Balancing history: significant Port Phillip women

  • Date(s):
  • Heritage

Discover three significant women who have played a part in the City of Port Phillip’s history and helped to shape our community.  In partnership with the Port Melbourne Historical & Preservation Society, the St Kilda Historical Society and the Port Phillip Heritage Centre.


Margaret Bride, PMH&PS

Sarah Jane Baines was a great fighter for social justice in Birmingham and London. In 1913 she and her husband arrived in Victoria. First in Fitzroy and then in Port Melbourne Jennie, as she was always known continued her life a radical political and social action until her death in 1951.

Margaret Bride is a member of the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society and has researched and presented in various ways the outcomes of this research over the last 15 years. One of her themes is to give publicity to some of the men and women who have shaped our community but whose names are rarely commemorated

Dr Janine Burke, SKHS

Mirka Mora's St Kilda

When this cherished artist died last year, it was fitting that her memorial service was held at the Palais in St Kilda. In 1966, with her husband Georges, and three sons, Mirka had moved into Tolarno Bistro and Hotel in Fitzroy Street. She painted her first beautiful mural on the restaurant walls, which remains in situ. Mirka was already at the centre of Melbourne's vibrant cultural community. She loved St Kilda and later had home-studios in Wellington Street and Barkly Street.

Dr Janine Burke is an art historian, curator and award-winning novelist. She is the author of 20 books. Janine first met Mirka in 1974 and she was important to Janine's research both for Joy Hester (1983) and The Heart Garden Sunday Reed and Heide (2004). With St Kilda Historical Society and William Mora, Janine is making a documentary on Mirka's St Kilda years that will be available on the SKHS website later this year.

Kay Rowan, Local History Librarian, Port Phillip Heritage Centre

Mary Kehoe BEM (1897-1985), a teacher and mother of six children, was one of many women of the South Melbourne Home Help Auxiliary, established in 1947. This group worked tirelessly to help local sick, underprivileged and elderly citizens by providing food and other home help.

In 1953 Mary Kehoe was instrumental in establishing Australia’s first Meals on Wheels service in South Melbourne after learning of similar activities in England. The first meals were delivered in a tricycle painted in the South Melbourne Council colours of red and white.

An International Women’s Day event #BalanceforBetter.

Image: Courtesy Old treasury Building Heritage Icon and Museum, Jennie Baines (1861-1951)

Days and Times


    Emearld Hill Library & Heritage Centre
    195 Bank Street
    South Melbourne
    Vic 3205




    Telephone: FOSKC 9531 6832 or City of Port Phillip 9209 6416

    Event Booking Form