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

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

Description of Content

Black and white image of four ladies on board ship leaning on balustrade. All four ladies wearing blouses, one wearing a head scarf, one wearing scarf around neck. Two ladies looking to their left, other two looking to their right. In far left of image the hand only of an unknown person can be seen resting on the balustrade.

Physical Description

Black and white image of four ladies on board ship leaning on balustrade.


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.

More Information