The 2019 List Of Women of Substance in Australia

Someone asked me the other day what my "demographic" at Jomara is.

I sat for some time contemplating this question. I know my guests very well and have had the honor of greeting them to their chairs while we hairdress and chat, and palaver over the ways of the world, family, and friends. I have never thought of them as a "demographic," the best way I could describe my guests is as Women of Substance. But what does this mean this word Substance? Words like grit come to mind, many have an appreciation of the world around them and a tenacity, a polish to them that screams volumes about integrity and care.

So I have decided as we move into 2019, our core message about the Jomara Woman is Women of Substance. So what better way than to write about a small sample of Australia's cream of the crop? We present you with some pretty impressive examples!

Wilhelmina (Mina) Wylie (1891-1984) and Sarah (Fanny) Durack (1889-1956)

Back in a time when the sport of swimming in Australia was segregated, two friends rewrote history and battled the status quo. According to Olympics Australia not only could male and female swimmers not swim on the same program; females could not be watched in competition by men (even fathers and brothers). But this didn't stop Mina Wylie and Sarah Durack. Both known to be rebels their passion helped them persuade officials to let them attend the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden where the first women’s swimming events were being held. Sarah won gold and Mina won silver. I know right?

Nova Peris (1971-)

Nova Maree Peris OAM is an indigenous Australian athlete and former politician. The Northern Territory born superstar is also a descendant of the Murran people.  Nova was a part of the Australian women's hockey team at the 1996 Olympic Games. Not only did she win an Olympic Gold medal, but she was the first Aboriginal Australian to do so.  An impressive woman of “firsts” she was also the first indigenous woman to be elected to Parliament, a passionate advocate for the end of racism and egalitarianism.

Elizabeth Blackburn (1948-)

From Yale to Berkeley Elizabeth H. Blackburn is well known around the world. An avid piano player the Tassie born scientist is what you might call a medical genius! Her pioneering in scientific discovery lead to ground breaking discoveries namely in the field of genetics and molecular biology. Her work has paved the way for the link to genes and disease, particularly cancer.  In 2009 her work was recognized when she won the Australian Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her research. Her discovery in 1980 of telomeres DNA was groundbreaking. From her first recognised discovery to the award win was 29 years- a long career oozing dedication with delayed acknowledgement. Her work is the cornerstone of genetic cancer science.  Quite impressive don't you think?

Ita Buttrose

Wordsmith, journalist and businesswoman, Ita Buttrose is iconically classy, brazen and fierce in the Australian media world. She is an author, TV presenter, radio presenter and is famous for being the founding editor of Cleo Magazine. As the youngest editor in chief of the Australian Women's Weekly and editor of the Telegraph, she is fondly regarded by many as a woman of substance. With an AO OBE under her belt, her books 'A Guide to Australian Etiquette' and' A Passionate Life' are best sellers. Ita is the National President of Alzheimer's Australia, Vice-President Emeritus of Arthritis Australia and National Patron of the Macular Degeneration Foundation and was awarded the prestigious Australian of the Year Award in 2013.

Fiona Wood

This incredible mother of 6 is also an Australian of the Year, winning the award in 2004.  So what is it about Fiona Wood that is so amazing? The British born surgeon lead the creation of “spray-on skin” and her involvement in saving the lives of many after the tragic 2002 Bali Bombings was well documented. Wound management care after fire for patients is the driving force behind Dr. Wood's career. She heads up the Fiona Wood Foundation, a not-for-profit organization responsible for some of the most critical pioneering in burns care.  She is also a cyclist and loves a marathon- impressive much?

Dr Catherine Hamlin AC

Catherine and Reg Hamlin arrived in Ethiopia nearly 60 years ago planning to stay for 3 years.  These 2 surgeons treated the most marginalized women, those suffering an obstetric fistula. This is an internal injury caused by an obstructed birth, which leaves a woman incontinent, humiliated and isolated.

Today there are 550 Ethiopian staff servicing 6 Hospitals, a Rehabilitation Centre, a College of Midwives and 48 Midwifery Clinics.  55,000 women have been healed and their dignity restored. The work has expanded to include a Women's Community Centre in Uganda.


Dr. Catherine Hamlin has been awarded numerous International Awards and has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.


So as we move into 2019, let’s reflect on what it means to be a woman of substance, we welcome you to Jomara! If you would like to join our Mailing List for the latest news and giveaways- click here