Black and white image of Hope Macpherson along with Isobel Bennett, Susan Ingham and Mary Gillham, the first women to visit the Antarctic, travelling on board the Magga Dan during their expedition in December 1959. Hope Macpherson was 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 in Dec 1958, we know the first expedition by females to the Antarctic was on the Thala Dan in Dec 1959.

Left to right: Isobel Bennett, Mary Gillham, Hope Macpherson and Susan Ingham.

Description of Content

Black and white image of four ladies on board ship standing alongside balustrade, three ladies facing camera and waving, fourth lady looking away from camera and holding equipment. Gentleman wearing uniform and cap on far left of image.

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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