Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    Dure Dara, courtesy of Joyce Evans (private collection).

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Dara, Dur-e Najaf (1945 - )

OAM, 2001 Victorian Honour Roll of Women

18 September 1945
Ipoh, Malaysia
Philanthropist, Businesswoman and Restauranteur


Dur-e Dara was awarded the Medal of The Order of Australia (OAM) in 1997 for services to the community and promotional and fundraising activities for women's groups.


Born in Malaysia and of Indian descent, Dur-e Dara settled in Australia in 1962. She attended Presbyterian Ladies' College before completing a Social Welfare Degree at the University of Melbourne.

Dur-e Dara worked in youth welfare at Winlaton and Turana for the Youth Welfare Division of the Victorian Social Welfare Department for three years. In 1976 she joined Stephanie's Restaurant as a casual waiter and later became manager and co-proprietor. She was to spend over 20 years at Stephanie's, in which time she also helped to establish the Pavilion (later Donovan's) in St Kilda and the Nudel Bar in the Melbourne business district. With Barbara Harper in 1997, she entered a partnership in the Tea Corporation, a high quality tea import, wholesale and retail business. In 2000 she established a consortium/partnership for Lip café bar as well setting up a consortium of small investors for EQ Cafebar (Southbank).

Dur-e Dara is President of the Restaurant and Catering Association of Victoria; Convenor of the Victorian Women's Trust; Vice-President of Philanthropy Australia; and board member of the Victorian Wineries Tourism Council and Business Matrix Victoria. She is Director of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and serves on the advisory boards of the Women's Reference Group of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission; William Angliss College; RMIT School of Tourism and Hospitality; and the Swinburne School of Hospitality and Tourism.

She is also Patron of the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture; elder, Women's Circus Victoria; and a member of the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition, the Tamil Elam Women's Organisation, the Melbourne Chapter of the Australian Symposium of Gastronomy, Asia Link, Habitat for Humanity and Asia Society.

In addition to her OAM, Dur-e Dara received The Vida Goldstein Award for excellence in her trade, and was selected as one of 150 on the Inaugural Women's Honour Roll, a Victorian Government initiative as part of the Centenary of Federation celebrations in 2001.


Inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Sources used to compile this entry: Herd, Margaret (ed.), Who's Who in Australia 2002, 38 edn, Crown Content, Melbourne, 2002, 2020 pp; - accessed 16012003, - accessed 16012003.

Digital resources

Dure Dara
Joyce Evans (private collection)


Anne Heywood

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