Sepia image of Hope Black nee Macpherson taken at the conferring of her degree at Melbourne University in April 1946, showing her with fellow student George Gordon and five other family members and friends.
Hope Macpherson was the first female Curator at the National Museum of Victoria. She began as a general Museum assistant in 30th August 1937 working on displays. She studied for her zoology degree part-time whilst working at the Museum, making up the time in the evening and on weekends.
On 14th January 1946 Hope was appointed Curator of Molluscs and went on to publish Marine Molluscs of Victoria with Charles Garbriel. Hope was one of the party of four women to be the first allowed to visit the Antarctic, Macquarie Island for research in December 1959.
Upon her marriage in 1965 she was required to resign from her professional position under the terms of the marriage bar. She went on to have a distinguished career as an educator.
Description of Content
Sepia image full length view seven people standing in a row on grass, two in centre wearing academic gowns, three ladies wearing hats, brick wall containing lead light window in background. From left Agnes Ken, George Mackie, Hope Macpherson, George Gordon, Jean Gordon, Jessie Macpherson, David Macpherson.
Sepia image full length view seven people standing in a row on grass, two in centre wearing academic gowns, three ladies wearing hats, brick wall containing lead light window in background.
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.
Donation from Hope Black (nee Macpherson), Apr 2011
1547 stamped in black ink. Conferring of degrees Melbourne University April 1946. From left Agnes Ken, George Mackie, Hope Macpherson, George Gordon, Jean Gordon, Jessie Macpherson, David Macpherson. [Hand written in pencil]
Type of item
Image Dimensions - Photograph
138 mm (Length), 85 mm (Width)