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Edith Emily Dornwell BSc. (1885)

Born in New Zealand to Bernard and Sarah Dornwell, Edith was 14 when she won a scholarship to attend the Advanced School for Girls in Adelaide, where she proved herself to be an outstanding student. In 1882 she passed the matriculation examination with honours in French, German, animal physiology, and modem history.

She began studies at the University of Adelaide the following year, enrolling in the Bachelor of Science. The University of Adelaide was second only to the University of London to allow degrees to women and, at the age of 21, Edith was the first graduate, female or male, to complete the BSc in 1885 with first-class honours in physics and physiology.

Edith went on to teach across all disciplines but with a particular focus on science at a number of Schools including Methodist Ladies' College in Melbourne, a school that is now known internationally as well as nationally for its educational excellence and innovation.

Edith’s tremendous enthusiasm provided a steady source of inspiration for her pupils. She was also a good disciplinarian, her tiny stature notwithstanding, and was highly regarded by her headmaster. In 1890 she accepted the post of headmistress at Riviere College, a private school in Woollahra, an eastern suburb of Sydney where she met and married Lionel Charles Raymond. They had two sons, Oliver and Rowland, who were sent back to Sydney for their secondary schooling when they moved to Fiji for Lionel’s work.

In retirement and upon their return to Sydney, Edith joined the Lyceum Club (an international club for professional women) and the National Council of Women.

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