Interesting Women

Interesting Women

Lois Elwood Windeyer [1894-1977] was a first year student in Arts at the University of Sydney in 1914. She followed her mother and sister to England at the outbreak of war and gave service firstly as a nurse and then as a driver in England and France. Returning to Australia in 1920 she worked in Sydney as a hire car driver in her own business, sold prestige cars for Dalgety & Co and trained as an aviator planning to fly around Australia in 1930 . She was also a champion fisherwoman. In a 1921 newspaper article Lois is quoted as saying women are better drivers than men because “we are quicker-witted. We have sharper eyes and are naturally more resourceful than men” 

Dr Elsie Jean Dalyell [1881-1948] was originally a pupil-teacher before studying medicine at the University of Sydney graduating in 1906. She won a scholarship to study at the Lister Institute in London in 1912 and was studying there when war broke out two years later. She served on the Eastern Front in Serbia and the Western Front in France as a bacteriologist. After the war in Austria, her research successfully identified the cause of rickets in children. Returning to Australia in 1923 after a lecture tour of America, she worked as a doctor at the Rachel Foster Hospital for women and children and in the Department of Public Health. 




Myril MacDougal Lloyd (nee Bowman) [1887- 1987] gained an MA in 1910 from the University of Sydney. In 1915 she returned to university to study Massage which she thought would be of practical use to the war effort. After graduating in 1917 she paid her own way to London where she worked in England and France as a masseuse and returned to Australia via New Zealand around Christmas 1918. In 1922 she ventured back to Europe and studied sculpture in Paris until relocating with her doctor husband to New York in 1930 where she studied painting. After the death of her husband she lived in Cannes, France from 1955 – 1967 before returning to Australia.



Dr Laura Margaret Hope (nee Fowler[1868- 1952] was the first woman to graduate in medicine and surgery in 1891 from the University of Adelaide. She and her husband Charles worked as medical missionaries, predominantly in India, from the late 1890’s to the 1930’s. Laura studied tropical medicine in England in 1902 at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. In 1915 the Hopes joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service and were sent to Serbia where Laura directed a unit that treated wounded soldiers. The couple were later captured and transported to Hungary where they were imprisoned for two months. After the war she continued her mission work in India, and was honoured with the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal for Public Service by the Indian Government. She was an active member of the Burnside sewing circle during WWII. 

Ethel Bensusan (nee De Lissa)[1877-1973] graduated with a BA from the University of Sydney in 1897. She married a year later and following her husband’s career as a mining engineer, lived in South Africa, Rhodesia, England and Brazil. The Bensusans relocated often but called England home where Ethel was one of the early Montessori educationalists. In 1918 in England she offered  her services to the War Office, and was employed in a section of the Secret Service, on a censorship of a foreign press, which worked with a Ministry of Information. She was fluent in languages and worked in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Esperanto, and German. 



Dr Mary Clementina de Garis [1881- 1963] graduated in medicine from the Universityof Melbourne in 1905. Two years later she became the second woman in Victoria to take out an M.D. On the death of her fiancé in World War I, she served for fifteen months as head of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service attached to the Serbian Army and was decorated by the Serbian government. After post-graduate study overseas, she practised with distinction as an obstetrician in Geelong and was a pioneer in the feeding of high protein diets to pregnant women. 



Dr Eleanor Alice Allen [1868-1937] graduated with a BA from the University of Adelaide in 1914. In 1927 she was awarded a PhD from London University and returned to South Australia where she established a distinguished career in private practice as a psychologist specialising in vocational guidance and working at the Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. In 1930 she addressed the Housewives’ Association of SA on the ‘Psychology of the Housewife’ offering advice with ways to get husbands to share the load of housework.

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