Australian Women's Register

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

Skip to content


  • Faith, Hope and Charity Australian Women and Imperial Honours: 1901-1989
  • The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia
  • Where are the Women in Australian science?

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Millis, Nancy Fannie (1922 - 2012)

Professor, AC, MBE, FTSE

10 April 1922
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
29 September 2012
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Nancy Millis was Professor of Microbiology at the University of Melbourne 1982-1991. She received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in 1945, a Master of Agricultural Science in 1948 and a Doctorate in Science (Hon) in 1993, all from the University of Melbourne. She was awarded a Boots Research Scholarship in the UK and used it to study at the University of Bristol where she received a PhD in 1952.

She returned to work as a demonstrator in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Melbourne in 1952 and was originally appointed as a lecturer in that department in 1956 following the award of a Fulbright travel grant in 1954.

Nancy Millis was one of the pioneers of the study of fermentation technology in Australia. When she returned from Bristol in 1951 she had hoped to put her expertise to good effect; she had hoped to work for Carlton United Brewery, but at that time they did not employ women in their laboratories.

Millis was appointed MBE - Member of The Order of the British Empire (Civil) - 31 December 1976 for her work in biological sciences and education. She was also appointed AC - Companion of the Order of Australia - 11 June 1990.


Professor Millis was a microbiologist of international repute who made enormous contributions in agriculture, environmental protection, medicine and engineering. Nancy Millis she was also a leader in environmental management. As a researcher she was aware early of the importance of clean water and developed techniques to treat industrial wastewater.

Millis was Chair of the Victorian Government's Water Strategy Committee advising on the supply and use of water for the Melbourne area. She was the Chairman of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment from 1995 until it ended in 2008. In 1977, she became a Member of the British Empire (MBE) and in 1990 was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Millis, Nancy Fannie (1922 - ), Biographical Entry', in Bright Sparcs, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, 2002,

Related entries


Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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