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Women graduates of the University of Adelaide
Title : Women graduates of the University of Adelaide Women graduates of the University of Adelaide
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Source : PRG 34/27/2/5
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Date of creation : 1891
Format : Photograph
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Description :

A group of women university graduates at the University of Adelaide.

Back row: Florence Haycroft, [unknown], Laura Fowler. Front row: Susan S. Solomon, [unknown], Annie Treby.

Laura Fowler was the first woman graduate in medicine at the university.

The women's suffrage movement in South Australia began with two distinct advantages. Firstly South Australia's female ratepayers were already enfranchised under the Municipal Corporations Act of 1861. Some women had therefore been voting in municipal elections for more than 20 years.

Secondly, in South Australia higher education for women and girls was officially encouraged. Girls were viewed as the wives and mothers of the future. All girls in state primary schools were taught needlework and some cooking. In 1879 the first secondary school for girls in Australia, the Advanced School for Girls, was opened.

The University of Adelaide made classes open to women from its inception in 1876, and in 1881 the University of Adelaide admitted women to academic courses. Edith Emily Dornwell was the university's first woman graduate and Australia's first female science graduate in 1885.

In 1891 Laura Fowler became the University's first woman medical graduate. After graduation she was appointed House Surgeon at the Women's and Children's Hospital. She continued in this role until 1893 when she married fellow physician Charles Henry Standish Hope. Together they they worked with the poor in Bengal, India for over thirty years.

Edith Dornwell, Laura Fowler (Hope) and other early women graduates were pioneers who broke through gender barriers to open up career choices which had previously been closed to women.

Related names :

Fowler, Laura
Haycroft, Florence
Solomon, Susan
Treby, Annie

Further reading :

Kwan, Elizabeth Living in South Australia : a social history, vol. 1, South Australian Government Printer, Netley, S.Aust.: 1987

Mackinnon, Alison The new women : Adelaide's early women graduates, Wakefield Press, Netley, S. Aust.: 1986

Internet links :

Article on Laura Fowler in University of Adelaide's Lumen magazine, 2005

University of Adelaide, Wikipedia entry