Message from the Chief Commissioner

100 Years of Women In Policing

Release date: Thu 14 September 2017

Last updated: Mon 25 September 2017

100 Years of Women Logo


Victoria Police is celebrating 100 Years of Women in Policing

On 28 July 1917, Victoria Police employed our first women as 'agents' - Madge Connor and Elizabeth Beers.

This year 2017 commemorates this historical milestone.


Agents of Change: 100 Years of Women in Policing 

Victoria Police Museum is presenting a major exhibition to celebrate of 100 years of women in Victoria Police. Using historical and contemporary stories, the exhibition will be a comprehensive look into how women have contributed to policing in Victoria over the past 100 years. The exhibition will explore major breakthroughs and land-mark events within Victoria Police, through the context of social changes and mile-stones in the wider community.

The overall aim of the exhibition is a celebration of women's contributions to policing in Victoria over a century. It aims to acknowledge the historical struggles and discrimination women faced, in order to highlight the equality and diversity of Victoria Police today. 

The exhibition is open to the public from 31 July, 2017.  The Victoria Police Musuem is located at 637 Flinders Street, Melbourne, 3008 (enter via World Trade Centre in Siddeley Street) and open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. 

For more information visit the Victoria Police Musuem website.



To mark 100 years of Women in Policing, the Victoria Police Museum has released a range of limited edition merchandise.

Celebrate the centenary with our new Agents of Change mug, or if that's not your cup of tea pick up some of our special release magnets, featuring iconic images of some of Victoria Police's early police women.

If you are keen to learn more about the history of women in Victoria Police, pop down and pick up a copy of Colleen Woolley's book Arresting Women, or the Agents of Change exhibition booklet.

The Museum gift shop is open from 10 - 4pm, Monday to Friday and is located on the Mezzanine Level of the World Trade Centre.

For more information phone 9247 6354 or via email.



Key historical figures


Major moments

 Timeline of major events


Madge Connor and Elizabeth Beers- appointed as agents



Sergeant Fran Corrie is the first to qualify as an air observer with the Air Wing.

Anne Cursio becomes first women to be awarded the Queens Gallantry Medal        


Number of police women increases to four. Police women are sworn in with same pay and rights as policemen (although did not necessarily  receive equal pay for equal work, and were not paid for overtime)


Equal Opportunity Act comes into effect (police women begin to transfer to general duties policing)


The number of police women doubles to eight


Police women are able to apply for handcuffs and batons


Women's Auxillary Force appoints women as drivers, clerks and receptionist during WWII
First all-female squad: the largest single increase in PW numbers so far


Pants introduced into police women's uniform


Katherine Mackay promoted to Senior Constable (most senior woman to date)


Police women's division abolished.

Joan Notting first woman appointed officer in charge of police station


A uniform for police women introduced (23 years after first appointment)


Margaret or Catherine McVeigh becomes first police woman in Victoria promoted to rank of Superintendent


Elva Carr proves women capable of more than welfare work when she organises the first female Street patrol


Angela Rose Taylor first police woman murdered on duty ( Russell St Bombings)
First female Aboriginal Police member- Tarina Martyn


Grace Brebner appointed to CIB


First group of female PSO's appointed


Grace Brebner becomes first female Detective in Australia


Bernice Masterson is first female Assistant Commissioner in Victoria Police
Heather Morris becomes the first police woman to become an operational solo motor cycle rider


Kath Mackay first woman to become Sergeant


Jenny Wiltshire becomes the first police woman permanently placed in the homicide squad (Jenny Wiltshire)


5 Police women are the first females to attend Vehicle Safety Testing School


The Past and Present Women Police Association formed


Women take the first three places (dux, second and third) amongst graduate recruits


First Vietnamese born woman to join Victoria Police. (Penelope Palmer) Studied at Monash, including a paper on relationship between Vietnamese community and VP.

Rebecca Caskey is the first woman to join the Search and Rescue Squad


Carol Baker first woman to undergo police driver training course


Jocelyn O'Brien and Kathryn Joyce first women in Dog Squad.

Rebecca Caskey is first female SAR


Grace Brebner becomes the first police woman in Vic to reach Inspector rank


Nixon first female Chief Commissioner of Police in Australia.

Senior Sergeant Robyne McGowan is appointed officer in charge of Moreland Traffic Management Unit, ahead of 16 other candidates. She is the first female to head a TMUI.

Detective Sergeant Deb Bennet becomes Australia's only qualified criminal profiler employed to work in behavioural analysis


(Dec) Requirement for female police recruits to be single is abolished. Marcia R Caulfield becomes the first married woman to graduate. (Later went on to become Australia's first fully trained hostage negotiator- trained in the US)


Natalie Cale first woman appointed to a one-man (now one person) police station.


Grace Brebner first police woman in Vic to receive Queens Police Medal


Constable Ezo Girgin is Victorias first police woman who is Muslim


Sharon Armfield and Marilyn Cooke become the first women in Mounted branch


Constable Melissa Jardine wins an award for outstanding achievement in completing a 20 week Vietnamese language course as part of the Victoria Police Multicultural Commission.

Jennifer Locke wins International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators Police Officer of the Year award for the Australian southern region, for her work on Operation Tesla.


Bernice Masterson becomes the first woman to dux Detective Training school




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