Australian Biography: Dame Beryl Beaurepaire


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2008, 26 Minutes

Born in Melbourne in 1923, women’s activist Dame Beryl Beaurepaire is a pioneering Australian feminist. After serving in the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force during World War II, she married Ian Beaurepaire of the Olympic Tyre dynasty.

Dame Beryl became Melbourne's Lady Mayoress in 1965, and at a time when few women were in the workforce, she put her energy into community and charity work.

Recruited by Sir Robert Menzies to work in the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party, Dame Beryl graduated to the Federal branch of the party and lobbied successive prime ministers on both sides of politics. A willingness to challenge existing systems, a sense of social justice, a belief in equal rights and opportunity and a need to contribute to community life led to her becoming one of the most influential woman in the Federal Liberal Party.

Convener of the first National Women's Advisory Council and the first woman to be the Chair of the Australian War Memorial, Dame Beryl has tackled women's employment, domestic violence, sex discrimination and education issues, among many other issues.

In this interview, Dame Beryl describes how she grew up in an era when women were expected to play only an auxiliary role to men, how she came into politics, feminism and the tactics she used to lobby powerful politicians.

A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Free Teachers’ Notes - Download here

NB The Australian Biography series (1-11) are only available for sale within the territories of Australia and New Zealand.


Producer/Director: Rod Freedman

Year: 2008

Running Time: 26 Minutes

Classification: Exempt from classification

Region: 0

Curriculum Links: English, Personal Development (especially topic of Gender), Women’s Studies, Society and Environment, Society and Culture, Politics and Philosophy.

SKU 200600503
Brand Film Australia

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