Miss Australia

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Miss Australia
Formation 1908-2000
Type Beauty Pageant
Headquarters Sydney
Location
Official language
English

Miss Australia was the title for the winner of the Miss Australia Quest or the Miss Australia Awards, which ran from 1954 until 2000, when the last Miss Australia was named. From 2002, the Miss World Australia contest has been held, and the Miss Universe Australia contest has been held since 2004.

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 to 1991 the program operated as the Miss Australia Quest, after which the name 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]

Titleholders[edit]

Rhonda Kelly in 1945
Margaret Hughes in 1950
Jan Taylor, Miss Australia 1964 in Egypt
Suzanne McClelland, Miss Australia 1969 in the Netherlands
  • 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
  • 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

Miss Australia at International pageants[edit]

Australia is now represented by either Miss Universe Australia or Miss World Australia:

  • 1952 – Leah MacCartney
  • 1953 – Maxine Morgan (4th RU)
  • 1954 – Shirley Bliss
  • 1955 – no (Universe),Beverly Prowse (World Miss - semi-finalist)
  • 1956 – no (Universe)
  • 1957 – no (Universe),June Finlayson (Miss 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 (Miss Universe - semi-finalist), Jan Rennison (Miss World)
  • 1966 – no (Universe)
  • 1967 – no (Universe), Judy Lockey (Miss World)
  • 1968 – Lauren Jones (Miss Universe), Penelope Plummer (Miss World 1968)
  • 1969 – Joanne Barret (Miss Universe 2nd RU), Stefane Meurer (Miss World)
  • 1970 – Joan Lydia Zealand (Miss Universe-2nd RU), Valli Kemp (Miss World-Semi-finalist)
  • 1971 – Tony Suzanne Rayward (Miss Universe-1st RU), Valerie Roberts (Miss World-Semi-finalist)
  • 1972 – Kerry Anne Wells (Miss Universe 1972), Belinda Green (Miss World 1972)
  • 1973 – Susan Mainwaring (Miss Universe), Virginia Radinas (World)
  • 1974 – Yasmin May Nagy (Miss Universe-Semi-finalist), Gail Margaret Petith (World-3rd RU)
  • 1975 – Jennifer Matthews(Miss Universe), Anne Davidson (World-Semi-finalist)
  • 1976 – Julie Anne Ismay (Miss Universe-4th RU), Karen Jo Pini (Miss World-1st RU)
  • 1977 – Jill Maree Minahan(Miss Universe), Jaye-Leanne Hopewell (Miss World - finalist)
  • 1978 – Beverly Frances Pinder (Miss Universe),Denise Ellen Coward (Miss World - 2nd RU)
  • 1979 – Kerry Dunderdale (Miss Universe), Jodie Anne Day (Miss World - 3rd RU)
  • 1980 – Katrina Judith Rose Redina (Miss Universe), Linda Leigh Shepherd (Miss World)
  • 1981 – Karen Sang (Universe), Melissa Hannan (Miss World - finalist & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1982 – Lou-Anne Caroline Ronchi(Miss Universe & Miss International - semi-finalist), Catherine Anne Morris (Miss World - semi-finalist & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1983 – Simone Cox (Universe), Tanya Bowe (Miss World, Queen of Oceania)
  • 1984 – Donna Thelma Rudrum (Miss Universe), Lou-Anne Caroline Ronchi(Miss World - 2nd RU)
  • 1985 – Elizabeth Rowly (Miss Universe), Angelina Nasso (Miss World)
  • 1986 – Lucinda Bucat (Miss Universe & Miss International 86), Stephanie Eleanor Andrews (Miss World)
  • 1987 – Jennine Susan Leonarder(Miss Universe), Vanessa Gibson (Miss International - semi-finalist), Donna Thelma Rudrum (Miss World)
  • 1988 – Vanessa Gibson (Miss Universe), Catherine Bushell (Miss World - Semi-finalist & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1989 – Karen Wenden (Miss Universe, Miss Photogenic), Natalie McCurry (Semi-finalist & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1990 – Charmaine Ware (Miss Universe), Karina Brown (Miss World)
  • 1991 – no (Universe), Leanne Buckle (Miss World-1st RU & Queen of Oceania)
  • 1992 – Georgina Denahy (Miss Universe-Semi-finalist), Rebecca Simic (Miss World)
  • 1993 – Voni Delfos (Miss Universe-finalist) Karen Ann Carwin (Miss World)
  • 1994 – Michelle van Eimeren (Miss Universe), Skye Edwards (Miss World)
  • 1995 – Jacqueline Shooter (Miss Universe), Melissa Porter (Miss World - semi-finalist)
  • 1996 – Jodie McMullen (Miss Universe), Nicole Smith (Miss World)
  • 1997 – Laura Csortan (Miss Universe-, Miss Amity & Miss world - semi-finalist)
  • 1998 – Renee Henderson (Miss Universe), Sarah Jane St.Clair (Miss World)
  • 1999 – Michelle Shead (Miss Universe), Kathryn Hay (Miss World)
  • 2000 – Samantha Frost (Miss Universe), Renee Henderson (Miss World)
  • 2001 – no (Miss Universe), Eva Milic (Miss World), Christy Anderson (Miss Earth)
  • 2002 – Sarah Davies (Miss Universe), Nicole Ghazal (Miss Australia World – semi-finalist), Ineke Candice Leffers (Miss Earth)
  • 2003 – Ashlea Talbot (Miss Universe), Olivia Stratton[3] (Miss Australia World – winner; Miss World People's Choice), Shivaune Christina Field(Miss 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 (Miss Universe), Alethea Lindsay (Miss Universe Australia runner up), Denae Brunow (Miss Australia World), Ann Maree Bowdler (Miss 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),[4]
  • 2014 – Tegan Martin, Miss Universe Australia; Courtney Thorpe (Miss World Australia)

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.[5]

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, 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cerebral Palsy Alliance. "Miss Australia".
  2. ^ Miss Australia crown, National Museum of Australia
  3. ^ http://oliviastratton.com/ Olivia Stratton
  4. ^ Erin Holland wins Miss World Australia. news.com.au. 21 July 2013.
  5. ^ Brock beat me, claims ex-wife. smh.com.au. 17 November 2006
  6. ^ "National Museum of Australia – Miss Australia: A Nation's Quest".

External links[edit]