Named after: Edith Cowan (1861-1932)
House colour: Green
Edith Dircksey Cowan OBE is best known for being the first Australian woman elected to serve as a member of parliament. She was the Member for West Perth between 1921 and 1924. She was an advocate for women and children’s rights, campaigning for women’s suffrage and lobbying for the creation of the children’s court. She was a magistrate and justice of the peace and helped establish the state branch of the National Council of Women. You may also recognise her from our fifty dollar note.
Named after: Nancy Wake (1912-2011)
House colour: Red
Nancy Grace Augusta Wake was a secret agent during the Second World War. Raised in Sydney, she began her working life as a nurse but later trained herself as a journalist while living in New York. After marrying in France, Wake joined the French Resistance as a courier, rising through the ranks and quickly became an enemy of the Gestapo, resulting in her having a 5 million Franc bounty placed on her head. Wake parachuted behind enemy lines and was instrumental in saving many lives through her leadership and organisation.
Named after: Dame Nellie Melba GBE (1861-1931)
House colour: Blue
Dame Nellie Melba was born Helen Porter Mitchell and was Australia’s first international opera star. After modest success in Australia, Melba moved to Europe and studied her craft in Paris. She became a leading star in Britain and America, becoming well known for a small number of roles, being closely identified with only ten. She was a frequent visitor to her hometown, Melbourne, where she taught signing at the Melbourne Conservatorium. You may also know her from our $100 note.
Named after: Susan Marie Alberti AC (b1947)
House colour: Yellow
Susan Alberti is a businesswoman and philanthropist whose story is inextricably linked with all things Melbourne. Being successful in business has helped her contribute majorly to juvenile diabetes research, most notable in her founding of the annual ‘Walk for a Cure’ which has raised over $30 million for diabetes research. She was invited to join the International Board of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDFI). Alberti became the Vice President of the Western Bulldogs and was instrumental in the development of the AFL Women’s competition in 2017.