Miss Australia

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Miss Australia is the title for the winner of the Miss Australia Quest/Awards, which ran from 1954 until 2000, when the last Miss Australia was named.

The title of Miss Australia had existed since 1908, although it was not until 1954 that it became associated with The Spastic Centres of Australia.[1] The Miss Australia Quest was sponsored and organised from 1954 until the early 1960s by the lingerie manufacturer, Hickory, until Dowd Associates transferred the ownership to the Australian Cerebral Palsy Association in 1963.

From 1926 the program operated under the name of The Miss Australia Quest until 1992 when it was changed to The Miss Australia Awards to reflect changing community attitudes.

Miss Australia raised money for The Spastic Centres of Australia through her family and friends. She was judged on merit, as well as raising the monies for children and adults with cerebral palsy.

The pearl-encrusted Miss Australia crown, worn by titleholders from 1965 to 1991, is held at the National Museum of Australia. The crown was hand-crafted in silver and blue velvet, and decorated with more than 800 pearls. Designed by Melbourne artist Ernest Booth and manufactured in Japan, the crown was presented to the Miss Australia Quest in 1965 by Toyomoto Australia Pty Ltd. The crown was last used in 1991.[2]

The History of Miss Australia[edit]

Titleholders[edit]

Beryl Mills in 1927.
  • 1908 - Alice Buckridge
  • 1926 - Beryl Mills
  • 1927 - Phyllis Von Alwyn
  • 1937 - Sheila Martin
  • 1946 - Rhonda Kelly
  • 1947 - Judy Gainford
  • 1948 - Beryl James
  • 1949 - Margaret Hughes
  • 1950 - 1952 No Miss Australia as a result of the dispute between Miss Australia 1949 and her chaperon.
  • 1953 - Maxine Morgan

Began its association with The Spastic Centres of Australia

  • 1954 - Shirley Bliss
  • 1955 - Maureen Kistle
  • 1956 - June Finlayson
  • 1957 - Helen Wood
  • 1958 - Pam Mackay
  • 1959 - Joan Stanbury
  • 1960 - Rosemary Fenton
  • 1961 - Tania Verstak
  • 1962 - Tricia Reschke
  • 1964 - Jan Taylor
  • 1965 - Carole Jackson
  • 1966 - Sue Gallie
  • 1967 - Margaret Rohan
  • 1968 - Helen Newton
  • 1969 - Suzanne McClelland
  • 1970 - Rhonda Iffland
  • 1971 - June Wright
  • 1972 - Gay Walker
  • 1973 - Michelle Downes
  • 1974 - Randy Baker
  • 1975 - Kerry Doyle
  • 1976 - Sharon Betty
  • 1977 - Francene Maras
  • 1978 - Gloria Krope
  • 1979 - Anne Sneddon
  • 1980 - Eleanor Morton
  • 1981 - Leanne Dick
  • 1982 - Jenny Coupland
  • 1983 - Lisa Cornelius
  • 1984 - Maryanne Koznjak
  • 1985 - Maria Ridley
  • 1986 - Tracey Pearson
  • 1987 - Judi Green
  • 1988 - Caroline Lumley
  • 1989 - Lea Dickson
  • 1990 - Rebecca Noble
  • 1991 - Helena Wayth
  • 1992 - Suzanne Lee
  • 1993 - Joanne Dick
  • 1994 - Jane Bargwanna
  • 1995 - Margaret Tierney
  • 1996 - Suzanne Haward
  • 1997 - Tracy Secombe
  • 1998 - Suellen Fuller
  • 1999 - Nalishebo Gaskell
  • 2000 - Sheree Primer
  • 2014 - Mindy Halabe

Ended its association with The Spastic Centres of Australia

Miss Australia at International pageants[edit]

Australia is now represented by either Miss Universe Australia or Miss World Australia. In 2013 two new Miss Australia titles were created to compete in Miss Supranational and Miss Grand International.

Main article: Miss World Australia
  • 1952 - Leah MacCartney
  • 1953 - Maxine Morgan (4th RU)
  • 1954 - Shirley Bliss
  • 1955 - no (Universe),Beverly Prowse (World-Semi-finalist)
  • 1956 - no (Universe)
  • 1957 - no (Universe),June Finlayson (World)
  • 1958 - Astrid Tanda Lindholm
  • 1959 - no (Universe)
  • 1960 - no (Universe)
  • 1961 - no (Universe)
  • 1962 - no (Universe)
  • 1963 - no (Universe)
  • 1964 - Maria Luyben
  • 1965 - Pauline Verey (Universe-Semi-finalist),Jan Rennison (World)
  • 1966 - no (Universe)
  • 1967 - no (Universe),Judy Lockey (World)
  • 1968 - Lauren Jones (Universe),Penelope Plummer(Miss World 1968)
  • 1969 - Joanne Barret (Universe 2nd RU),Stefane Meurer (World)
  • 1970 - Joan Lydia Zealand (Universe-2nd RU), Valli Kemp (World-Semi-finalist)
  • 1971 - Tony Suzanne Rayward (Universe-1st RU),Valerie Roberts (World-Semi-finalist)
  • 1972 - Kerry Anne Wells (Miss Universe 1972),Belinda Green (Miss World 1972)
  • 1973 - Susan Mainwaring (Universe),Virginia Radinas (World)
  • 1974 - Yasmin May Nagy (Universe-Semi-finalist),Gail Margaret Petith (World-3rd RU)
  • 1975 - Jennifer Matthews(Universe),Anne Davidson (World-Semi-finalist)
  • 1976 - Julie Anne Ismay (Universe-4th RU), Karen Jo Pini (World-1st RU)
  • 1977 - Jill Maree Minahan(Universe),Jaye-Leanne Hopewell (World-Finalist)
  • 1978 - Beverly Frances Pinder(Universe),Denise Ellen Coward (World-2nd RU)
  • 1979 - Kerry Dunderdale (Universe),Jodie Anne Day (World-3rd RU)
  • 1980 - Katrina Judith Rose Redina (Universe), Linda Leigh Shepherd (World)
  • 1981 - Karen Sang (Universe), Melissa Hannan (World-Finalist & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1982 - Lou-Anne Caroline Ronchi(Universe & International-semi-finalist),Catherine Anne Morris(World-Semi-finalist & queen of Oceania)
  • 1983 - Simone Cox (Universe), Tanya Bowe (World-Queen of Oceania)
  • 1984 - Donna Thelma Rudrum (Universe),Lou-Anne Caroline Ronchi(World-2nd RU)
  • 1985 - Elizabeth Rowly (Universe), Angelina Nasso (World)
  • 1986 - Lucinda Bucat (Universe & International 86),Stephanie Eleanor Andrews (World)
  • 1987 - Jennine Susan Leonarder(Universe),Vanessa Gibson (International-Semi-finalist),Donna Thelma Rudrum (World)
  • 1988 - Vanessa Gibson (Universe),Catherine Bushell (World-Semi-finalist & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1989 - Karen Wenden (Universe-Miss Photogenic),Natalie McCurry (Semi-finalist & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1990 - Charmaine Ware (Universe),Karina Brown (World)
  • 1991 - no (Universe),Leanne Buckle (World-1st RU & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1992 - Georgina Denahy (Universe-Semi-finalist),Rebecca Simic (World)
  • 1993 - Voni Delfos (Universe-finalist),Karen Ann Carwin (World)
  • 1994 - Michelle van Eimeren (Universe),Skye Edwards (World)
  • 1995 - Jacqueline Shooter (Universe),Melissa Porter (World-Semi-finalist)
  • 1996 - Jodie McMullen (Universe), Nicole Smith (World)
  • 1997 - Laura Csortan (Universe-Miss Amity & world-Semi-finalist)
  • 1998 - Renee Henderson (Universe), Sarah Jane St.Clair (World)
  • 1999 - Michelle Shead (Universe), Kathryn Hay (World)
  • 2000 - Samantha Frost (Universe), Renee Henderson (World)
  • 2001 - no (Miss Universe), Eva Milic (World), Christy Anderson (Earth)
  • 2002 - Sarah Davies (Universe), Nicole Ghazal ( Miss Australia World - Semi Finalist), Ineke Candice Leffers(Earth)
  • 2003 - Ashlea Talbot (Universe), Olivia Stratton ( Miss Australia World - Winner: Miss World People's Choice), Shivaune Christina Field(Earth)
  • 2004 - Jennifer Hawkins (Miss Universe 2004), Sarah Davies (Miss Australia World - Semi Finalist), Alethea Lindsay (Miss World Australia runner up), Shenevelle Dickson (Miss Earth-Finalist)
  • 2005 - Michelle Guy (Universe), Alethea Lindsay (Miss Universe Australia runner up), Denae Brunow (Miss Australia World), Ann Maree Bowdler (Earth)
  • 2006 - Erin McNaught (Miss Universe), Sabrina Houssami (Miss Australia World - 2nd Runner Up, Miss Asia Pacific World ), Victoria Winter (Miss Earth)
  • 2007 - Kimberley Busteed (Miss Universe), Caroline Pemberton (Miss Australia World), Victoria Stewart (Miss Earth)
  • 2008 - Laura Dundovic (Miss Universe- top 10 finalist), Katie Richardson (Miss Australia World), Rachael Smith (Miss Earth),
  • 2009 - Rachael Finch (Universe - 3rd runner up), Sophie Lavers (Miss Australia World - Miss World Talent 2009 3rd Runner Up)
  • 2010 - Jesinta Campbell (Universe - 2nd Runner up), Ashleigh Francis (Miss Australia World)
  • 2011 - Scherri-Lee Biggs (Universe - top 10 finalists), Amber Greasley (Miss World Australia - Miss World Quarter Finalist)
  • 2012 - Renae Ayris (Universe - 3rd Runner up), Jessica Kahawaty (Miss Australia World - Miss World 2nd Runner Up)
  • 2013 - Olivia Wells (Miss Universe), Erin Holland (Miss World Australia - Miss World Oceania),[3]Esma Voloder (Miss Supranational Australia - Miss Supranational Asia & Oceania), Kelly Louise Mcguire (Miss Grand Australia - Miss Grand International Top 5)
  • 2014 - Tegan Martin Miss Universe Australia Courtney Thorpe (Miss World Australia)

Miss Australia 1954 - 2000[edit]

Miss Australia and Charity/Fundraisers 1954 - 2000 (with photos) [4]

Miss Australia - State Titleholders 1954 - 2000[edit]

Miss New South Wales and Charity/Fundraisers 1954 - 2000 (with photos)[5]

Famous Miss Australias[edit]

One of the most famous Miss Australias was Tania Verstak. She was born in China of Russian parents, and when she won Miss Australia in 1961, she was the first woman of an immigrant background to win the award. Verstak's daughter is the actor Nina Young.

The 1960 Miss Australia, Rosemary Fenton, became the second wife of Ian Sinclair, former leader of the federal National Party and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The 1960 "Miss Darling Downs" was Gay Kayler, a multiple beauty quest title holder, television personality, award-winning country music entertainer and recording artist.

The 1973 Miss Australia, Michelle Downes, was the second wife (1974–75) of Peter Brock.

The first Aboriginal woman to win the Miss Australia title was Kathryn Hay in 1999. Hay subsequently became a Cabinet Secretary in the Tasmanian government.

The 1994 Miss Australia Universe, Michelle van Eimeren, became a household name when she stayed in the Philippines and became an actress and married a Filipino comedian-actor-singer, Ogie Alcasid.

Stories from the people involved[edit]

In 2007, a National Museum of Australia exhibition, Miss Australia: A Nation's Quest, told the stories of titleholders, volunteers, fundraisers and sponsors involved in the Miss Australia Quest. Historic dresses, trophies and crowns were also included in the exhibition.[6]

Miss Australia in International Beauty Pageants[edit]

There are now multiple competitions using Miss Australia in their title. To differentiate amongst the official national preliminaries to international competitions, the franchise name is added to Miss Australia.

For example, Australia's Miss Universe contestants never came from The Spastic Centres Association Miss Australia. A local modelling agency selected representatives through small beauty pageants and screenings.

In 2002 Jim Davie revived Miss Universe in Australia by setting up the Miss Universe Australia organisation. This contest, which exclusively sends contestants to Miss Universe, was made famous by Jennifer Hawkins's victory in the 2004 Miss Universe pageant in Quito, Ecuador. Jennifer became only the second Australian woman ever to win the international title, following Kerry Anne Wells who won the pageant in 1972.

For the Miss World contest, a Miss World Australia is chosen through screenings. In previous years, titleholders from the original Miss World Australia contest were sent to Miss World. However, this was not the case in 2006, when the national contest was cancelled and Sabrina Houssami was controversially crowned the winner. Penelope Plummer became Australia's first Miss World in 1968.

Sources and Further Reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cerebral Palsy Alliance: Miss Australia History
  2. ^ Miss Australia crown, National Museum of Australia
  3. ^ http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/erin-holland-wins-miss-world-australia/story-e6frfmq9-1226682496230
  4. ^ The Spastic Centre: Miss Australia Titleholders 1954 to 2000
  5. ^ The Spastic Centre: Miss New South Wales Titleholders 1954 to 2000
  6. ^ National Museum of Australia: Miss Australia: A Nation's Quest

External links[edit]