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

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Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990)

AO, BA (Hons), MA, FACE, FAAH

Born
7 September 1905
Omeo, Victoria, Australia
Died
27 August 1990
Occupation
Associate professor, Historian and Author
Alternative Names
  • Pitt, Kathleen (maiden name, 7 September 1905 - 28 August 1932)

Summary

Appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her service to education, particularly in the field of history, on 26 January 1989, Kathleen Fitzpatrick was the first woman council member of the National Library of Australia, and a foundation member of the Australian Humanities Research Council (later the Australian Academy of Humanities).

Details

Fitzpatrick was educated at Loreto Convents (Albert Park and Portland), Presentation Convent (Windsor) and Lauriston Girls' School (Melbourne) before attending the University of Melbourne. Following completion of her honours degree, in 1926, Fitzpatrick went to Oxford to complete another undergraduate degree - a common practice at the time. Returning to Australia she found employment at the University of Sydney before becoming a tutor in the English department at the University of Melbourne in 1930. Upon marriage, in 1932, to journalist (later historian) Brian Fitzpatrick, she had to resign her position at the University.

Following the failure of her marriage, Fitzpatrick was advised by the University Appointments Board that 'the only demand for female workers was for good secretaries'. It was recommended that she become proficient in typewriting and shorthand if she wanted to find employment. She enrolled at the Melbourne Technical School (now the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), completed the required subjects and became a teacher of Shorthand and Commercial English at the school. In 1938 Fitzpatrick was offered her old position at the University of Melbourne. Before retiring in 1962 she held positions of lecturer, senior lecturer and associate professor of history.

During World War II Fitzpatrick was president of the Council for Women in War. She negotiated with employers on behalf of University of Melbourne women students working at Shepparton under Manpower regulations. In her retirement Fitzpatrick concentrated on research and writing and was disappointed in not being able to find a publisher for her magnum opus, a book on the novelist Henry James.

Former student, professional historian and close friend Manning Clark read the eulogy at the Requiem Mass for Kathleen Fitzpatrick held at St Thomas Aquinas, South Yarra on Friday 31 August 1990.

Events

1926
Graduated BA (Hons) from the University of Melbourne
1928
Graduated BA from Oxford University
1929
Temporary lecturer in the history department of the University of Sydney
1930 - 1932
Tutor in the English department of the University of Melbourne
28 August 1932 - 1940
Married Brian Fitzpatrick a journalist and later historian
1933
Graduated MA from Oxford University
1935
Separated from her husband
1936
Became a student in the business section of the Melbourne Technical School (now the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) learning typing and shorthand
1937
Teacher of shorthand and commercial English at the Melbourne Technical School
1938 - 1942
Lecturer of History at the University of Melbourne
1942 - 1948
Senior lecturer of History at the University of Melbourne
1948 - 1962
Associate Professor of History at the University of Melbourne
1949
Publication: Sir John Franklin in Tasmania published by Melbourne University Press
1956
Foundation member of the Australian Humanities Research Council (later Australian Academy of the Humanities)
1958
Publication: Australian Explorers published by Oxford University Press
1975
Publication: PLC Melbourne: The First Century published by PLC (Melbourne)
1983
Publication: Solid Bluestone Foundations and Other Memories of a Melbourne Childhood, 1908-1928 published by Macmillan
26 January 1989
Appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for her service to education, particularly in the field of history

Sources used to compile this entry: Alexander, Joseph A (ed.), Who's Who in Australia 1950, 14th edn, The Herald, Melbourne, 1950, 816 pp; Grimshaw, Patricia and Strahan, Lynne (eds), The Half-open door : sixteen modern Australian women look at professional life and achievement, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, c1982, 344 pp; Lofthouse, Andrea (ed.), Who's Who of Australian Women, Methuen Australia, North Ryde (NSW), 1982, 504 pp; Historical note from the University of Melbourne Archives database.

Related entries

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room

  • [Biographical cuttings on Kathleen Fitzpatrick, writer and historian]; National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room. Details

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1968 - 1970, 98/104; Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1970 - 1980, 93/41; Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1942 - 1966, 80/160; Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1914 - 1982, 95/85; Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1950 - 1967, 92/122; Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1962, 93/65; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 92/7; Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1941 - 1963, 92/61; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1961 - 1990, 97/7; Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth, 1923 - 1990, 91/9; Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Elizabeth (1905 - 1990); The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Half open door, The, 1978 - 1983, 83/147; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • Pitt, Henry Arthur, 1899 - 1995, 95/132; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • University of Melbourne Department of History, 1996, 96/104; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details
  • University of Melbourne Department of History, 1930 - 1971, 75/33; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Anne Heywood

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