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.

Established in 1920, the Faculty of Veterinary Science admitted its first woman undergraduate in 1930, twenty years after the first intake of Veterinary Science students.

"In the beginning, it took special women to brave the all-male Veterinary Science Faculty at the University of Sydney and attempt to overcome the prevailing socioeconomic prejudices. Not that the Faculty, capably run by Professor J D Stewart, provided any obstacle to such women. Indeed, from the start, women received strong encouragement and support from Professor Stewart and many other members of the staff to join and complete the course. The prejudices that they were to encounter were more from their peers and from the public they were to serve. These prejudices were not to be short-lived and were partly responsible for directing the early female veterinary graduates towards teaching" (1).

On this webpage:


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View more information and photos about early Veterinary Science students.


Faculty of Veterinary Science 1920

Milestones

1910:  Veterinary Science, then part of the Faculty of Science, had its first intake of students.  
1920: A separate Faculty of Veterinary Science was established.
1930: Ann Flashman (later Rylah) was the first woman undergraduate admitted into Veterinary Science.
1931: Patricia Littlejohn (later Abbott) was the second woman Veterinary Science undergraduate.
1935: Patricia Littlejohn (later Abbott) was the first woman to graduate Bachelor of Veterinary Science.
1936: Ann Flashman (later Rylah) was the second woman Veterinary Science graduate, along with 9 male graduates.
1949: Barbara Smith became the first woman to graduate BVSc with honours (Class II).
1969: Daria Love was the first woman to graduate BVSc with First Class Honours and the University Medal.
1973: Daria Love was the first woman to gain the Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty.
1986: For the first time numbers of female Veterinary Science graduates exceeded 50%.
1988: Dr Daria Love was the first woman to gain the Doctor of Veterinary Science at the University.
2012: There were 890 women and 310 men student enrolments in the Faculty as at 31 March.

Gallery

In the 1930s
Veterinary Science women students

Ann Flashman (later Rylah) on the right was the first woman Veterinary Science student in 1930. Patricia Littlejohn (later Abbott) on the left was first woman to graduate Bachelor of Veterinary Science, in 1935, photo, Faculty of Veterinary Science website. They are pictured here at Berry Training Farm c 1934.

1937 Commem Day

Women Veterinary students' float in the 1937 Commem Day procession, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Digital order number: Hood_14981h.

Dorothy Rogers Arnott (later Scamps)

Dorothy Arnott (later Scamps), who graduated BVSc in 1937, is pictured above (left) with her fiance Pierre Scamps and his sister Ginette at a Palm Beach dance held on 7 July 1938, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 July 1938, National Library of Australila. She became a Demonstrator in Veterinary Anatomy.

Joyce Audrey Steel (later Hadley)

Joyce Steel (later Hadley) also graduated Bachelor of Veterinary Science in 1937, photo, News (Adelaide), 17 March 1936, National Library of Australia.

final year students in 1938

The final year students in 1938, with Kathleen Raymond (far left, third row) and Kathleen Farr (later Walker) (far right, third row) the only women graduates in 1938, photo, Centaur 1938.

Noela Bennett, Alice Thorburn and Gwen Amy Langford Griffith in 1938

Gwen Griffith (BVSc in 1940) (right) with Agriculture students at a practical demonstration - studying the points of a pig - at Queensland's Gattan College in 1938, photo, The Courier-Mail, 15 January 1938, National Library of Australia.

In the 1940s
Elizabeth Harvey

Elizabeth Harvey graduated BVSc in 1940. She is pictured on the left in 1952, as surgeon-vet, in the X-ray room of the Lort Smith Hospital for Sick Animals at North Melbourne, operating the machine, helped by Miss Van Muller, photo, The Argus, 19 December 1952, National Library of Australia.

Virginia E Osborne

Virginia Osborne graduated BVSc in 1941, 1950 photo G3_224_2094, University of Sydney Archives.

1942

Margaret Glasson (later Tomlinson) and Annette Rogers in the centre of the final year in 1942. They both graduated at the end of the year, photo, Centaur No 5, 1942, University of Sydney.

 Nancy Wickham  
Nancy Wickham graduated BVetSc in 1944.
photo, Centaur 1944-45.

1944

Helen McVicar (later Ferguson) (BVSc 1946), a 4th-year Sydney University Veterinary Science student at the stanthorpe worm school in 1944, kills a weaner for post-mortem examination, photo, Queensland Country Life, 21 December 1944, National Library of Australia.

Vet students relax at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1947

Vet students relaxing at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1947. Left, Alison Kyle (BVSc 1950), 3rd year vet student at Sydney University and Pat Yardley (later Wallace) (BVSc 1949), 4th year student. Both were from New Zealand and were looking after stud cattle from Victoria, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 12 April 1947, National Library of Australia.

Beryl Bott (later Hazard) 1948

Beryl Bott (later Hazard) graduated BVSc in 1948. She later formed a partnership with her husband in a veterinary practice and hospital at Caringbah, photo, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 1953, National Library of Australia. While Mrs Hazard looked after the hospital and the smaller animals brought in by their owners, her husband visited horse, cattle and poultry patients.

Barbara Frances Smith
 Barbara Smith, the first woman to be
awarded New Zealand's Veterinary
Services Council bursary to study Veterinary
Science at Sydney University, became the
first woman to graduate BVSc with honours
(Class II), in 1949,
photo, Centaur 1948.

Jenifer Edols (later Whitecross)

Jenifer Edols (later Whitecross) graduated BVSc in 1949. She worked in private practices in Australia as well as for the British Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries before returning to the Faculty in 1968 as its Graduate Assistant & Assistant to the Dean. She was one of the first women to be President of a Division of the AVA & the first woman to be made a Fellow of the AVA, photo c1980, 'One hundred years'.

In the 1950s
 Norma Patricia Gordon  Patricia Gordon graduated BVSc in 1950,
and set up her practice in Queensland in
1951. She was one of only two women
among Queensland's 138 registered vets,
and the only practising woman vet. 
M
ost of her work consisted of taking
TB tests of dairy cattle, and she was
the official veterinary surgeon for
Oxenford Race Club and for the
Southport and Capalaba Coursing
Clubs, photo, Queensland Country Life,
13 November 1952,

National Library of Australia

There were 24 women students in the Faculty in 1951

There were 24 women students in the Faculty in 1951 including – back: Jill Clout, Joyce Haneman, Margot McKinney, Pat Williams, Janet MacCallum & Jean Kater; middle: Heather Joyce, Patricia Wilkinson, Dorothy Edmonstone, Isabel Gant, Elaine Edmonstone, Loretta Leedham & Margaret Wilson; and front: Jean Wootton, Judith Cahn, Jan Caterson, Barbara Wilhelm, Delores Ferguson & Susan Potter, photo, Centaur 1951.

 Jean Christina Kater
Jean Kater graduated BVSc with
Second Class Honours in 1953, and
was already working as a teaching
fellow in the Faculty,
photo, The Sydney Morning Herald,
21 May 1953,
National Library of Australia.
Elaine Edmonstone
Elaine Edmonstone graduated BVSc
with Second Class Honours on
24 January 1954, 
photo, The Sun-Herald,
24 January 1954
,
National Library of Australia.
 Jill Clout


Jill Clout also graduated BVSc
with Second Class Honours on
24 January 1954, 
photo, The Sun-Herald,
24 January 1954
,
National Library of Australia.


the Farr Memorial Prize for Equitation, for 1957

Robin Harbutt (centre) came second and Dianna Swan (right) came 3rd in the Farr Memorial Prize for Equitation, for 1957, photo, Centaur 1958. Established in 1941 by a gift of 50 pounds from Kathleen Farr for a prize in memory of her parents, it was awarded to the first-year Veterinary Science student who showed the greatest proficiency in equine husbandry.

The 1958 Veterinary Science women

The 1958 Veterinary Science women's hockey team: Dianna Swan, Margery Carter's boots, Dian Johnston, Judith Todd, Margot Archer, Mary-Rose Jenkyns, Mae Kirkwood, Donna Collings, Robin Harbutt and Heather Templeton, photo, Centaur, 1958.

Mary Rose Jenkyns came first and Donna Collings 3rd in the Farr Memorial Prize for 1958

Mary Rose Jenkyns (left) came first and Donna Collings (right) came 3rd in the Farr Memorial Prize for Equitation, for 1958, photo, Centaur 1959.

In the 1960s
Women Veterinary Science students in 1960

Women Veterinary Science students in 1960, photo, Centaur 1960. Sitting: Marilyn Mattes (Year I), Gail Morgan (Year II), Anne Lewis (Year I), Kim Putney (Year I), Toni Duesbury (Year II) and Helen Martin (Year I). Standing: Judy, Sandra Donalson (Year I), Robin Harbutt (Year 5) and Deanne.

1964

Julie Yaeger (right), 1st year Veterinary Science student at the University, and Christine Stewart, 3rd year Arts student, co-authored the teenage novel "Six Horses and a Caravan" which had just been published, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 25 November 1964, National Library of Australia.

In the 1980s
1987

This group of 39 women received their Bachelor of Veterinary Science degrees in 1987, and for the second year in succession, the number of female graduates in the University outnumbered male graduates, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1987.

Daria N Love 1988

Daria Love (BVSc Hons I and the University Medal 1969) became the first woman to gain the Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty, in 1973, and the Doctor of Veterinary Science, in 1988, photo, Faculty of Veterinary Science website.

1988

The main purpose of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital was the clinical teaching of Veterinary Science students who were present in the Hospital for most of the year. Pictured above is fourth year student Annette Miller conducting a clinical examination of a minature horse at the Hospital, photo, University of Sydney Annual Report 1988.

In the 1990s
Dr Susan Hemsley 1997

Dr Susan Hemsley (MVSc) was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy through the Faculty of Veterinary Science in 1997, photo, 'One hundred years'. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty.

Today
Elizabeth Arnott

Elizabeth Arnott graduated BVSc in 2003 & is now a PhD student in the Faculty. She began her veterinary career as a mixed animal practitioner on the mid north coast of NSW. After a year of working in the UK she took a veterinary position in Tamworth focusing on small animal medicine. Liz achieved a masters degree in small animal practice from Murdoch University and membership to the Australian College of Veterinary scientists in 2011, photo, Faculty Research Report 2012.

Camilla Whittington

Camilla Whittington (BScAgr Hons I & University Medal 2007), a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, won a 2009 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to study the genetic components of mammal venom at the Washington University Genome Sequencing Centre. She subsequently gained her PhD in 2011, photo, Faculty Research Report, 2008-2010.

Katrina Morris

Katrina Morris graduated BVSc with the University Medal in 2009. Now a PhD student, she is part of the tasmanian devil facial tumour disease research team.

Kate Hartcher

Kate Hartcher graduated Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience with honours in 2010 & was awarded the Poultry Research Foundation Prize in Animal Science. With a strong interest in animal behaviour and welfare science, Kate hopes to pursue a career in this area, in particular related to livestock production. In February 2012 Kate was awarded a scholarship from the Australian Poultry CRC to undertake a Masters by Research degree, photo, Faculty Research Report 2012.

Information sources
  1. Women In The Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney - The Early Years: Paul Canfieid and Jenifer Edols, The Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney
  2. 'Patricia K Littlejohn BVSc', by Robin Giesecke
  3. The Faculty's historical timeline
  4. 'One hundred years: the school at the foot of the hill', by Paul Canfield, Honorary Faculty Archivist
  5. Faculty of Veterinary Science Research Reports
  6. "Centaur", the Journal of the Sydney University Veterinary Society
  7. University of Sydney Calendar Archive
  8. National Library of Australia historic newspapers


Lis Bergmann, 2013