Look back at some of our most Inspirational Women in History

This International Women’s Day, let’s look back at some of our most inspirational women in history.

In this post, we will look 4 stunning personalities including:

  1. Ita Buttrose, OBE, Chairperson ABC
  2. Wilhelmina (Mina) Wylie (Olympics)
  3. Sarah Frances (Fanny) Durack (Olympics)
  4. Turia Pitt  (Motivational Speaker)

Ita Buttrose

Quick Profile:
  • Name: Ita Clare Buttrose AC OBE
  • Born: 17 January 1942 (age 78 years), Potts Point, Australia
  • Residence: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Who is Ita?

Ita Buttrose is an Australian journalist, author, television personality and businesswoman whose prolific career spans six decades. She is most famous as the founding editor of Cleo, she used to edit some of Australia’s biggest magazines, the youngest editor-in-chief of the more conventional Australian Women's Weekly.

Ita Buttrose started her career as a copy girl at the Australian Women’s Weekly and soon she became a cadet journalist at The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph in Sydney.

In 1959, her first byline came when she was 17-year-old covering the Australian tour by Princess Alexandra and 23 years of age, she was appointed the woman’s editor of the Telegraph. Ita Buttrose was the first female editor of a major metropolitan newspaper in Australia, a position she held until 1984.

Buttrose was a panelist on the Network Ten morning program Studio 10 (2013 - 2018).

In 2019 Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Ita-as the new chairperson of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Awards and Honours

  • (1975–76) Editor of the Packers' flagship magazine, The Australian Women's Weekly 
  • In 2001, the Victorian Honour Roll of Women 
  • In 2003, the Centenary Medal
  • In January 2013, 2013 Australian of the Year
  • In 2014, An honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Macquarie University
  • Until the end of June 2014, President of Alzheimer's Australia
  • In 2015, a second honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Wollongong
  • In August 2017, Outstanding Lifetime Achievement at the annual Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism
  • In 2018, n honorary Doctor of the University degree by the University of New South Wales 
  • In 2019, Companion of the Order of Australia
  • Ambassador of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce (AWCCI)
  • Currently, an ambassador for Alzheimer's Australia

The first Australian female Olympic representatives

The first Olympics was the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm to have women's swimming.

Initially, NSWLSA (New South Wales Ladies Swimming Association) was opposed to women participating in the Olympic Games and banned them from competing in front of men but later they were allowed to go provided they bore their expenses.

They organized local fundraising to raise the funds for themselves as well as for the obligatory chaperones to travel to Sweden. Durak had won numerous records, 56 medals, and the 100-or-so trophies.

In 1975, Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie both athletes were inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Mina won the silver medal in the 100m freestyle and Fanny won gold, becoming the first Australian woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a swimming event.

Wilhelmina (Mina) Wylie

  • Born: 27 June 1891, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Died: 6 July 1984 (aged 93) Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Strokes: Freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke
  • (1906-1934) Mina won 115 state and national titles.

Sarah Frances (Fanny) Durack

  • Married Name: Fanny Gately
  • Born: 27 October 1889 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Died: 20 March 1956 (aged 66) Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Strokes: Breaststroke, freestyle
  • (1910 - 1918) Fanny Durack was the world's greatest female swimmer of all distances from freestyle sprints to the mile marathon.


Olympic Records

1912 gold (100m freestyle)

World records

  • 100-meter freestyle (1912 to 1920)
  • 100-yard freestyle (1912 to 1921)
  • mile (1914 to 1926)
  • 220-yard freestyle (1915 to 1921)
  • 500-meter freestyle (1916 to 1917)

Honors and Recognition

Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre in Petersham, Sydney, is named after her in honor.
Sarah Durack Ave is named after her at Sydney Olympic Park in Sydney in honor of her.
In 1967, she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honour Swimmer" posthumously
In 2001, inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women
Durack passed away in Sydney in 1956 and interred in Waverley Cemetery, together with her late husband Bernard Martin Gately.

Turia Pitt is a motivational speaker, athlete, and author

Quick Profile

  • Born: 24 July 1987 Tahiti, French Polynesia 
  • Her notable work is Ambassador for ReSurge International
  • Pitt is an ambassador for Interplast Australia & New Zealand 

In 2011, Turia Pitt was caught in a grass fire, when she was competing in an ultramarathon through Western Australia's Kimberley region. She is known for surviving severe burns during an ultramarathon.
On 8 May 2016, Turia Pitt competed in her first Ironman Australia competition, finishing in a time of 13:24:42.
On 8 October 2016, the Ironman World Championship at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, completed it with a time of 14:37:30.

Medical Problems

Exhibiting an unbeatable strength, Pitt returned from the brink of death and after over 200 operations, she was in the hospital for six months, spent two years in recovery,  and she rebuilt her life.

During that time, she was needed to wear a full-body compression suit and mask and only allowed to remove for an hour in a day. The mask was essential to help smooth out the scars on her face and body.

She removed it for the first time to reveal her face to the world on the 60 Minutes program.