Black and white image of Hope Macpherson (left) with Harry Redfern and Isobel Bennett. Hope along with Isobel Bennett, Susan Ingham and Mary Gillham, were the first women to visit the Antarctic, travelling on board the Magga Dan during their expedition in December 1959. Hope was also the first female curator at National Museum of Victoria (now Museum Victoria).

While the information provided by the donor states they sailed on the Magga Dan, we know this expedition went on the Thala Dan.

Description of Content

Black and white image of two ladies standing each side of gentleman standing in centre, on board ship. Gentleman dressed in a safari like jacket is looking straight at camera, while ladies are standing side on, both looking to their right. Lady on right wearing skirt, blouse and bomber jacket, lady on left wearing floral dress, light coloured jacket and glasses.

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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