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Biographical entry Benham, Ellen Ida (1871 - 1917)

12 March 1871
Allen's Creek, South Australia, Australia
27 April 1917
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Educator and Botanist


Ellen Ida Benham was a teacher, at both the secondary and tertiary level. From 1893 to 1912 she taught science at several schools including the Tormore House School. In 1902 Benham was appointed as a botany lecturer at the University of Adelaide. In 1908 she went to England to improve her higher education teaching methods and completed the Oxford Diploma of Education. Benham returned to Adelaide the following year and continued her lecturing until 1912 when the University founded its Chair of Botany. That same year she resigned from Tormore House School and bought Walford School in Malvern. There she taught botany and physiology and greatly raised the school's academic standards. She also introduced callisthenics and sports to the curriculum. The school thrived and evolved into the Walford Church of England Girls' Grammar School, which honours her with its Benham Wing.



Education - Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at the University of Adelaide
c. 1893 - c. 1895
Career position - Headmistress of Christ Church day school in Kapunda, South Australia
Education - Studied in Europe
1896 - 1900
Career position - Science Teacher at Dryburgh House School in Adelaide
1901 - 1912
Career position - Assistant Lecturer, then Lecturer in Botany at the University of Adelaide
c. 1902 - c. 1908
Career position - Teacher at both Tormore House School and Advanced School in South Australia
Career position - Appointed Botanist to classify a major collection presented to the university herbarium by the South Australian government
Career position - Studied and taught (at Winchester High School) in England
Education - Oxford Diploma of Education completed in England
Career position - Founding member of the Women's Student Club
1909 - 1911
Career position - Teacher at Tormore House School
1909 - 1912
Career position - Lecturer at the University of Adelaide
1912 -
Career position - Purchased and ran Walford School in Malvern, South Australia
Career position - Teacher (part-time) at Akaroa School
Career position - Foundation member of the Women Graduates' Club, University of Adelaide

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

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Annette Alafaci