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History Archive


Earliest days

The first report of formal interest in wireless by a lady was revealed during 1919 when a Miss Rogers made an enquiry about the possibility of joining the South Australian Division (although a number of ladies were reportedly at the inaugural meeting of the Wireless Institute in Sydney in 1910).
It now appears that Miss Rogers could have been the daughter of S.A. wireless pioneer, Arthur Rogers, a brilliant laboratory technician, who worked with Professor William Bragg of Adelaide University on wireless in 1897!

In 1922, two young ladies, Miss Ellen Ive and Miss Gladys Giles were admitted to membership of the Queensland Wireless Institute, the first lady members in that state.

Florence Wallace

One of Australia's foremost licenced lady experimenters was Florence Wallace, (later McKenzie) of Sydney. She is the first known licenced lady amateur in Australia. A qualified electrical engineer, Florence operated a wireless/electrical shop in the heart of Sydney from 1921. She held 2FV and later VK2GA. Florence was a very active and respected lady operator, who was involved with establishing the magazine Wireless Weekly, in August 1922.

Florence, or "Mrs Mac", established the WESC (Women's Emergency Signal Corps) which provided a no-charge Morse code training facility. From this, grew the WRANS, the Women's Royal Australian Navy. "Mrs Mac" trained many!

Austine Marshall

Another outstanding lady operator was Austine Henry (nee Marshall), VK3YL, first licenced in 1930. In many ways, Austine had similarities with Florence. She constructed her own transmitters, for which she won prizes and was a keen operator who was deeply respected by other amateurs.

In 1934 Austine joined the R.A.A.F. Reserve and during WWII, went on to train many operators in Morse code at the WIA during WWII.

The Ladies form their own Organisation

The number of lady operators steadily grew over the years; many however, preferred to remain behind the anonymity of Morse code operation!

It was in 1975 that the idea of an organisation to promote and extend the interest for women in amateur radio, was conceived by Norma Boyle VK3AYL. With the help of a few other ladies, Norma established LARA - the Ladies Amateur Radio Association. This organisation was based in Victoria.

Today, Australia has many lady operators using all modes and operating on most bands. Many are leaders within local clubs and they are supported by their own organisation ALARA - Australian Ladies Amateur Radio Association which is affiliated with the WIA.

Files For Download

Wireless and the Fair Sex - WW1
Wireless & the Fair Sex WW 1915.pdf

Florence Wallace Business Advertisment 1923
Miss FV Wallace Busn. Adv..pdf

Austine Marshall 1932
Miss Austine Marshall VK3YL.pdf

A 1951 Y/L's Humorous View of Amateur Radio!
I Married Five Radios WM 1951.pdf

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