governor poses for group photo with women in ballroom
The Governor with the 2020 WA Women’s Hall of Fame inductees – Front: Kate Heaslip; Middle: Margaret Cole, Harriet Marshall, Dr Debbie Ann Smith, Governor, Minister, Lyn Farrell, Marg Agnew, Dorothea Hansen-Knarhoi; Back: Alicia Curtis, Sharon Wood-Kenney, C. Tandi Kuwana, Dr Rachel Sheffield, Kathleen Gregory AM, Emeritus Prof. Denise Chalmers.

WA Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The Governor officiated at the 2020 WA Women’s Hall of Fame (external link) ceremony on International Women’s Day.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hall of Fame in WA, and the recognition of the achievements of 198 women across a variety of sectors and regions.

View the Women’s Hall of Fame 2020 video

2020 Inductees

This year’s inductees have been selected from one of eight categories: Community, Business, Health, Education, The Arts, Culture, Sport and STEM.

Fifteen women were inducted:

Alicia Curtis – Social & Business Entrepreneur
Alicia is a role model for women and girls, showcasing what can be achieved when you combine business and community involvement. At 12, Alicia represented Australia at the first UN-run International Children’s Conference on the environment. Then at 19 she established Alyceum to empower individuals to step up into leadership and give back to their community. Her programs have impacted over 20,000 people over the last 18 years. In 2014, Alicia co-founded 100 Women, an independent grants fund encouraging everyday people to give together. The organisation has raised and distributed $620,000 to 21 organisations in six countries impacting over 10,500 women and girls. Alicia is driven by her purpose to ignite leaders in transforming the world for the better.

Marg Agnew – Agricultural Leader
Marg’s affinity with the land encouraged her interest in growing trees to help with salinity control and maximise on-farm water use and inspired her to assist in establishing the Neridup Soil Conservation Group in 1989. On-farm work led to Marg’s interest in women involved in agriculture and motivated her to create the Rural Remote and Regional Women’s Network for WA. She became involved in diverse aspects of farming and was a Board member and on Committees of more than 20 organisations at a local, state and national level including being the first woman on some committees. Marg enjoyed the opportunity to become involved in Agri-politics where she could try to make a difference.

Harriet Marshall – Founder Freeze Frame Opera
Harriet was nominated for her innovative contribution to opera in Western Australia. She is a well-known and talented soprano in her own right however, Harriet’s induction is based on her initiative in founding Freeze Frame Opera (FFO), now in its fourth year. Her vision is to extend and reframe the art form of opera in a way that reflects and challenges our current world and transforms our community, to reach a diverse audience of all ages, and to celebrate and develop local talent. The result is a successful company which provides opportunities for artists to secure career-building employment in WA while developing an ever-widening audience of opera lovers that will ensure the viability of this art form in WA into the future.

Kathleen Gregory AM – Founding CEO Foundation Housing
Kathleen has worked and volunteered in the not-for-profit community housing sector for over 30 years. With a strong commitment towards the provision of long term, secure and affordable housing for all members of our community, as the Founding CEO of Foundation Housing, Kathleen’s leadership saw the organisations portfolio of housing grow from 350, to over 2000 to become the largest affordable housing provider in the State. Kathleen was presented the Australasian Outstanding Achievement Award for professional excellence in housing by the Australian Housing Institute in 2011, and in 2016, was recognised with an Order of Australia for “significant service to the not for profit sector, particularly in the area of community housing, to social welfare organisations and to young people.”

Kate Heaslip – Independent Publisher
Kate is a quiet achiever who owns and runs a small business called the Book Incubator. With a belief that everyone has a story to tell, she has developed programs and workshops which provide empowering tools for self- expression that encourage positive outcomes for all participants regardless of any perceived boundaries. Kate has a wealth of knowledge of the creative industries that comes from decades of experience and commitment to all things arty. She teaches writing and design at the tertiary level, in schools, and runs creative workshops with businesses, community groups, schools and the general public. She believes, there is an intrinsic human need to share stories, and she is making it happen!

Margaret Cole – Founder Kalparrin Centre for Parents & Children with Disabilites
Margaret has spent her life contributing to the WA community and health sectors specifically through her establishment of the not-for-profit Kalparrin Centre for Parents of Children with Disabilities Inc. Now located in the Perth Children’s Hospital, Kalparrin is one of the oldest and largest member organisation supporting families caring for children with a disability, developmental delay, genetic condition’s and chronical health condition. This has been achieved from the seed of Margaret’s modest idea and unpretentious desire to support families struggling with inordinate pressures. The word ‘Kalparrin’ is a Ngarrindjeri word meaning ‘helping with a heavy load’. Margaret Cole’s enormous contribution to families throughout Western Australia, providing them ‘help with a heavy load’ whilst raising children with disabilities, is immeasurable.

Emeritus Prof. Denise Chalmers – Higher Education
Denise has given 25-years of her life to scholarly innovation and leadership to enhance student learning and engagement through developing university teachers and teaching. The youngest of four children, Denise was the first in her family to attend university, completing a Bachelor of Education and later a Master of Education degree. She went on to lead educational resource development in universities in WA and Queensland before becoming a founding director at the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, then Professor and Director for the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at UWA. Although retired from university work, Denise remains in constant demand around the world to share her expertise in quality teaching.

C. Tandi Kuwana – Mental Health Advocate
Tandi Was born in Zimbabwe and now calls Perth home where she is regarded as an outstanding member of the African community for her work in the mental health sector. As a Nurse, with 14 years’ experience of working in various mental health settings in WA, she is passionate about the issue and is a strong advocate for better services for communities from CaLD backgrounds. Within communities, she conducts mental health literacy programs for migrants and refugees, and has worked in partnership with The Smith Family, Palmerston, Ishar, Richmond Wellbeing and Palmerstone. Tandi was appointed co-chair for the Recovery College Expert Panel by the West Australia Mental Health Commission and sits on the Federal Multicultural Mental Health Framework advisory group.

Lyn Farrell – Regional Educator
Lyn has dedicated 30 years of her life to the pursuit of advancing tertiary and vocational education in this state, particularly in regional and remote WA, providing learning pathways for those from diverse backgrounds. Currently the Dean of ECU’s South West Campus, throughout her career Lyn has been involved in community and industry committees and forums focused on improving the economic and social capacity of the community. She is currently a Board member and Chair of two South West School Boards, a member of the Bunbury Geographe Economic Alliance, South West Science Council, Rockingham Education and Training Advisory Committee, Chair of the South West China Business Relations Association and Secretary Waratah Support Centre Board. Lyn is also a proud mother and grandmother.

Dorothea Hansen-Knahoi – Founding Member Voluntary Gallery Guides AGWA
Dorothea passion for art led her to be a founding member of a small group of visionaries who wanted to open the world of art to their community. To achieve this goal, they established the Voluntary Gallery Guides (VGG) of the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) and began to provide tours of the State Art Collection of Western Australia. During her 43-years with VGG, Dorothea has been instrumental in creating innovative tours such as ‘Touch Tours’ for the visually disabled, ‘Art and Memories’ for people suffering dementia, and ‘Auslan Tours’ for people with hearing disabilities. Dorothea continues to support the AGWA VGGs in offering this important service to people in marginalized communities ensuring everyone can experience the joy of art.

Dr Rachel Sheffield – Founder STEMinist
Rachel has been a continuous and consistent member of the science education community in Western Australia since she started working in secondary science education over thirty years ago. Now an award-winning university teacher, she provides leadership in WA, nationally, and globally to promote STEMinist education which she founded in 2015 with colleagues from Curtin University. Their aim is to increase the percentage of women in STEM professions by increasing the visibility of STEM women in the community and to empower students to engage in science and it develop STEM capacity in our new generation of female educators. Rachel’s initiatives and her contribution to univeristy teaching and women’s science education will ensure lasting outcomes for her students, and STEMIinists.

Kira Fong OAM – Founder Kimberley Girl
Kira is the Founder of Kimberley Girl, which she created in 2004, before expanding the program to become the Young Indigenous Women’s Pathways Project. When launched, it was the first project of its kind for young Indigenous women which delivered social, emotional and wellbeing outcomes for women aged 16 to 25. “It is about giving young women the tools to realise their potential, to empower them in their endeavours, to give them the confidence to dream big and reach for the stars. Kimberley Girl is about giving participants the wings to fly”, said Kira. Because of this internationally recognised program, young Indigenous women, are being given the chance to become the leaders of tomorrow and have an impact on culture and community.

Dr Debbie Ann Smith – SARC Forensic Researcher
Debbie has been an outstanding medical and forensic doctor at the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) in Perth for over two decades. As a key SARC researcher she has published work on early forensic evidence kits, injury in sexual assault and the first Australian study on prevalence of non-fatal strangulation in sexual assault. Debbie has worked to improve understanding about non-fatal strangulation in the health, legal, police and community sectors, thereby supporting legislative responses to non-fatal strangulation in WA. The non-fatal strangulation Bill was passed in WA in December 2019. Debbie believes that a multiagency model for victims of domestic and family violence in WA which includes a specialised forensic medicine service would lead to improved outcomes in health, victim safety and the criminal justice system.

Sharon Wood-Kenney – Founder Djinda Falcon Football and Leadership Program
Sharon has been a pioneer and inspirational leader to all women around Western Australia. he has strong ties in both the Indigenous and other communities and is determined to create opportunities for all disadvantaged children, families and individuals. From her Djinda Falcons Football and Leadership Program founded in 2012, to establishing Djinda Bridiya Wellbeing Moort Foundation, and Co-Design, consulting and community engagement position with UWA’s Centre for Social Impact co-designing the Family and Domestic Violence Hubs with Danjoo Koorliny Philosophies, Walking Together, Sharon’s reach has been far, and impactful. She is currently working with the WA Football Commission on their Reconciliation Action Plan to be released later this year. Using sport as a vehicle, coupled with conversation, Sharon Wood-Kenney is making real change

Councillor Elizabeth Clapham was the first woman elected to Local Government in 1920. The Labor Women’s Organisation was formed in 1905 and Clapham was elected to the executive of the Women’s Service Guild, WSG, in 1917. During the 20s and 30s, she continued to be an active supporter of these women’s groups and it was through the support of the WSG she was elected as the first woman councillor in WA, to the Town of Cottesloe. This was only possible because of an amendment of the Municipal Corporations Act to remove the words ‘no female’ from the list. Cr Clapham went on to become the first women Inspector of Factories in 1926 and as the first woman to hold public office in WA, she led the way for hundreds of women to follow.



View all Articles
Skip to content