Wednesday, 2 November 2022
It is wonderful to be with you once again as your Patron and to continue my connection with the Lyceum Club of Adelaide.
With the official launch of the book 100 Years of Women’s Voices 1922-2022 we participate in the continuum of this year’s celebrations which I have been delighted to be part of: the Centenary lunch and the cutting of the cake, the completion of the book and it now being available for us to touch, hold, read and marvel at the wonderful history it contains.
Today we celebrate history of the Lyceum club, its amazing members and, more widely, we acknowledge the role that women have played in our community over the past 100 years.
Throughout human history, women have been coming together to share their stories and knowledge, listen to each other, support each other, invest in each other, be inspired and above all enjoy each other’s company.
Through the Lyceum Club, these activities have been sustained and nurtured against the backdrop of changing times and women’s contributions to the professional and social fabric of our society as well as its intellectual discourse.
Through 100 Years of Women’s Voices, the extraordinary history of the Lyceum Club and its evolution from providing a safe, collegial meeting place for like-minded professional women is captured in this, the Centenary Year.
Over that time the membership demographic has changed with the demands of family, workforce and social mores.
As your patron, I would urge you to continue your valuable work in ensuring the longevity and growth of the club by finding ways to enable those with full time careers - and therefore time poor - to boost membership and contribute to the wealth of insights available amongst you.
Importantly the book has captured the stories of women both past and present that are the heart of the Lyceum Club.
We need look no further than doctor and medical educator, Dr Helen Mayo, founder and first President of the Lyceum Club, to be inspired by the legacy of the many women who have been members - lawyers, politicians, teachers, academics, doctors, scientists, social workers, musicians, artists, writers, even space archaeologists!
The stories are fascinating and varied, but through them we can reflect on what we have always ourselves innately known: that women are multifaceted, highly skilled, and are there when our families or communities need us.
As Governor, I have found a strong correlation between organisations and communities which know and celebrate their history and organisational and community resilience and well-being.
I’ve loved dipping into the book. There are many fascinating insights to be gleaned.
Among them that Pamela Brinsley designed the kangaroo roundel that has pride of place on all our military aircraft;
That five tiny insects, new to science, were named after entomologist and world expert Helen Brookes;
Or that Jane Brummitt was at the forefront of the campaign to save Nutcote House in Sydney’s Neutral Bay where esteemed author May Gibbs lived for 45 years.
There are many firsts outlined in the book: Our first female South Australian Governor, Dame Roma Mitchell; one of the first women doctors to be sent to the front in World War 1, Dr Phoebe Chapple; the first woman elected to the South Australian Legislative Council, Jessie Cooper at the same time as Joyce Steele to the House of Assembly; the first female teller at the National Australia Bank King William Street head office, Margaret Duncan, and the first woman to graduate with the Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the University of Adelaide, Dr Carolyn Wigg.
I am sure you will forgive me if I also mention a family connection and say I am proud that my aunt, prominent historian Dr Helen Jones is in the book. She was the first woman to be appointed to the South Australian Working party of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and I loved reading her carefully researched history of The Lyceum Club: Its founder and her ideals in Appendix 1, written on the occasion of the Club’s 70th anniversary in 1992.
Connections are at the heart of the Lyceum club and today it is also wonderful that I can renew my acquaintance with eminent nurse educator and historian Dr Joan Durdin, who celebrates her 100th birthday in the Club’s Centenary year.
There are many more gems to be discovered in this book. I congratulate those who spent many hours compiling it.
I trust it will inspire others not only to discover the stories of remarkable women and how they have shaped our community, but to carry their legacy forward.
I have great pleasure in launching the book and wishing the Lyceum Club well for the next 100 years.