9 accountants who changed the world

Mary Addison Hamilton was the first female CPA in Australia.

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Mary Addison Hamilton

Born in Fitzroy, Victoria in 1893, Mary Addison Hamilton was the first female admitted to what is now known as CPA Australia. Originally a student at Stott’s Business College in Perth, Hamilton went on to pass the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce examinations in 1908, achieving the highest result in Western Australia (for which she was rewarded a gold medal).

An active participant in the feminist movement along with Bessie Rischbieth and Mary Bennett, Hamilton pioneered in a field that largely restricted women at the time. Hamilton attended night classes at Perth Technical School to qualify as an accountant. She was admitted to membership of the IAAWA in late 1915

Kathie Cooper writes of Hamilton in her 2008 paper, Mary Addison Hamilton, Australia's first lady of numbers:

“The name Mary Addison Hamilton [Addie] does not appear in any of the recorded histories of the accounting profession in Australia even though there is ample evidence to suggest that she is deserving of such a place.

"Addie was one of the first women to achieve membership of one of Australia’s recognised professional accounting bodies and, thereby, one of the first in the British Empire. This distinction was achieved in the early twentieth century, when restriction of women entering the professions was common.”


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