Magnetic Island North Queensland
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August 29th 2011
Women making it work in Island history

Clara Tidy at Our Island Home c1915 It was usual for history to be written by men about men. But in "Women Making it work: Cameos of Magnetic island Women," the latest exhibition by Magnetic Island History and Craft Centre Inc (MIHCC) and Magnetic Museum focuses on the contributions made by women to the development and direction of Magnetic Island.

The women from early settler families not only raised families but worked in the family enterprises. After the 1891 Married Women’s Property Act women on the Island owned land and often ran their own businesses – Minnie Hambling, Clara Tidey, Laura Rheuben and Hilda Brand, for example, ran their own guesthouses.

‘Many women were tenacious in their efforts to bring about changes for the betterment of their Island community. They were forthright and articulate and often held positions of responsibility,’ said Zanita Davies when discussing some of the women featured in the exhibition. ‘The CWA was a forum for women to advance and support their local communities – but some women chose to do this in more independent ways’.

Clara Tidey at Our Island Home c1915
Miriam Hardy Collection
MIHCC Magnetic Museum

The exhibition extends from education to wartime activities. There is also a display of artistic works by local women. The pieces are mostly by past and present members of the Picnic Bay Craft Shop, the parent group of MIHCC– a fitting tribute to its foundation in arts and crafts.

A significant artefact for display is a New Testament inscribed in 1914 to Mrs Bright of Nelly Bay by Rev and Mrs Prowse of Ayr. The book is a gift of Marjorie Glasson, great-granddaughter of Mary Ann Bright from her marriage to Andrew Hyden.

‘Women Making it Work’ will be officially opened Saturday 3 September 2011 at 2.30pm. Cecily Steptoe BEM will be guest speaker. Sister Steptoe spent many years working on Magnetic Island as the sister-in-charge of the Outpatient and Casualty Centre at Nelly Bay. She was awarded a British Empire Medal for her courageous work on the Island during the 1971 cyclone Althea.

All are welcome to attend the opening.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Women making it work in Island history
jeanette jackson
September 21st 2011
Many years ago I receive, as a gift, your CWA recipe book. It had in it a crecipe for sweet and sour pork. Unfortunately the page as a result of overuse was lost. Do you know of anyone who would have this recipe??? It was probably published about 50yrs ago.
November 7th 2011
Hi my name is Jackie,

i was wondering if you had any history that you could e-mail i am trying to do some family history for my gandma her great aunty owned nellie bay many years ago her name was minne hambling if you have any information please e-mial me at
Jeanette Jackson
July 15th 2013
I contacted you a recipe for Sweet & Sour Pork published in a CWA recipe book. I am trying to find information on a resident of the Island about 1960. Her name was Annie and I am unsure of surname. Could be Doran, Bartholomew. Her relatives lived at Hughendon. I am one but a long way down the line. I will be visiting in September.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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