top of page


Erica Jolly has been a long-term member of the South Australian branch of Graduate Women, now a member of Graduate Women Victoria. Here is her story:

Adelaide had the most wonderful History department when I was at Adelaide Teachers College. I was lucky. I offered the Deputy Principal of Adelaide Teachers College, Mr Danny David, a choice. Did he want a failed Ordinary BA or a passed Honours History BA? He laughed and let me join the Honours History group at the university. And so I did Honours History with Hugh Stretton in his first year at the University of Adelaide in 1954. I owe very much indeed to Hugh Stretton, personally and for his approach to the study of history.It was a time when Colombo Plan students were entering Australian universities. That helped to break down the notions of 'White Australia' for me.

I was a founding member of the SA Social Studies Teachers Association, contributing to its text books, and of the SA History Teachers Association and its first secretary until I taught English in England, 1966 - 1967 and changed direction after 1968 when I came home. I took my MA in English literature at Flinders because Adelaide did not want to deal with a mature aged woman wanting to cross discipline boundaries. I have been involved in cross-disciplinary approaches since I began teaching in Girls Techs and later a Boys Tech. I compiled a history of vocational education in South Australia from 1897 - 2001 getting rid of the notion that the students of these schools were less able academically. It is a book based on 'grass roots' responses to their technical school experiences. The binary system undermined the educational opportunities of too many girls. At Marion High School, a 'lighthouse school' for SA destroyed by a Liberal government in 1996, we fostered approaches that provided sound pathways for all students for five years, also involving interdisciplinary thinking.

My publications include - compiling "We Came to Marion" 1955 - 1995, a school that changed its philosophy to a real comprehensive school from 1974 onward. 'A Broader Vision: Voices of Vocational Education in SA" was published in 2001. I have always fought the "two cultures" divide as a teacher-it was essential to do that in the technically-oriented schools and Brian D. Hannaford FACE, to whom I was Deputy Principal (Curriculum) supported it at Marion High School. "Challenging the Divide: Approaches to Science and Poetry" with essays by scientists for humanities students was launched by Robyn Williams in 2010. Jennifer Strauss wrote the preface to "Making a Stand' launched by Professor Ian Chubb in 2015. He was one of the Vice Chancellors when I was on Flinders University Council and later its Academic Senate. 1990 - 2002. I am a Companion of Flinders University.

I was encouraged to join GW-SA in 1993 by my friend Tess Young, and focused on health/education advocacy. I would still like to have a role keeping an eye on SA and national affairs. I've been a member of the Australian College of Educators since 1972. In July this year I attended the STEM conference in Melbourne to hear Rose Hiscock on the subject "Should STEAM replace STEM? It should. I have written an article responding to her keynote address. I have worked with U3A since 1998 on themes connected with poetry and science. This year the subject will be mathematics and poetry.

Related Posts


Alice Lam was born in Honiara, Solomon Islands. She completed high school and received a scholarship to train as a pharmacist in New Zealand. After graduation, Alice initially practiced in community r


Alison Harcourt has made major contributions to the development of statistics, in Australia and globally. Her discoveries have impacted on the measurement of poverty in Australia and the way the elect


Deborah Haydon is a modest woman who tends to downplay her achievements, but she has done much in recent years to help bring the Australian Federation of Graduate Women into the twenty-first century.


bottom of page