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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  • Faith, Hope and Charity Australian Women and Imperial Honours: 1901-1989

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Frost, Phyllis Irene (1917 - 2004)

Dame, AC, DBE, CBE

14 September 1917
Brighton, Victoria, Australia
31 October 2004
Welfare worker and Physiotherapist
Alternative Names
  • Turner, Phyllis (maiden name)


Phyllis Frost (née Turner) is renowned for her commitment to women in prisons and to the environment. According to Jenny Brown in an article on Phyllis Frost in the Good Weekend, (24 April 1993) she was member, chairman or primary patron of forty-seven mainly charitable committees throughout Victoria and was known for her 'enormous capacity to get things done', to 'shear through red tape'. Her Christian philosophy of love your neighbour and treat others as you would like to be treated, together with the belief that it is only in helping others that the human spirit can achieve happiness and rest, underpinned her work. Educated at Presbyterian Ladies' College and the University of Melbourne, Phyllis Frost trained as a physiotherapist and returned later to university to study criminology in order to understand better the minds of female offenders. She worked to assist women in prisons with their diets and to keep their babies with them as they served their sentences. She started the 'Keep Australia Beautiful' campaign and was associated with the Freedom from Hunger Campaign for thirty years, twelve of which she served as the Victorian chairman and one as world chairman in 1969. She is patron of the Victorian Relief Committee and has been a member since 1963 and honorary life counsellor, Victorian Women's Prisons Council, since 1999. She was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 1 January 1974 for outstanding service to community, having been appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963.

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