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Biographical entry Harris, Thistle Yolette (1902 - 1990)

29 July 1902
5 July 1990
Author, Botanist and Conservationist
Alternative Names
  • Stead, Thistle Yolette (married name)


Thistle Harris was a lecturer in biological science at the Sydney Teachers' College and was Honorary Secretary and President of the Wild Life Preservation Society of Australia. She published many books on Australian plants. In the early 1960s she established the Wirrimbirra Wildlife Sanctuary in Bargo, New South Wales, in honour of her late husband David George Stead. She left the sanctuary to the National Trust.



1921 - 1924
Education - BSc, Botany Major, University of Sydney
c. 1924
Education - Dip. Ed., Sydney Teachers College
1924 - 1938
Career position - Held a series of teaching positions in NSW secondary schools
1938 - 1962
Career position - Lecturer in Biological Science, Sydney Teachers College
Award - Awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science, University of Wollongong

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Oral History Collection

  • Thistle Yolette Harris - Records, 1920 - 1972, DeB 574; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Hooker, Claire, Irresistible Forces: Australian Women in Science, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 2004, 215 pp. Details
  • Webb, Joan, Thistle Y. Harris, Surrey Beatty & Sons, Sydney, 1998. Details

Book Sections

  • Webb, Joan, 'Stead, Thistle Yolette (1902-1990), Biologist, Educator and Wildlife Preservationist pp. 455-6', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 18, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012, pp. 455-6. Details

Journal Articles

  • Willis, J. H., 'Latest two recipients of the Australian Natural History Medallion', Victorian Naturalist, vol. 81, no. 6, 1964, pp. 192-3. Details

Online Resources

McCarthy, G.J.