AustraliaProfessor Dorothy Hill

Professor Dorothy Hill Bio, Biography, Born, Death and Cause,Education, Legacy, Family, Google Doodle, Australian Geologist and Palaeontologist

10th September 2018, Google Doodle Honours Professor Dorothy Hill, Australian geologist and palaeontologist, on what would have been her 111th Birthday.

Professor Dorothy Hill Biography

Professor Dorothy Hill Bio

Professor Dorothy Hill 10 September 1907 in Brisbane, Australia and died on 23 April 1997. She was an Australian geologist and palaeontologist, the first female professor at an Australian university, and the first female president of the Australian Academy of Science.

Born 10 September 1907 Brisbane, Australia
Died 23 April 1997 (aged 89)
Professor Dorothy Hill Nationality Australian
Professor Dorothy Hill Education Coorparoo State School, Brisbane Girls Grammar School
Professor Dorothy Hill Alma mater University of Queensland, University of Cambridge
Professor Dorothy Hill Awards W. R. Browne Medal, Clarke Medal, Lyell Medal, C.B.E, AC
Professor Dorothy Hill Google Doodle On 10th September 2018, Google Doodle Honoured, Professor Dorothy, the Australian geologist and palaeontologist, on what would have been her 111th Birthday.
Professor Dorothy Hill Scientific career
Professor Dorothy Hill Fields geologist, palaeontologist

Professor Dorothy Hill Legacy

Hill made significant contributions to Australian earth science and was a pivotal role model in opening a whole new world of education to women. She mentored many students who went on to great success in the field of earth sciences, including Ken Campbell and Graham Maxwell. Malcolm Thomis in his history of the University of Queensland described Hill as the “most outstanding graduate in the first 75 years of the University”. The Great Court at the University of Queensland features a stone grotesque carved in her likeness by Rhyl Hinwood in 1982. There is also a bust of Hill, sculpted by Rhyl Hinwood at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Coorparoo State School named a portion of their school for Hill in 2015.

  • In 1997 the University of Queensland’s Physical Sciences and Engineering Library was named the Dorothy Hill Physical Sciences and Engineering Library in her honour.
  • In 2014, the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Queensland named their research vessel, RV D Hill, to honour her legacy to fossil coral research.
  • Since 2002, the Australian Academy of Science has awarded the Dorothy Hill Award for female researchers in earth sciences. The Geological Society of Australia, Queensland Division also gives a Dorothy Hill Medal to individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge of Queensland geology.
  • In 2016 Dr. Gilbert Price and colleagues at the University of Queensland School of Earth Sciences located Hill’s rock hammer and created a 3D model of it for an exhibition to celebrate her life. Gilbert Price included the 3D image in an article about Hill and her hammer.
  • In 2017, The electoral district of Hill created  Queensland state electoral redistribution was named after her, in recognition of her work for the Great Barrier Reef.
  • In 2018, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, A street in the village of Queensland state was named in her honour.

An astronomical observatory is being named for Hill at the Brisbane Girls Grammar School’s Marrapatta Open Education Campus.

Professor Dorothy Family

Dorothy Hill never married. The Hill family were well bonded and supportive of one another. For the last four decades of Dorothy’s life she and her sister Edna shared a house in Taringa, Edna suffering from a heart disease that required continual medical support. Dorothy took responsibility for caring for her. Nephews and nieces, whose families lived in the country, lived with their two aunts in Brisbane while they attended secondary school. Dorothy accepted family responsibilities of this kind as part of the normal run of life until well after her retirement from the University.

Professor Dorothy Death and Cause

Dorothy Hill died on 23rd April 1997. She never sought publicity for her work, nor did she attempt to make an impact on the broader politics of the country. In this respect, her personal life was not in the public domain. In her adult life, she was never a person for social activity, nor was she out to draw attention to her field of interest through her contribution to the industrial outcome of her work, though this was considerable. Throughout her later life, she bore the stamp of having reached adulthood during the economic depression of the late ’20s and ’30s. She always attempted to get full value for any investment of time or money into a project. One wasted nothing. In the latter half of her life, she was concerned with supporting her nephews and nieces and her siblings, rather than seeking recognition for her work.

Professor Dorothy Google Doodle

On 10th September 2018, Google Doodle Honoured, Professor Dorothy, the Australian geologist and palaeontologist, on what would have been her 111th Birthday.

Google Doodle Professor-Dorothy-Hills-111th-birthday
Google Doodle Professor-Dorothy-Hills-111th-birthday

Professor Dorothy Hill Education

Dorothy Hill was born in Taringa, the third of seven children, and spent her early childhood in Coorparoo in Brisbane. She went to school at Coorparoo State School and then won a scholarship to attend Brisbane Girls Grammar School. She received the Lady Lilley Gold Medal and the Phyllis Hobbs Memorial Prize in English and History, in 1924.

In High School, Hill was an enthusiastic sportswoman, who pursued athletics and netball, and was an accomplished horsewoman at home. At the University of Queensland, she participated in hurdles, running, hockey and rowing. She played on the University of Queensland, Queensland state and Australian universities hockey teams. At Cambridge University, she took a pilot’s licence.

Following high school, she considered studying medicine and pursuing studies in medical research; however, at the time, the University of Queensland did not offer a medical degree, and the Hill family could not afford to send Dorothy to Sydney. Fortunately, she won one of twenty entrance scholarships to the University of Queensland in 1924 (after receiving the highest pass in the Senior Public Matriculation Exam), where she decided to study science, in particular chemistry. She chose to study geology as an elective, and under the guidance of Professor Henry Caselli Richards, she graduated in 1928 with a First Class Honours degree in Geology and the University’s Gold Medal for Outstanding Merit. Hill continued to work as a UQ Fellow through 1929–30 on scholarship while she was studying her Masters of Science, conducting research in the Brisbane Valley on the stratigraphy of shales in Esk and sediments in the Ipswich basin. She began to collect fossils after she was introduced to them in the local limestone of a farm, where she was holidaying in Mundubbera. She was put forward for a UQ Foundation Travelling Scholarship by Professor Richards to study at the University of Cambridge’s Sedgwick Museum, living in Newnham College, just as the Great Depression was taking effect.

At Cambridge, Hill was a Fellow of Newnham College and the Sedgwick Museum and was supported from 1931 to 1933 on an Old Students Research Fellowship while she worked on her Ph.D. under the supervisor, Gertrude Elles. Australian universities did not begin awarding PhDs until 1948 (with the first at UQ being awarded in 1950). Hill continued to explore the theory that Australia had once been covered from north to south by an inland sea, as evidenced by the fossil corals she found in Mundubbera. She received a further scholarship, Senior Student of the Exhibition of 1851 for two years and the Daniel Pidgeon Fund award from the Geological Society of London which enabled her to remain in England until 1936. A number of Australian students were at Newnham College with Hill in this era, including Elizabeth “Betty” Ripper, who was also studying palaeontology, and Germaine Joplin. She worked with Drs William Dickson Lang and Stanley Smith on Palaeozoic coral taxonomy, at the Natural History Museum in London. After Hill’s return to Australia, she continued to study at the University of Queensland and took a Doctor of Science in 1942.


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