Meet the Women of CSIRO

Women throughout history

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Frances Elizabeth (Betty) Allan
Betty Allan is acknowledged as being CSIRO's first statistician. She joined the then Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1930 and championed and demonstrated the usefulness of biometrics in science.

Anne Bourne
A statistician with the CSIRO from 1969 to 1991 and an Honorary Fellow with CSIRO Entomology, Mrs Bourne has been a powerful role model for her colleagues. Mrs Bourne won the inaugural Lifetime Contribution to Science Award in the Queensland Government’s Smart Women – Smart State Awards.

Nancy Tyson Burbidge
Nancy Burbidge was a systematic botanist and Curator of the Herbarium, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry. She published Flora of the ACT with Max Gray and several other books on Australian plants. Dr Burbidge was a founding member and twice President of the National Parks Association of the ACT and she was prominent in lobbying for the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park.

Shirley Winifred Jeffrey
Jeffrey was a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO's marine biochemistry unit between 1971 and 1977. From 1977 to 1981, she was a Senior Principal Research Scientist at the CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography and then Acting Chief of the CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research (1981-84). In 1991, she became a Chief Research Scientist.

Kathleen Rachel Makinson
Kathleen Rachel Makinson (née White) was the first woman at CSIRO to become a Chief Research Scientist (in the Division of Textile Physics) and also, at the time, the first to hold the position of Acting Chief. She was an authority on wool felting friction and shrink proofing.

Catherine Anne Money
In 1966, Catherine Anne Money joined the Leather Research Centre, at the CSIRO Division of Protein Chemistry as an Experimental Scientist, being promoted to Senior Research Scientist in 1987. From 1988 to 1998, Catherine was Deputy Leader of the Leather Research Centre and Leader of the Bovine Leathers project being promoted to Principal Research Scientist in 1989. In 1998, she was promoted to the position of Group Manager of CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology's Leather Research Centre at Clayton. In 2001, she was appointed Officer-in-Charge, CSIRO Leather Research Centre at Clayton.

Ruby Payne-Scott
Ruby Payne-Scott had a remarkable career at CSIRO as a radio astronomer where she worked on the development of World War II radar as well as in solar astronomy. In the years 1945 to 1947, she discovered three of the five categories of solar bursts originating in the solar corona and made major contributions to the techniques of radio astronomy. 

Oya Sevimli
Oya Sevimli was the Science Leader for Millimetre Wave and Microwave Technologies with the CSIRO ICT Centre, Sydney, Australia. Her research highlights include the development of novel integrated circuits such as InP HEMT oscillators, InP HEMT bidirectional amplifiers, GaAs HEMT low noise amplifiers, GaAs Schottky diode mixers (all at 50 and 100 GHz) and GaAs HEMT voltage-controlled oscillators from 12.5 to 30 GHz. Ms Sevimli left CSIRO to take up an appointment at Macquarie University, Sydney, to undertake research towards her doctorate.

Helen Alma Newton Turner
Helen Alma Newton Turner graduated Bachelor of Architecture with Honours from the University of Sydney in 1930 during the depresĀ­sion and could find no better job than that of a secretary in an architect's office. When It closed a year later she was appointed secretary to Ian Clunies Ross, the head of CSIR's McMaster Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Sydney. He recognised her potential and arranged for her to go to England for a year to study statistics applied to agriculture. This was the start of a scientific career that would see her recognised as one of the pioneers of sheep breeding internationally.