Genevieve Lilley  
Genevieve Lilley 
graduated BArch in
1991, photo, Faculty
website
. With a
small team, she is
working on a range
of 17 architectural
projects as well as
continuing to design
jewellery for 'venerari'.
 
Rachel Neeson
Rachel Neeson graduated
BSc(Arch) in 1990 & BArch
& the University Medal
in 1994, photo, Faculty
website
. She won the
2011 Robin Boyd award
for Residential Architecture
& is an Adjunct
Professor in 2012.
 
Elizabeth Farrelly
Elizabeth Farrelly gained
a PhD in Architecture
in 1997, was Adjunct
Professor in 2008, &
is Architecture
Writer for the SMH,
photo,  courtesy
of ZOOM Productions
.
 
Debra Dearing  
Debra Dearing, who
graduated BArch in
1979, gained a PhD in
Architecture in 1997,
photo, archetype,
September 2008
. She is
National Manager
Strategic Urban Planning
of Stockland, & 
Past-President of the
Institute of Architects
NSW.
 

Today
Mary-Anne Kyriakou

Mary-Anne Kyriakou gained a Graduate Certificate of Design Science (Illumination Design) in 2000 & a Master of Music Composition from the Conservatorium in 2007. She won the 2011 Faculty Alumni Award for Community Achievement, photo, Archetype 2012. She is a renowned specialist lighting designer and consultant and music composer and curated 24 of the light installations for Sydney's 2011 Vivid Festival.

Hannah Tribe

Hannah Tribe graduated Bachelor of Science (Architecture) with First Clas Honours in 2000, and Bachelor of Architecture with First Class Honours and the University Medal in 2002. She was Founding Principal of Tribe Studio Architects in Sydney in 2003, photo, courtesy Hannah Tribe.

Isabelle Toland and Dominique Alla

Isabelle Toland (on left)
graduated Bachelor of Science
(Architecture) with First Class
Honours and the University Medal
in 2002. She then graduated
Bachelor of Architecture in
2004. Isabelle has worked with
renowned architectural firms
in Paris & Sydney, and
has exhibited installation
and design work in galleries
in Australia and overseas.


Dominique Alla (on right)
graduated Bachelor of
Architecture with Honours in
2004. She is a Sydney
architect and a member of
the Faculty's Environment,
Behaviour & Society
Research Group.


photo, archetype 2004,

courtesy D Alla 

 

'bricks + cartwheels'

Georgia Bowen,
Kirstin Hume-Grimm,
Renn She Ip, Amber
Lush & Harriet Stone
 each
graduated BDesign(Arch) in 2004 
and BArch in 2007 (Georgia &
Amber with Honours). They 
established an Australian-
based charitable organisation
'bricks + cartwheels'
 in 2006, photo, Faculty website


Somwrita Sarkar

Somwrita Sarkar (centre), photo, Archetype 2012, graduated PhD in Architecture in 2009. She won the 2011 Faculty Alumni Award for PhD achievement, for solving the problem in the relationship between the syntax and semantics of symbols and their ‘meaning’ in the design of artificial intelligence. Somwrita’s elegant solution can be used to address physically and biologically complex systems and the physics of complex networks in general.

Elizabeth Carpenter

Elizabeth Carpenter was one
of the three recipients (all women)
of the Faculty's Professional 
Achievement Alumni Award 2013,
photo, Faculty website
She graduated BArch (Hons I) in
1991, and has been a registered
architect snce 1996. She is a
Principal of FJMT, and has
specialised in adaptive reuse and
educational projects.

 

Jacqueline Connor

Jacqueline Connor  was another
recipient of the Faculty's
Professional Achievement
Alumni Award 2013, photo, Faculty
website
. She graduated with Honours,
in 2001 & is an architect with
SJB Architects Sydney. Through her
voluntary work with DARCH & EmAGN,
she has led a team in implementing
new initiatives aimed at supporting
architects in the early phase of
their career.

Julie Mackenzie 

 Julie Mackenzie was the third
recipient of the Faculty's
Professional Achievement
Alumni Award 2013,
photo, Faculty website. She
completed her MHeritCons
in 1999 and has a special
interest in the adaptive reuse
of heritage buildings with
contemproary overlays. She
is an Associate director of
TZG Architects.


Information sources
  1. University of Sydney Calendar Archive
  2. National Library of Australia historic newspapers
  3. 'Australia's first: A history of the University of Sydney, Vol 1 1850 - 1939' by Clifford Turney, Ursula Bygott and Peter Chippendale
  4. 'Archetype'
  5. 'australian wiomen's history forum'
  6. 'ABSENCE AND PRESENCE: A HISTORIOGRAPHY OF EARLY WOMEN ARCHITECTS IN NEW SOUTH WALES', by Bronwyn J. Hanna
  7. The Brisbane Courier, 18 February 1922
  8. The numbers so far by Gill Matthewson, 15 March 2012
  9. 'Town planner built life around heritage study', SMH 13 January 2012
  10. University Annnual Reports
  11. 'The Gazette'
  12. The Faculty's website


Lis Bergmann