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