Catherine Helen Spence Memorial Scholarship,

Applications are invited for a master position in primary health care to study in UK. This position is available for three years in the first instance. This position is open until filled.



In the spirit of Catherine Helen Spence’s legacy, the applicant is encouraged to research the work of Catherine Helen Spence and provide her considered response to this criterion.

The applicant will require an awareness of social science topics of current relevance to South Australia. She will need to present her topic as being of current relevance and be able to provide her own argument regarding applicability and benefit to contemporary South Australian society.

Social science is a broad criterion and the applicant is encouraged to review the breadth of research topics covered by previous scholars before determining if she can present her work as social science.

Reasons for inability to fulfil the requirements may be due to a lack of ethics approval issues or incapacity due to illness. Any unspent funds must be returned to the Scholarship Committee.

In the event of the scholar being unable to fulfil the requirements, the committee has the right to reconsider and offer the scholarship to an alternative candidate, short-listed in the application process.

Living expenses incurred in field work can be calculated using the ATO guidelines for per diem payments . Please use the PDF on the website for the most current information.

The Scholar must be able to manage the funds to ensure she is able to complete the process, including the preparation and printing of the final report.

  • The committee may, at its discretion, award the Scholarship to a woman who is resident in South Australia at the time of selection but does not fulfil the requirements in relation to age or length of residence in the state .
The scholarship may be combined with a PhD, Masters, Honors or other degree study.

A copy of the final report will be lodged with the Catherine Helen Spence Scholarship records in State Records of South Australia and at the State Library of South Australia. An electronic version will also be lodged on the Catherine Helen Spence Scholarship page of the SA.GOV.AU website.

Funds will be transferred periodically to the scholar’s dedicated bank account by the Public Trustee on the recommendation of the chair of the committee. Each payment must be acquitted by the presentation of receipts for expenses incurred.

The scholarship was established for young women in 1911. The age and gender criteria were incorporated into the Catherine Helen Spence Scholarship. The document that determines administration of this scholarship was developed with assistance of both Crown Law and the Master (new Master scholarship positions) of the Supreme Court in South Australia.

Jo began her career as a teacher-librarian within the Catholic and Independent Schools sector. After ten years she moved to a children’s librarian position in the public libraries sector, where she continues to work. In this role Jo developed and implemented a library program for children with special needs and their families.

As she has a particular interest in the subject, Jo successfully applied for this scholarship to research how to increase access for children with special needs and their families to public libraries. She plans to make recommendations on how public libraries can improve access and to increase awareness of the issues this group faces when accessing public libraries.

Sarah Paddick began her working career in the Public Building Department, SACON (now DPTI) where she gained a varied range of experience, one of the areas being architecture in secure facilities (prisons).

In 1994 she formed Totalspace Design with two colleagues, continuing her involvement in prison architecture as well as educational, residential and commercial design.

Her knowledge of the experiences of women prisoners with children motivated Sarah to apply for the Catherine Helen Spence Memorial Scholarship. She aimed to establish a number of key design principles relating to the architecture and design of women’s prison facilities, with particular emphasis on accommodation and support facilities provided for mothers and babies, and the facilities for children visiting mothers in prison.

She researched current solutions in Australia and overseas, paying particular attention the architecture and built form, and the influence it has on the success of a particular facility, success being judged by rehabilitation results and low recidivism. Sarah visited 18 prisons – five in Australia, three in New Zealand, three in the UK, four in Scandinavia, two in Canada (latest Canada scholarships) and one in the USA.

The Premier Jay Weatherill congratulated Sarah on her report and assured her that it would be used in informing the group charged with reinstating a Residential Parenting Program at the Adelaide Women’s Prison.

Melanie Jones undertook a study to examine the circumstances in which drink spiking takes place, the effects on the victim and the need for South Australia to enact legislation to make drink spiking a criminal offence.

Melanie was able to examine the legislative provisions and background briefings for this offence in other states and to use these as a basis for arguing the SA case. During the period of the scholarship SA legislation was enacted. However, her 2007 report ‘Criminalising the Act of Drink Spiking in South Australia’ contained very pertinent and useful information for community education purposes.

This has been brought to the attention of government health and welfare authorities. Melanie has also applied her accumulated knowledge about the risks of drink spiking in her community work with young women in South Australia. She served as President and Board member of the YWCA of Adelaide.

Janette Young was a Social Worker and Senior Project Officer in the South Australian Department of Human Services when, for the scholarship, she undertook a study to investigate barriers to university entrance, with particular reference to the experiences of university graduates originating from the City of Elizabeth in South Australia – one of the most disadvantaged communities in the nation.

Her social work career involved working on issues such as domestic violence, homelessness, prisoner health, primary health care, education pathways, community capacity and aged care. She is now Program Director for the Bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia. Her teaching and research interests encompass, health promotion, health as a political and politicised field, mental health and wellbeing.

Megan has a degree in Anthropology and Visual Arts. With the scholarship she visited Canada (latest Canada scholarships) and Scotland to investigate the treatment of anorexia nervosa.

A social anthropologist, she has taught at universities in Australia and Britain and is currently working in Gender Studies and Social Analysis at the University of Adelaide, where she is also a member of the Fay Gale Centre for Gender Research and the Lifecourse and Intergenerational Health (LIGHt) Research Group.

Her teaching and research interests coalesce around the gendering of health and illness (including anorexia and obesity), theories of embodiment, and public understanding of scientific paradigms of obesity. She has won a number of ARC and NHMRC grants to continue this work. She was appointed to the Catherine Helen Spence Memorial Scholarship Committee in 2011.

Social welfare and administration – evaluation and training in aged care. Ronda studied ethical implications of care for vulnerable aged in UK, USA, Germany and Canada. Returned to work in training and management in aged care. Completed Masters degree in Policy and Administration.

Frances investigated healthy cities in Europe and Canada (latest Canada scholarships) for her project with the scholarship. She is Professor of Public Health and Director of the Southgate Institute of Health, Society and Equity, and the South Australian Community Health Research Unit, at Flinders University.

Professor Baum is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and one of Australia’s leading researchers on the social and economic determinants of health. In 2008 she was awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship focusing on development of effective government and community responses to social determinants of health inequity and social exclusion.

She holds several other national competitive grants investigating aspects of health inequity, and has an extensive teaching career in public health. Her numerous publications relate to social determinants of health, including Aboriginal people’s health, health inequities, primary health care, health promotion, Healthy Cities, and social capital. Her text book The New Public Health (3rd ed. 2008 OUP) is widely used as a core public health text.

Anne was a social worker, in the Department of Community Welfare, Adelaide when she studied the placement of young offenders and substitute home care, at the University of Wisconsin with the scholarship.

Early in the 1990s, she moved from human services to the arena of international development, working mainly with the social aspects of infrastructure development, such as water and sanitation, waste water treatment and recycling, transportation and roads and environmental management, and has worked with international and national agencies, NGOs and local communities to ensure that women’s voices are heard and women benefit from development activities.

She has worked a great deal in Vietnam researching the participation of the Vietnam Women’s Union in the development of rural water supplies and sanitation in Vietnam for her doctoral thesis with Curtin University. She has been a lecturer (new lecturer scholarship positions) in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of South Australia,

Alwyn was a social worker at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital and Mental Health Service. She studied facilities and services for people with epilepsy in Europe, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. She returned to work in that field at the Departments of Neurology (latest Neurology scholarships) and Social Work, Adelaide Children’s Hospital, and later in services for people with an intellectual disability in South Australia, and the Board of Management, Epilepsy Association, South Australia. She retired as a member of the Catherine Helen Spence Scholarship Committee in 2016.

Fay studied the family problems of minority groups, in the UK and Europe with her scholarship. She taught in Geography at the University of Adelaide where she was the first woman to be appointed as a Professor.

She went on to become Pro-Vice Chancellor, the first woman in senior management at the University. Her research work focused on Aboriginal women and Aboriginal communities, especially in urban settings. She maintained strong links with Indigenous communities throughout her personal and working lives, and her work was influential in arguments for self-determination and recognition of the Stolen Generations.

As Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia she initiated a raft of programs to eliminate discrimination against women and was a pioneer in developing programs for equal opportunity and equity in the university sector. In 1978, she was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and in 1998, was elected the president of the academy, the first woman in Australia’s four learned academies to hold the position.

Marie was a Social Worker involved with the Red Cross. She studied communication and cooperation in social welfare aspects of community development. With the scholarship, she traveled to several countries, working mainly through the University of Liverpool.

She returned to social work, teaching and course planning in South Australia. She was the first Head of the School of Social Studies when the program in social work was transferred from the University of Adelaide to the South Australian Institute of Technology (later Unisa) in 1966. She retired from Unisa in 1991.

With her scholarship she took a B.Sc. in Sociology and a M.A. in Economics (majoring in sociology and criminology) from the London School of Economics. She returned to social work in South Australia.

Mary trained as a teacher graduating B.A. (1930), M.A. (1932) from the University of Adelaide. In 1938 she went to the University of Manchester, to begin a Ph.D. on ‘The Mental Readjustment of the Problem Child’ but her studies were disrupted by the war. Upon her return to Adelaide, she worked as a psychologist in the Education Department before becoming the first woman psychologist to establish a private practice.

She won the scholarship to study modern trends in child psychology at Manchester. She shared her ideas with the South Australian community by means of a column, ‘You and Your Child’ in the Sunday Mail between 1944 and 1969.

Doris studied the Montessori method at Kindergarten Teachers’ College in Adelaide graduating with honours in 1917. She was director of kindergartens in poorer parts of Adelaide.

When she became Secretary of the Kindergarten Union of South Australia in 1924, she worked to raise money to assist ill-nourished children during the depression years.

With her scholarship she studied child welfare and parent education and she visited kindergartens in Britain and Europe. With the advent of war, she assisted with the evacuation of children from London. In 1940 she accompanied 477 child evacuees on a voyage to Australia, but lost her life in an enemy attack at sea when returning to UK to escort further child evacuees in November 1940.

Agnes left her university studies when her father died, taking up nursing (new nursing scholarship positions) to assist her family. Her first appointment was as Matron at Morgan hospital and later she worked as a nursing (new nursing scholarship positions) sister for B.H.P. at Whyalla.

She was the Matron of the Northcote Home for Mothers and Babies at Grange when she took up the scholarship. In England she took a course of Truby King training in London, in midwifery at Oxford and did post-graduate work at St. Thomas’ hospital, London.

In Berlin she studied at two renowned baby hospitals, the Krippenverein and the Kaiserin Viktoria Augusta Haus. She also held a commission from the federal government to investigate maternal and child welfare. Sadly she did not bring all her new understandings to the South Australian community as she died in London in 1937.

G. Vera Gaetjens worked as a schoolteacher, while studying for her BA at the University of Adelaide. After graduation in 1925, she worked for the YWCA in Adelaide and Melbourne.

With her scholarship, she studied training, employment and the use of leisure by young women. At the University of London, she took the Diploma course in Industrial Psychology. Then she worked for three years as YWCA secretary in Nottingham. Upon her return she worked with the YWCA in Townsville and Canberra.

Daisy was a school teacher from 1910 to 1918 and then joined the Women Police. She was in charge of Women Police at Port Pirie when she won the scholarship. With her scholarship she focused upon the welfare of women and children, in particular in relation to drug and alcohol addictions.

She studied the work of women police in the UK, Europe, Canada, the USA and New Zealand. She returned to police work in South Australia and when she retired in 1951, was principal of the SA Women Police.

Constance gained her BA (1915) and MA (1918) while working as a schoolteacher. With her scholarship she undertook a PhD on child psychology at the University of London graduating in 1924. She investigated neglected and delinquent children in UK, USA, Canada.

Upon her return to South Australia she was appointed as psychologist in the state Education Department. She lectured at the University of Adelaide where she helped found social work courses. In 1956 she published Children and Their Lawmakers.

Dorothea was interested in the lives of women working in factories. With her scholarship, she researched British women in munitions factories, gaining a doctorate from the London School of Economics in 1916.

When her thesis was published, the British Prime Minister Lloyd George wrote the preface. She worked in the welfare section of the British Ministry of Munitions 1915 to 1919 and was awarded C.B.E. in 1917.

In Adelaide she gained a law degree, being admitted to the bar in 1928. Sharing a legal practice with her husband, she worked for women’s welfare. She lectured in Social Science at the University of Adelaide and was a member of the Catherine Helen Spence Memorial Scholarship Committee until 1962.
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