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Biographical entry Black, Jessica Hope (Hope) (1919 - 2018)

25 January 2018
Victoria, Australia
Malacologist and Marine biologist
Alternative Names
  • MacPherson, Hope (Also known as)


Hope Black completed a science degree part-time, majoring in zoology and geology, while working as a museum assistant at the Museum of Victoria. In 1946 she was appointed curator of molluscs and was the Museum's first female curator. Following her marriage in 1965, Black was required to resign. She went on to become a science teacher. Black became well known for her expertise in marine biology and malacology, and the conduct of environmental surveys. She contributed to the survey of the Snowy River Gorge in 1957 and led the survey of Port Phillip Bay 1957 - 1963. The latter is still used as a baseline to monitor change. Other research included the investigation of shipworms (Teredo species) in Victoria and South Australia. Her study of Victorian molluscs resulted in the publication, with Charles Gabriel, of Marine molluscs of Victoria (1962). Black sought the participation of community members as volunteers in scientific work, leading to the establishment of groups such as the Marine Study Group of Victoria. In 1959, with Isobel Bennett, Black was in the first group of women to conduct research on Macquarie Island for the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition. Lake Macpherson on Macquarie Island was named in her honour in 2019.



1938 - 1939
Career position - Temporary Museum Assistant at the Museum of Victoria
1939 - 1946
Career position - Permanent Museum Assistant at the Museum of Victoria
Education - BSc, University of Melbourne
1946 - 1965
Career position - Curator of Molluscs at the Museum of Victoria
Award - Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Journal Articles

  • Black, J. Hope, 'The Kershaw Dynasty', Victorian Naturalist, 122 (2005), 351-7. Details
  • Byrne, Margaret, Broadhurst, Linda, Leishman, Michelle and Belov, Kathy, 'Women in conservation science making a difference', Pacific Conservation Biology, 24 (1) (2018), 6, Details
  • Carey, Jane, 'Hope Black, née Macpherson (1919- ): First Female Curator at the Musuem of Victoria', Australasian Science, 21 (5) (2000), 46. Details
  • Smith, Brian J, and Black, Hope, 'Biographies, combined bibliography and new names list of John Henry Gatliff (1848 - 1935) and Charles john Gabriel (1879 - 1963)', Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia, 1 (12) (1969), 32-40. Details



  • Carey, Jane, 'Departing from their sphere: Australian women and science, 1880-1960', PhD thesis, The University of Melbourne, 2003, 356 pp. Details

See also

  • Millers, Kimerley, 'Women of AMSA [Australian Marine Sciences Association]', Australian Marine Science Bulletin, 190 (2013), 40-7. Details
  • Smith, Brian J., 'Marine studies and the FNCV', Victorian Naturalist, 122 (6) (2005), 311-4. Details

Ailie Smith and Helen Cohn