Susan Magarey

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Professor Susan Margaret Magarey AM, FASSA, is an Australian historian and author, most notable for her historic works and biographies of Australian women.[1][2]


English Literature and History:


1985-now Founding editor of the international journal Australian Feminist Studies (Routledge)
1985-2002 Director of the Research Centre for Women's Studies at the University of Adelaide
2002-now Professor Emerita in History at the University of Adelaide

Honours and awards[edit]


She has published over seventy articles and book chapters. This is a somewhat random selection:

Recent publications
  • 'What is Happening to Women's History in Australia at the Beginning of the Third Millenium?', Women's History Review, Vol.16, No.1, February 2007;
  • 'Dreams and Desires: four 1970s Feminist Visions of Utopia', Australian Feminist Studies, Vol.22, No. 53, July 2007;
  • 'Dame Roma Mitchell's Unmentionables: Sex, Politics and Religion', the Fourth History Council of South Australia Lecture, 2007, in History Australia, 2008;
  • When it changed: the beginnings of Women's Liberation in Australia in David Roberts and Martin Crotty (eds), Turning Points In Australian History (UNSW Press) Sydney, 2008;
  • Three Questions for Biographers: Public or Private? Individual or Society? Truth or Beauty?, Journal of Historical Biography (Canada), no.4, Autumn 2008;
  • The Sexual Revolution as Big Flop, in Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ed.), Dialogue, vol.27, no.3, 2008;
  • 'The invention of juvenile delinquency in early nineteenth century England', first pub. Labour History, 1978, republished in John Muncie and Barry Goldson (eds), Youth Crime and Juvenile Justice, 3 vols (Sage Publications), London 2008.
  • The private life of Catherine Helen Spence 1825-1910 in Graeme Davison, Pat Jalland and Wilfrid Prest (eds), Body and Mind in Modern British and Australian History: Essays in Honour of FB Smith (Melbourne University Publishing), Melbourne, 2009.
  • '"To Demand Equality Is To Lack Ambition": Sex Discrimination legislation: contexts and contradictions', Conference held at the Australian National University to mark the Silver anniversary of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, October 2009, now published in Margaret Thornton (ed.), Sex Discrimination in Uncertain Times (ANU E Press) Canberra, 2010.
Catherine Helen Spence and feminism related.
  • Susan Magarey (ed.) with Barbara Wall, Mary Lyons and Maryan Beams, Ever Yours, C.H. Spence: Catherine Helen Spence’s An Autobiography (1825-1910), Diary (1894) and Some Correspondence (1894-1910), (Wakefield Press), Adelaide, 2005.
  • Susan Magarey, Passions of the first wave feminists (UNSW Press), Kensington, 2001.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Catherine Helen Spence’s Journalism: Some Social Aspects of South Australian Life, By A Colonist of 1839 – C.H. Spence’ in Margaret Anderson, Kate Walsh and Bernard Whimpress (eds), Adelaide Snapshots 1850-1875 (Wakefield Press), Kent Town, 2010, forthcoming.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘The Private Life of Catherine Helen Spence, 1825-1910’ in Graeme Davison, Pat Jalland and Wilfrid Prest (eds), Body and Mind: Historical Essays in Honour of F.B. Smith (Melbourne University Press), 2009.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Catherine Helen Spence (1825-1910’ in J.E. King (ed.), A Biographical Dictionary of Australian and New Zealand Economists (Edward Elgar), Cheltenham/Northampton, 2007.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Secrets and Revelations: A Newly Discovered Diary’, Bibliofile, vol.11, no.2, August 2004.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Spence, Catherine Helen (1825-1910)’ in Helen Irving (ed.), The Centenary Companion to Australian Federation (Cambridge University Press) Oakleigh, 1999.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Catherine Helen Spence And The Federal Convention’, The New Federalist: The Journal of Australian Federation History, no.1, June 1998.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Catherine Helen Spence – Novelist’ in Philip Butterss (ed.), Southwords: Essays on South Australian Writing (Wakefield Press), Kent Town, 1995.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Why Didn’t They Want to be Members of Parliament? Suffragists in South Australia’, in Caroline Daley and Melanie Nolan (eds), Suffrage and Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives (Auckland University Press/Pluto Press Australia), Auckland/Annandale, 1994.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Catherine Helen Spence’, Constitutional Centenary: The Newsletter of the Constitutional Centenary Foundation Inc., vol.2, no.2, May 1993.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Sex vs Citizenship: Votes for Women in South Australia’, Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia, no.21, 1993.
  • Susan Magarey, ‘Feminist Visions across the Pacific: Catherine Helen Spence’s Handfasted’, Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature, vol.3, no.1, Spring 1989.

Magarey Medal for biography[edit]

Not to be confused with the annual Magarey Medal of the South Australian National Football League

"The Magarey Medal for biography is a biennial prize of at least $10,000. The prize is awarded to the female author who has published the work judged to be the best biographical writing on an Australian subject in the preceding two years."[6] The prize is donated by Susan Magarey.

Prize winners have been:

  • 2004 - Heather Goodall and Isabel Flick, Isabel Flick: the Many Lives of an Extraordinary Aboriginal Woman, Allen and Unwin
  • 2006 - Prue Torney-Parlicki, Behind the News: a Biography of Peter Russo, UWA Press
  • 2008 - Sylvia Martin, Ida Leeson: a Life, Allen and Unwin
  • 2010 - Jill Roe, Stella Miles Franklin: a Biography, Fourth Estate
  • 2012 - Sheila Fitzpatrick, My Father’s Daughter: Memories of an Australian Childhood, Melbourne University Press
  • 2014 - Fiona Paisley, The Lone Protestor: AM Fernando in Australia and Europe, Aboriginal Studies Press


  1. ^ Biography, Professor Susan Magarey AM, FASSA, PhD, University of Adelaide,
  2. ^ Professor Susan Magarey, AM, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia,
  3. ^ Member of the Order of Australia, 12 June 2006,
    Citation: For service to education as a pioneer of women's studies as an academic discipline, to tertiary curriculum development, and to professional and historical organisations.
  4. ^ Walter McRae Russell Award, Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL),
  5. ^ Susan Magarey (1985, 2010) Unbridling the Tongues of Women: a biography of Catherine Helen Spence, University of Adelaide Press, 214 pp, ISBN 978-0-9806723-0-5 Free Download
  6. ^ Magarey Medal for biography, the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) and the Australian Historical Association,

External links[edit]