When the Queensland Memory team sat down and talked about creating a podcast, it seemed all the stories we wanted to tell featured women. We found Queensland women were not afraid to walk into the forest and cut the path for themselves and others. We took a closer look into our history and our present, and in both we found women who shape our future.
These ideas became Dangerous Women, State Library’s new podcast series that delves into the lives of five Queensland women with the nous to overturn Freud’s notion that anatomy is destiny. What makes them dangerous? Each has generated change in their chosen field that has and will transcend time, and they’ve done so by unapologetically being themselves. These women are dangerous not because they are feared, but because they are fearless.
The stories of these Dangerous Women are deftly told with equal parts strength, pathos and humour through a five episode podcast series produced by Snaggletooth Productions, a team of two women - our host Holly Zwalf and producer Erin McBean.
In our first episode Holly and Erin travel to Goorathuntha/Mt Tabor Station in Western Queensland to see if Holly can keep up with Keelen Mailman OAM, a Bidjara woman managing a 70,000 hectare cattle station on country. She’s the first Aboriginal woman to hold this kind of position, and she’s picked up an Australian of the Year finalist spot and a Barnardos Mother of the Year Award along the way.
Next we head south to Ivy May Hassard and the Gold Coast. A pioneering aviatrix, Ivy was also a talented fashion designer who opened the first frock shop and beauty salon on the Gold Coast. In our second episode, Ivy's daughter Laurene welcomes Holly into the elegant world of her high flying, fearless mother and the glitz and glam of the Gold Coast in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Being the first woman to be registered as a doctor in Queensland is just one of Dr Lilian Cooper’s many accomplishments. In our third episode, Holly talks to Lilian expert and playwright Katy Forde about the life of Lilian and her equally impressive partner Josephine Bedford, and how these two women changed Brisbane forever.
Our fourth dangerous woman wears several hats, and robes: academic, prolific blogger, activist and Australia’s first transgender priest. Is Rev Dr Josephine Inkpin as controversial as she might sound? Holly spends an afternoon talking with Jo and Penny, her wife of 35 years, at the intersection of gender, faith, religion and identity.
In our final episode Holly visits Debbie Kilroy OAM at Sisters Inside Inc. Debbie is a wife, mother, grandmother, CEO, criminal lawyer, former prisoner and one of Australia’s leading advocates for protecting the human rights of women and children through decarceration. Debbie’s vision for the future of the justice system feels radical in a way that leaves most people afraid to admire it, and a little in awe of Debbie.
Each of our Dangerous Women are wildly different. The current that runs through them all is their ability to adapt and overcome adversity while staying true to their own unique frequency. The strong sense of self they each possess is a powerful, sustainable resource, and it’s what made us want to share their stories with you.
Women like this are dangerous in ways that make our world a better place. They take the right kind of risks, ones that challenge the status quo, improve the lives of others and liberate everyone around them from thinking ‘it can’t be done’, or worse, ‘it shouldn’t be done’.
Dangerous Women is a podcast by State Library of Queensland, hosted by Holly Zwalf, produced by Snaggletooth Productions and supported by Queensland Library Foundation’s Crowd Giving fundraising campaign.
- Dangerous Women podcast at State Library of Queensland
- Browse a selection of Dangerous Women inspired titles from the Library Shop
- Keelen Mailman OAM
The Power of Bones by Keelen Mailman with Kris Olssen
- Ivy May Hassard
- Dr Lilian Cooper
Items in the collection relating to Dr Lilian Violet Cooper
- Rev Dr Josephine Inkpin
Items in the collection relating to Rev Dr Josephine Inkpin
- Debbie Kilroy OAM
Items in the collection relating to Debbie Kilroy
Kilory was here by Kris Olssen