News & Events

Think more and use the phone less

April 28, 2019

Life Governor Miss Myra Roper AM was a woman ahead of her times, urging young women in 1952 to use the phone less and think more.

Miss Myra Roper was the principal of Melbourne University’s Women’s College, a lecturer, author, and supporter of women’s rights. She became a Life Governor of the Old Colonists’ Association in 1996. In later years, she was a resident in the Rushall Park village.

Miss Roper was opinionated and ahead of her time, when women were held out of professions, business, politics and public life. Women, she said, had common sense, energy and “general balance,” and pointed out that they efficiently ran many concerns during World War 2.

In 1952, she wrote a controversial article for Melbourne’s Argus newspaper, proclaiming, “The women of Australia are outstandingly capable. They do not get flustered, and they still deliver the goods”.

Myra Roper was in favour of good manners and had enormous respect for nurses. She was against boring teachers, lazy language, and widows and unmarried women who only did housework. She thought money should be spent on war instead of child care, and that science should proceed alongside religious beliefs.

Miss Roper travelled the world with her friend, University College colleague and biochemist Muriel Crabtree, and their 1960s archive of their films, slides and audio recordings is held at Monash University. Miss Roper had many “firsts” in her life. She wrote several books including, ‘China the Surprising Country’, published in 1966, and was interviewed on ABC television’s ‘Meet’ program in 1957.

Image: Courtesy of National Library Archives

“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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