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Born 15 September 1875 at Castlemaine, Victoria, Susannah Williams was the daughter of Edward David Williams, businessman (later member of the Legislative Assembly) and Jane Jones.

Susannah was educated at Castlemaine Grammar School, and resident at Trinity College Hostel when a student of the University of Melbourne. She gained her BA in 1879 with first class honours in classics and comparative philology. At Newnham College, Cambridge (Classical Scholar 1898) she read for the classical tripos from 1897-1901, and studied archaeology at the University of London from 1897-1898. On returning to Australia she was resident senior classical and senior English mistress at Melbourne Church of England Girls Grammar School from 1902-1913, and head of staff from 1908. From 1914-1919 she worked as a tutor and lecturer at Trinity College, University of Melbourne.

Miss Williams was appointed Principal of the Women’s College in 1919, a position she held until 1935. In 1925-1926 she visited a number of English and American colleges and universities and was an Australian delegate to the Imperial Social Hygiene Conference held at Wembley. Actively involved in the Sydney University Women Graduates’ Association, and the national board of the YWCA, she was also a member of the executive of the National Council of Women of NSW and the board of the Rachel Forster Hospital. In September 1936, after her retirement from the Women’s College, Miss Williams was requested by the Provisional Committee of University Women’s College, Melbourne, to help launch the College until a Council could be constituted and a permanent head appointed. From 1937-1938 she therefore held the temporary (and honorary) position of Principal of the University Women’s College, Melbourne. She died on 27 May 1942.

Source: Biographical Register 1892 Ð 1939

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