Louisa Macdonald was the eleventh child and seventh daughter of John Macdonald Esq. and Ann Kid of Windmill House, Arbroath, and Ballintuim, Perthshire.

She was educated at home and at finishing school in London. She and her sister Isabella prepared for Edinburgh Local Examinations by correspondence and Louisa headed the list of candidates in 1878. She matriculated at the University of London. As a student of University College she graduated BA in 1884 with first class honours in classics and honours in German and an MA in classics in 1886. From 1886 onwards she gave lectures and private lessons to students of College Hall in preparation for London University examinations, and prepared students in classics and history for the London Arts Examinations and the “higher women’s examination of Oxford and Cambridge”.

Miss Macdonald took up her position as the founding Principal of The Women’s College on 17 March 1892 when she took possession of “Strathmore” at Glebe Point, which served as a temporary College until the establishment of the new premises in 1894. She played a key role in the building and equipping of the first College buildings (designed by John Sulman and Joseph Porter Power). During her time as Principal she was actively involved in Sydney University Women’s Association, the University Settlement, and the Women’s Club. She was Principal of the College until her retirement in 1919 when she returned to London. She died 28 November 1949.

Source: The Women’s College Calendar 1893-1918

Biographical Register 1892 Ð 1939

The History of The Women’s College within the University of Sydney by W.Vere Hole, MA and Anne H. Treweeke, MA


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