Black and white portrait of Jessie Macpherson, mother of Hope Macpherson, first female curator at the National Museum of Victoria (now Museum Victoria). Hope Macpherson along with Isobel Bennett, Susan Ingham and Mary Gillham were the first women to visit the Antarctic in their December 1959 expedition.

Description of Content

Black and white portrait of an older lady wearing reading glasses, wavy hair in a flat style, V neck top with lace trim reminiscent of earlier era and pin tucked from shoulders. Left edge of image angles out at the top (top wider than bottom).

Physical Description

Black and white image.


The Hope (Macpherson) Black Collection is a significant addition to Museum Victoria's working lives collection, it reveals the journey of a woman from depression era Melbourne and illustrates the power of education. It also reveals the often discriminatory policies in place in Victoria before the equal opportunity developments of the late 20th century. In balance though it also exposes the somewhat free expression possible for empowered women in this period. Hope Macpherson clearly states that in her day to day work she never felt discrimination and believes she was given great opportunity to pursue her career and aspirations. However, on analysis her role was often shaped by her gender and its perceived strengths and weaknesses; she was dissuaded from applying to become a taxidermist as it was 'an unsuitable job for a woman', although part of the first group of female scientists allowed to travel to Macquarie Island they were not permitted to camp on land with the male crew for fear of inciting passions. And finally after a distinguished career she was forced to resign her tenure as Australia's first female Curator when she married late in life, as a consequence of the Marriage bar.

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