Women of the North

Celebrating the fascinating lives of women in the history of North Queensland

Author Archives

Trisha Fielding

I am a writer, historian, and amateur photographer living in North Queensland, Australia. My latest book: 'Asleep in the Deep: a love lost on the SS Yongala', is due to be published by the Townsville Museum and Historical Society in 2022.

The Darling of the Press — Phoebe Lewis

When Miss Phoebe Ailsa Lewis — Australia’s first female Linotype operator — entered into the male-dominated world of newspapers at the age of 14, she was considered to be something of an oddity. Born in Muttaburra in Central Queensland in 1882, she was taught by a private tutor until the family moved to Townsville; after which time she completed a primary school education at Central State School. Around 1896, Phoebe […]

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What happened to Caroline Landsborough’s children?

The Letters of Caroline Landsborough (Part Two): What happened to Carry’s children? Since the publication of Part One of this blog on the John Oxley library Blog I’ve had a few people ask me the question: what happened to Caroline Landsborough’s children? What was their fate, after the death of their mother?  Let’s back-track to where we left things… Caroline (Carry) Landsborough, wife of the explorer William Landsborough, died from Tuberculosis […]

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The Letters of Caroline Landsborough

Here’s a link to an article I recently had published on the John Oxley Library Blog: https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/blog/letters-caroline-landsborough I’ll be posting some follow-up articles soon, so catch up on this one first, and then stay tuned! “I miss you much and wish we were once more together with our little ones. I am so tired, dearest Willy. Your own loving wife Carry.” Caroline Landsborough, to husband William Landsborough, 1869. State Library […]

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Jean Devanny

Jean Devanny was an author, political activist, feminist, socialist, and naturalist (and a whole lot more besides). She was born in New Zealand in 1894 and migrated to Australia with her husband and children in 1929. A member of the Communist Party, she was very active in the labour movement and often spoke at public rallies and meetings. Devanny was also a prolific author. She published around 20 books (both fiction […]

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Amanda Mikkelsen – a woman of the goldfields

The rush to the Palmer River, in North Queensland, began in June 1873 when a party of prospectors, led by James Venture Mulligan, found payable gold there. Within months there were 5,000 people (mostly men) prospecting along what became known as the ‘River of Gold’. Officially, gold production on the Palmer River Goldfield yielded 3.5 million ounces, however, it has been estimated the actual yield was probably four times this […]

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Neither Mischievous nor Meddlesome

A new book by Trisha Fielding. Available now! This is the fascinating story of a group of North Queensland women who tirelessly devoted their lives to the service of others, but have largely been forgotten by the communities in which they lived and worked. Even though doctors thought many midwives were mischievous and meddlesome, and actively sought to eradicate them, it was women who dominated in the provision of midwifery […]

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The Lambton Ladies

The youngest of ten children, Elsie Idrea Lambton, was a professional photographer who ran her own studio in Townsville in the 1920s. Trained by the photographer Ada Driver at the Ada Driver Studios in Brisbane, in 1921 Elsie opened a studio in Townsville after working for W. J. Laurie, taking over a studio in the Municipal Buildings in Flinders Street. In 1923 she opened the Elsie Lambton Studio and advertised her […]

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Mary Jane Derrer – M.M.

Late in the evening of 22 July 1917, four Australian nurses were working at the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, in Trois Arbes, France, when it was bombed by enemy aircraft. In an act of great bravery, Sisters Mary Jane Derrer, Clare Deacon, Dorothy Cawood and Alice Ross-King heroically rescued patients trapped in burning hospital tents. Witness accounts describe nurses running to tents shattered by bombs to rescue patients, either carrying […]

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Dr Jean White – Australia’s first female flying doctor

In 1937, a Victorian doctor named Jean White became the first female flying doctor in Australia (and probably the world) when she joined the Australian Inland Mission in Queensland. Stationed at Croydon, in North Queensland, Dr. White was appointed to assist Dr.  G. W. F. Alberry, whose base was 220 miles away, at Cloncurry. Together, the two doctors provided medical care to an area larger than New South Wales. After graduating with a […]

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The Clever Mrs Cameron – Orpheus Studio

Charlotte Cameron was an artist and musician who ran the Orpheus Studio, in Flinders Street, Townsville, between 1916 and 1923. On a number of occasions she was commissioned to produce illuminated addresses* or albums for high-profile Queensland dignitaries and other notable citizens, and she also composed many pieces of music for commemorative purposes, including the ‘Townsville Waltz’ and the ‘Canberra Waltz’. Charlotte, the director and business manager of the Orpheus […]

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