The Edgeworth David Women

By Jennifer Horsfield

Cara David was an orphan from a working-class background in England, who gained a scholarship to train as a teacher in London. Her drive and intelligence saw her become a lecturer at the prestigious Whitelands College, from where she was appointed by Sir Henry Parkes as founding principal of the new Hurlstone Women's Training School in Sydney. She met her future husband, the young mining surveyor Edgeworth David, on the voyage to New South Wales in 1882. After their marriage and his appointment as Professor of Geology at the University of Sydney in 1891, the Davids became involved with a group of liberal intellectuals who dominated Sydney's cultural life between the 1890s and World War I, all sharing a passion for education, social and legal reform, and the advancement of women. Cara David was to make her mark as a supporter of women's emancipation in the home and the workplace. She led the successful temperance campaign in New South Wales in 1915, one of the first examples of women using their voting power to influence legislation. Her adventurous and pioneering spirit saw Cara accompany her husband on a scientific expedition to a Pacific island and to geology camps in the Snowy Mountains. During World War I, she ran a convalescent home for soldiers and a 'land army' hostel in Scotland. After the war, she rose to state leadership of the new Girl Guides movement. Cara's two daughters both became resourceful women in their own right. The elder daughter, Margaret, became an independent politician and community activist until her tragically early death in a plane crash. Molly, the younger daughter, became a respected author and environmentalist. All three were highly intelligent and independent-minded women who forged their own creative pathways and who made a positive impact on their communities. This book examines the lives of these three unique women.


304 pages

Publication Date: 7/1/2012
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781921719516