Review: Amazing Australian Women by Pamela Freeman and Sophie Beer

Subtitle: Twelve Women Who Shaped History
Published by: Hachette Children’s Books
ISBN 13 (ebook): 9780734418463
ISBN 13 (hardback): 9780734418456
Published: August 2018
Pages: 32
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Publisher Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites and Recommended

History wasn’t a class offered in either my primary or high school, and as such my knowledge of history is woeful. I’m trying to repair that by reading non-fiction and historical fiction, and there have been so many great books on women in history lately! This is the latest I snagged, and from the very first page I learnt something.

We’re first told of Mary Reibey. The last line on her page is something like ‘which is why her portrait is on the $20 note’ – which I didn’t even realise. Her name still didn’t register despite the fact it’s easily the most common note I’ve carried in my wallet since I started working. That is how woeful my knowledge of history is.

I think my favourite would have to be Ruby Payne-Scott, who undertook top-secret radar work during WWII, and led the research into sunspots – discovering the temperature of solar flares far more accurately than those before her. She did terrific work towards allowing women to remain working once married, along with equal pay.

The book has lovely illustrations throughout, and along with such brilliantly short and succinct pieces on each person that leave you wanting to find out more, it helps you along by including a list of where to go to find out more information about each person – including reference to a very excellent Aussie-published anthology called Cranky Ladies of History, published by Fablecroft, which I reviewed previously here.

The featured women are:

Mary Reibey, convict and businesswoman
Tarenore, Indigenous resistance fighter
Mary Lee, suffragist
Nellie Melba, opera singer
Edith Cowan, politician
Tilly Aston, teacher, writer and disability activist
Rose Quong, actress, lecturer and writer
Elizabeth Kenny, nurse and medical innovator
Annette Kellerman, swimmer and movie star
Lores Bonney, aviation pioneer
Emily Kame Kngwarreye, artist
Ruby Payne-Scott, scientist


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