Students at the University of Sydney

Early women students and graduates

In 1881 the Senate decided unanimously to admit women to the University on equal terms with men.

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At the University

Milestones

1881: Senate decided unanimously to admit women to the University on equal terms with men.
1882 The first two women matriculants at the University enrolled in the Faculty of Arts.
1885:  Women students were given partial use of a temporary weatherboard building situated in what is now the south-eastern end of the Quadrangle.
  The first two women graduated.
1887: A Ladies’ Tennis Club was formed, the first women’s sporting club at the University.
1889:  The temporary weatherboard building was handed over completely to women and was known as the Women's Common Room. 
1882: Women's College opened in a temporary rented house called "Strathmore" in Glebe.
1894: The Women's College in its own building within the University grounds was officially opened.
1910: The Sydney University Women’s Sports Association was founded.
1914: The new Sydney University Women's Union was formed.
1917: Manning House, for the Sydney University Women's Union, was opened.
1926: Sancta Sophia (women's) College opened.
1929: The Students' Representative Council (SRC) was founded.
1931: Kathleen Commins was the first woman editor of Hermes
1943: Moya McDade was the first woman President of the SRC.
1970: The Sydney University Postgraduate Representaitve Association (SUPRA) was founded.
1972: The Sydney University Women's Union amalgamated with the Sydney University (Men's) Union to form the University of Sydney Union.
2003: The Sydney University Women’s Sports Association and Sydney University (Men's) Sports Union amalgamated to form Sydney Uni Sport.

Gallery

1927

A "Peep at the past, in the cloister at Sydney University. The blue stocking as she might have been when Sydney's University was established" (in 1852) – except of course, women were not admitted until 1881, photo, Sunday Times, 4 September 1927, National Library of Australia.

1927

"Nothing wraithlike in this Psyche in a crinoline, but undergrads who see this pump at the University every day may well wonder if their great-grandmother's younger sister, who died young, has stepped out of the past, photo, Sunday Times, 4 September 1927, National Library of Australia.

In the 1890s
1890

Women cricket and tennis teams in 1890, photo G3_224_0005, University of Sydney Archives.

1892

A group of women students in front of the Women's Common Room in 1892, photo G3_224_0255, University of Sydney Archives. This was a temporary weatherboard building which had been built as a laboratory for classes in practical chemistry and in 1889 was handed over to women as the ‘New Ladies Common Room'.

1892

Women students at tea outside the Women's Common Room in 1892, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

1893

The Women's Common Room - far right - behind the Main Building in 1893, photo by Edward Hufton, University of Sydney Archives.

1895

Women visitors to the University in 1895, sketch, Evening News, 27 April 1895, National Library of Australia.

In the early 1900s
1900

A group of women students in academic dress in 1900, photo G3_224_0328, University of Sydney Archives.

1909

The first tennis team match between Sydney and Melbourne universities in 1909, photo G3_224_1433, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1910s
1910

The Women's Common Room in front of the old Fisher Library in 1910, photo G3_224_MF374_0224, University of Sydney Archives.

c1915

Women students walking to the Women's Common Room c1915, photo G3_224_0834, University of Sydney Archives.

1916

Scene from the cafe chantant held on 13 September 1916 and organised by the women students in aid of the War Chest and of the fund for providing Christmas comforts for soldiers, photo HP87-19-38 by photographer Ellice E P Dart (nee Hamilton), courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney.

The Women

The Women's Common Room in the Quadrangle, with the completed South range in the background, photo G3_224_0824, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

Manning House (for the Women's Union) opened in 1917 and the Women's Common Room was then removed, Illustration and poem, Hermes, May 1917, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

The Women's Undergraduate Association Committee in 1917, photo G3_224_0575, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

The Women's Union Board of Directors in 1917, photo from 'Hermes' November 1917.

1917

"Much study is a wearisome to the flesh", from Hermes, November 1917, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

Women running on the oval below Manning House in 1917, probably at the SUWSA annual sports meeting on 25 July, photo G3_224_0836, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

The Sydney University Women's Sports Association (SUWSA) held its annual sports meeting on 25 July 1917, from Hermes, August 1917, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

The 100 yards championship was the first on the program and was won by Marie Erhard, who also won the 75 yards championship, from Hermes, August 1917, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

The Walk was won by Violet Stuart, from Hermes, August 1917, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

The three-legged race was won by Dorothy Green and Maud Jenson, from Hermes, August 1917, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

The interfaculty Tug-o'-War was won by Medicine, from Hermes, August 1917, University of Sydney Archives.

1917

The sack race was won by Ellice Nosworthy (1) and Margery Anderson (2), from Hermes, August 1917, University of Sydney Archives.

1918

"She with hair curly must rise very early, The short-crop advocate may lie till it's late", from Hermes, August 1918, University of Sydney Archives.

1919

Undergraduates at Manly Beach in 1919, photo G3_224_1292, University of Sydney Archives

1919

'Desk screens for modest lecturers are urgently needed. The front row display of best lisle thread (stockings) becomes every year more embarrassing', from Hermes, December 1919, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1920s
1920

The Women's Union's Manning House in 1920, with students outside, photo G3_224_MF374_0210, University of Sydney Archives.

1920

'Here he comes!' Following conferral of the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws upon His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on 23 June 1920, there was great excitement amongst the students as the royal visitor approached the Quadrangle for the presentation of an address by the President of the SRC, photo, The Sydney Mail, 30 June 1920, Google News Archive.

1921

Some of the committee and women helpers at the fair held in the Quadrangle by the University Women's Social Service Society, photo, The Sydney Mail, 1 June 1921, Google News Archive. It was founded in 1891 in 1891 with the object of providing a field of social work in the Chippendale and South Sydney area.

1921

The Sydney University Women's Hockey Team in 1921 - from left: E Pratton, J Ballantine (capt), G Jones, D Berry, K Ogilvie, H Jamieson, P McEwen, L Baird, T Datson, K Southall and V Sams, photo, The Sydney Mail, 31 August 1921, Google News Archive.

1922

Women undergraduates signing Commem songs, which contained many witty allusions to university life and public questions, following the students' procession on 19 May 1922, photos, The Sydney Mail, 24 May 1922, Google News Archive.

1924

Miss P Holt of Sydney University was playing against Miss L Morris (Adelaide0) in the second stage of the women's inter-varsity tennis on 20 May 1924, photo, The Argus, 21 May 1924, National Library of Australia.

1925

The Women’s Hockey A Team, 1925, published in Hermes Volume 32, Number 3. Michaelmas 1926, photo, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Sydney Library.

1926

Melbourne University defeated Sydney by 4 goals to 3 in the final of the Interuniversity hockey matches played in lMelbourne in late August 1926, This phot was taken just after the Melbourne goal keeper had knocked away a shot by a Sydney player, photo, The Argus, 28 August 1926, National Library of Australia.

1927

Women students on the stairs of the Women's Union's Manning House in 1927, photo by Harold Cazneaux, University of Sydney Archives.

1927

'Girl graduates of the University', photo, The Sydney Mail, 4 May 1927, Google News Archive. On Saturday 30 April 1927, the Deputy Chancellor conferred degrees on 400 graduates, including many women.

1928

'Students of the future' from the University's pageant and mask held in the Great Hall between 8 and 12 May 1928, which raised £1,000 for the University's 75th Anniversary Appeal, photo, The Sydney Mail, 9 May 1928, Google News Archive. The students were all women except for William Jackson in the centre.

1928

At the Manning House entrance porch in 1928 from left: Miss Maude Royden, Miss Fidler (President of the Women's Union and of the Women Graduates), Miss Chave Collisson, Miss Peden (President of the undergraduates) and Miss Heighway (President of the Students' Christian Union), photo, Sydney Morning Herlad, 7 June 1928, National Library of Australia. Well known as a speaker on social and religious subjects, after WWI Royden's interest shifted to the role of women in the Church.

1928

Winnie Manton (top) and Mollie Daly, members of the committeee of the Sydney University Annual Hockey Dance, which was held in the University Union on 25 July 1928, photo, Evening News, 25 July 1928, National Library of Australila.

1929

Members of the Sydney University women's basketball team who arrived in Melbourne on 22 August 1929 to take part in the annual Intervarsity basketball matches, photo, The Register News-Pictorial, 23 August 1929, National Library of Australia.

In the 1930s
1930

Girl students on a tour of inspection during Freshman's day on 17 March 1930, photo, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 March 1930, National Library of Australia.

1930

Enid Carpenter, research student in Psychology, in 1930 - the only woman carillonist in Australia, photo, Evening News, 27 August 1930, National Library of Australia.

1930

At the Inter-University swimming contests held in Melbourne in early 1930, standing: B Hillier (Melbourne) and M Moore (Sydney), and O Sangwell (Sydney) and E Small (Sydney, captain), photo, Chronicle, 16 January 1930, National Library of Australia.

1930

High jump champion P Hedberg clearing 5 ft 4inches yesterday at the Women's University sports meeting, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 1930, National Library of Australia.

1931

Kathleen Commins became the first woman editor of 'Hermes" magazine, photo, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 1931, National Library of Australia.

1931

At the Inter-University swimming contests in early 1931: F Lee, S Taylor, R Hill and D Goldie (captain), photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 January 1931, National Library of Australia.

1931

Women students training for ballet dancing in the annual Commem celebrations in 1931, Western Mail, 9 July 1931, National Library of Australia.

1932

The University Women's Sports Association held its annual championships at University Oval on 28 July 1932. M Smith (right) won the open hurdle race, beating A Melvaine, V Fitzhardinge and M Dive, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 July 1932, National Library of Australia.

1933

The Sydney University women's basketball team in Adelaide in August 1933, photo, The Advertiser, 24 August 1933, National Library of Australia.

1934

In the Manning House reading room in 1934, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 June 1934, National Library of Australia.

1934

Women undergraduates in the Quadrangle in 1934, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 June 1934, National Library of Australia.

1934

On 12 April 1934, Betty Christie, a Science I student, made her debut at the University Settlement Ball (first held in 1933), the proceeds of which went to the University Settlement at Chippendale, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 1934, NLA. The 14 debutantes included a number of undergraduates & were presented to the Governor and Lady Game in the Great Hall, with dancing and bridge afterwards in the Union Refectory.

1935

An incident at the Inter-university hockey match at Melbourne University Oval on 20 August 1935, where it looked like a goal for Adelaide University (check uniform) when the ball passed the Sydney University backs, but it was kicked clear by the Sydney goalkeeper, photo, The Argus, 21 August 1935, National Library of Australia.

1936

Noni Braham, captain of the Sydney University ladies' hockey team, which was playing a series of matches against University teams from South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania in August 1936, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 22 August 1936, National Library of Australia.

1937

Graduation Day, Sydney University, photo from Sydney Morning Herald, 18 May 1937, National Library of Australia.

1938

A newspaper article in 1938 proclaimed that women students were no longer nicknamed "bluestockings", photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 July 1938, National Library of Australia.

In the 1940s
1946

Sydney University women students practising for their rugby match against men students at University Oval on 14 August. The men would play without boots and would be restricted in their tackling, photo, Townsville Daily Bulletin, 12 August 1946, National Library of Australia.

1946

During the football match, photo, The Daily News, 14 August 1946, National Library of Australia.

1946

After the referee ruled that the women won the match 26-15, dissatisfied supporters of men put him under a water cart, photo, Examiner, 17 August 1946, National Library of Australia.

1946

Seventy debutantes were presented to the Governor-General, the Duke of Gloucester, at the University Settlement Ball in 1946, which had not been held since 1941, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 27 April 1946, National Library of Australia.

1947

Sydney University women undergraduates Joan Holliday (left) and Mary Fox who took part in competitive rowing at University regatta on Parramatta River in May 1947, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 10 May 1947, National Library of Australia.

In the 1950s
1950

On their way to enrol in first year at Sydney University on 27 February 1950: from left, Helen Terrey, Judith Russell and Judith Forsyth, photo, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 February 1950, National Library of Australia.

1952

Margaret Champion, Lois Joseph and Helen Paton, women members of the Sydney University Fencing Club, which was holding the annual intervarsity fencing competition against a team from Melbourne that week, photo, The Sunday Herald, 31 August 1952, National Library of Australia.

1953

Diana Snider (Arts II) was the first woman to be one of the Orientation Week organisers, in 1953, photo from 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 11 March 1953, National Library of Australia.

1953

Shirley Byatt, Judy Van-Denberg, Jancis Sibbit and Margaret Christie, members of Sydney University Baden-powell Club, pictured cleaning windows at the University for the "Willing Shilling Drive" in 1953, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 April 1953, National Library of Australia.

1954

After enrolling during the week, Elisabeth Delamore (Physiotherapy), Jenny Mayes (Arts) and Leigh Burgess (Medicine) spent some time learning where to find their new lecture theatres, photo from the SMH, 4 March 1954, National Library of Australia.

1954

From left, on the steps of the University Union, Mrs Bruce Potten, Brian Harper and Sylvia Sheath, who were guests at the University Union Ball which was held in the refectory in June 1954, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 2 June 1954, National Library of Australia.

1954

Tex Clark, fencing master at Sydney University, and Marianne Minter with Helen Paton and Peter Larcombe at the S U Fencing Club's "Night in Paris" in the withdrawing room of the Union on 22 June 1954, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 June 1954, National Library of Australia.

1954

Four of the eight women university students who contested the Inter-varsity Women's Fencing Championships on 25 August 1954 in 16 bouts at the University of Technology: Maureen Ritchie and Lois Joseph (Sydney team) and Shirley Gawith and Pat Tasker (Melbourne team). The Sydney team won by 11 bouts to five, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 August 1954, National Library of Australia.

c1955

Dancing at the annual University Settlement Ball in the Great Hall c1955 where debutantes had been presented to the Governor, Sir John Northcott, photo, University of Sydney Archives.

1956

Helen Moss curtsies to the Chancellor, Sir Charles Bickerton-Blackburn, at the University Settlement Ball in 1956, where 53 girls made their debut, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 27 June 1956, National Library of Australia.

1957

Freshers Gillian Caley (left) and Felicity Kades find their way round the University with help from Jim Friend during Orientation Week in 1957, photo from The Australian Women's Weekly, 20 March 1957, National Library of Australia.

Continued

In the 1960s
1961

Among the 37 debutantes presented to Rear-Admiral and Mrs Oldham in the Great Hall at the University Settlement Ball in June 1961 were Christine Eastment and Carol Reye, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 28 June 1961 National Library of Australia.

1962

From left, Keith Marr, Vicky Moo, Jennifer Readford, Kaye Price and Rod Power with Lynne Hyman who was chosen as "Miss University" at the Coronation Ball at the Sydney University Union in August 1962, which was held to rasie funds for the International House Appeal and World University Services, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 8 August 1962, National Library of Australia.

In the 1970s
1974

Students in front of Fisher Library in 1974, photo G3_224_0933_1, University of Sydney Archives.