Dr Beryl Nashar OBE

1964 - 1966
BPW Australia President

BPW International President 1974-1977 

1959-1961       BPW Newcastle Club President

1968-1969       BPW Newcastle Club President

1969-1971       BPW International Member Educational and Cultural Standing Committee

Occupation:   Emeritus Professor of Geology, Newcastle University

During Beryl Nashar’s Presidency, the roles of Regional Representatives were created.
In the August 1964 edition of the Federation magazine she wrote:

“The next two years will be experimental years for the implementation of the activities of Regional Representatives. These officers have been elected to represent you at Conference and in Council, to represent the Federation in your region and to assist you where necessary. They can only fulfil their purpose if you avail yourselves of their service”.


A number of important matters occurred during Past President Beryl’s term of office including:

  • Lobbied the Australian Government that the United Nation Status of Women Commission is held annually
  • The Federal Government was urged to increase still further the assistance to secondary students.
  • BPW Hobart lobbied successfully the Tasmanian Government that seat belts are made compulsory for all new cars.
  • Following intense lobbying by the previous Council, BHP was employing more girls in the laboratories.
  • The BPW Australia United Nations Committee undertook a survey in the whole of Australia concerned with the discrimination still existing against women. The report was forwarded to BPW International’s permanent representative Esther Hymer at the United Nations in New York.
  • In 1965 three publications were made available for members. They were “The Know-how of Local Government”, “The Rate for the Job” and the Federation Workbook.
  • The Agnes Robertson Education Fund was implemented.

Beryl Nashar Women of Outstanding Achievement Award

In 2003 BPW NSW and now BPW Australia established the Beryl Nashar Woman of Achievement Award for a BPW member who has made a significant difference to women and BPW members. The Award is given every three years and announced at the National Conference.

The winners since 2005 are:

2003 Lucille McKenna          BPW Ryde Hunters Hill
2005 Mary- Louise Clifford   BPW Central Coast  (presented by Beryl Nashar)
2007 Jasmyn Mumme     BPW Joondalup
2010 Sandra Cook         BPW Joondalup
2013 Kim Kavanagh       BPW South West Victoria
2016 Susan Jones   BPW Sydney

 Beryl had a number of firsts to her name:

  • Foundation Professor Newcastle University
  • One of the first women Professors in Australia
  • First Australian woman to win a Rotary Fellowship to study at Cambridge University
  • First woman Dean of a Faculty of Science in Australia
  • Not only the first woman to obtain a Ph.D. in Geology from an Australian University but the first Australian (as Ph.D candidates had to travel overseas for qualifications previously)
  • Appointed to the Board of Royal Newcastle Hospital
  • Published four books and over 30 research papers

In BPW New South Wales “The Front Runners’ 1988, Beryl is described as:  

“A down to earth Australian who gives freely of her time and talents. Her advice and guidance, her knowledge, her enthusiasm and dedication have made her one of the greats of BPW”.

Marilyn Forsythe has related that Past President Beryl’s motto was that “Past Presidents should be seen but not heard”.

BPW Australia Board 1964 to 1966

President                 Professor Beryl Nashar

First Vice President       Peg Magoffin

Second Vice President   L. Serventy

Hon Secretary           Trixie Cheyne

Hon Treasurer                     Peg Dwyer

Regional Representatives   A. Johnson (Queensland), M. Padman (Tasmania), F.  Gallagher (South Australia), Ruth Ross (NSW),
  M. Hogan (Victoria), P. Morrish (Western Australia)


Agnes Robertson Education Fund

At the 13th BPW National Conference, Beryl Nashar gave news of the progress of the Agnes R. Robertson Education Fund and that the fund honoured the name of one of BPW Australia’s most loyal and helpful members. 

Agnes Robertson was an Australian Senator for Western Australia (pictured left) and regarded as the first woman to represent the National Party in the Parliament in Australia.

The Agnes Robertson Education Fund was established to be available to assist girls and women, irrespective of creed or colour, to continue their education in any field and at any time. The Fund is supported by continuing donations from members.


 Dr Beryl Nashar

Thank you to the women behind the BPW Australia Past President History Project:
Project Leader, Past President Marilyn Forsythe (2007-2013), 
Past President Kay Morrison (2004-2007), Margaret Tipper, BPWA Executive Secretary (2016+), Robyn Duncan (BPWA Public Officer), Trish Clifford (BPW Central Coast) and Jean Murray (Immediate Past BPWA Executive Secretary) for their assistance and research.  The Past President History will continue to expand as information becomes available about the National Presidents since 1947.  

Please submit further information and photos to secretary@bpw.com.au

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