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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Newport, Mary Helen (1927 - 2013)


15 January 1927
13 October 2013
Public servant


Mary Newport was born and completed her primary and secondary education in Adelaide. She won scholarships to St. Aloysius College and Chartres Business College. Newport had the ability to go to university but the economic pressure (because her mother had died after a long battle with cancer when Mary was 12 years old) to work as great. When Newport was old enough, she joined the Commonwealth Public Service, first in the Taxation Office in Adelaide and then in Canberra. During her Long Service Leave in 1959, Newport worked at Australia House in London and the Australian Embassy in London. On her return to Australia, Newport was invited to work with the Press Secretary of the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies. Although, she was writing many of the Prime Minister's statements, her salary was so minimal that the Government had to pay a subsidy to the boarding house where most public servants lived. When Sir Robert Menzies retired, the press team of Tony Eggleton and Mary Newport continued in the Prime Minister's Department, first for Harold Holt, then Sir John McEwan, John Gorton and Sir William McMahon. During this time Newport completed a degree by part-time study at the Australian National University. When the Australian Labor Party came into Government in 1975, Newport returned to work in various Commonwealth Departments and assisted with various Commissions of Inquiries. From these investigations, Newport learnt a great deal about working conditions of public servants and the criminal activities within the Painters and Dockers Union. In 1988, she resigned from the Commonwealth Public Service to become the first national media officer for the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference. She worked there until 1995. Mary Newport was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community through the National Catholic Media Office, the Newman Graduate Association and for public service, on 26 January 1997. She also is a Dame of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Sources used to compile this entry:,-1,0,B/frameset&FF=anewport+mary+helen+1927&1,1, accessed 2004-05-04.

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room

  • [Biographical cuttings on Mary Helen Newport, public servant]; National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room. Details

State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana

  • Interview with Mary Helen Newport [sound recording] Interviewer: Peter Donovan, 1 June 2001, OH 593/2; Newport, Mary Helen (1927 - 2013); State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details

Anne Heywood and Robin Secomb

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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

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