Letter from WHP McKenzie in Wellington, New Zealand to Mrs Macpherson, mother of Hope Macpherson, enquiring after the family, dated 24 May 1938.

Description of Content

Colour portrait of Hope Macpherson wearing a knitted top light olive green, collar edged in a lighter colour, pink bow in front on neck line, wearing glasses and not smiling. Image mounted on offwhite backing card that has some foxing.

Physical Description

One sheet off white writing stationery handwritten in black ink on both sides.


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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