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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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Bennett, Mary Montgomerie (Montgomery) (1881 - 1961)

Born
18 July 1881
London, United Kingdom
Died
6 October 1961
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Australia
Occupation
Teacher, Writer and Aboriginal rights activist
Alternative Names
  • Christison, Mary (maiden name, 8 July 1881 - 18 August 1914)

Summary

Mary Montgomerie Bennett spent her childhood in Queensland, returning to London from 1903 to 1908 to study, and again in 1914 to marry. When her husband died in 1927 she returned to Western Australia to pursue her interest in Aboriginal education. She worked at the Mount Margaret Mission from 1932, dramatically improving educational outcomes through the implementation of progressive teaching methods. Over the next three decades Bennett was a passionate advocate for Aboriginal rights employing her connections with international humanitarian groups and women's organisations to support her campaigns to improve the lives of Aborigines, in particular Aboriginal women.

Sources used to compile this entry: Duckham, Ian., 'Visionary, vassal or vandal? Rod Schenk - Missionary : A case study in Western Desert missions.', vol. 6, 2000, pp. 41-56; Haebich, Anna., Broken circles : fragmenting indigenous families 1800-2000, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, W.A., 2000, 725 pp; Morgan, M. R. (Margaret R.), A drop in a bucket : the Mount Margaret story, United Aborigines Mission, Box Hill, Vic., 1986, 306 pp; Paisley, Fiona, 'Ideas have wings : white women challenge Aboriginal policy, 1920-1937', PhD thesis, La Trobe University, 1995, 363 pp; Radi, Heather (ed.), 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Women's Redress Press, Sydney, 1988, 258 pp. Also available at http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-78644.

Related entries

Friend and Colleague

Archival resources

Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland

  • Bennett, Mary M. (Mary Montgomery) Papers, 1837 - 1928, b1987576; Bennett, Mary Montgomerie (Montgomery) (1881 - 1961); Fryer Library and Department of Special Collections, University of Queensland. Details

James Cook University of North Queensland, Library Archives

JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia

  • Records of Mt. Margaret Aboriginal Mission, 1921 - 1969, ACC 4796A; JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Schenk family Papers, ACC 5602A; JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details

State Records Office of Western Australia

  • Allegations by Mrs M.M. Bennett in regard to native slavery, inadequate reserves and traffic in native women., 230-66/1932; Bennett, Mary Montgomerie (Montgomery) (1881 - 1961); State Records Office of Western Australia. Details

Denise Tallis

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124