Julia FEATHERSTONE BA Dip Ed M Urban and Regional Planning (Adelaide), Grad Dip Communications (UTS), M Fine Arts (UNSW)


Julia Featherstone grew up in a beachside town of Woolgoolga, NSW. The fibro shack of her childhood was five hundred metres from the beach and fuelled her love of surfing. Her proudest moment was in 1963 at the age of sixteen when she came second in the first Australian Women’s Surfboard Riding Titles at Bondi.

Julia was an eternal student. Her tertiary education started at the University of Sydney where she lived at Women’s College and completed a Bachelor of Arts followed by a Diploma of Education. Her first job was as a secondary school teacher in western Sydney teaching economics and geography, then later TV production at Sydney Girls’ High School.

After living for a time in Rome and Paris, Julia returned to Australia to study a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and a Graduate Diploma of Communications. The career experimentation continued when she ran as a candidate for the Australia Party at the NSW elections for Bligh in 1973 and Wentworth the following year. She started a business called Rally Rags, designing tennis dresses with her best friend. David Jones bought all the dresses they manufactured. Julia was also the second female photographer at the Sydney Morning Herald from 1979 to 1981. During this time Julia continued to pioneer change. She was arrested at Sydney’s Gordon Bay for nude bathing causing “Serious Affront and Alarm”; the case went to the Supreme Court and today you will no longer receive a criminal record for being naked in public.

After marrying Alasdair Macfarlane and raising two children, Andrew and Kate (MACFARLANE: 2006-09), Julia returned to full time study in 2014 to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree at University of New South Wales, Art & Design. At the age of 71, Julia was completing a doctorate at Macquarie University investigating sci-fi cinema through a feminist lens. She was due to exhibit her work in July 2019. Julia was a strong supporter of the Women’s College and an active member of the Alumnae Committee for a number of years. She is sorely missed by all.

Source: Kate Macfarlane (2006-2009)

Vale 7 January 2019

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