Black and white image of Hope Macpherson shaking hands with Dr Phillip Law while Dr Mary Gillham (right) and Isobel Bennett look on. Hope Macpherson 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 this was the MV 'Magga Dan'', although other historical records indicate that the 1959 expedition travelled on the MV 'Thala Dan'.

Description of Content

Black and white image of three ladies standing behind balustrade of the Antarctic exploration vessel MV 'Magga Dan', with Hope Macpherson in the middle shaking hands with gentleman while the other two ladies look on. Lady on right wearing watch on left wrist, lady on right wearing neck scarf. All ladies wearing blouses, gentleman standing opposite side of balustrade wearing light coloured suit and bearded.

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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