Australia’s first female academic in architecture, Eileen Good was appointed a demonstrator in the Architecture School of the University of Melbourne in 1924 and a lecturer in 1949. She taught at the University until her retirement in 1961.
Eileen Good was also the University of Melbourne’s first woman graduate in Architecture in 1920; she later observed that she had wanted to study engineering but found this impossible for a woman student.
After her graduation in 1920 Eileen Good worked briefly with F Louis Klingender and then as a sole practitioner, mainly in domestic architecture. Late in 1920 she was elected the first female associate of the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects, warmly welcomed as achieved ‘through merit and industry’.
In 1924 the School of Architecture at the University of Melbourne decided the growing number of students, including increasing numbers of women, required the appointment of a woman demonstrator to help supervise and organise the practical classes. Eileen Good was appointed senior demonstrator that year the first full-time staff member in the school – most of the lecturing staff also maintained an architectural practice.
She worked as senior denonstrator for 25 years before being promoted to Lecturer in 1949. Her entire career as an academic was at the University of Melbourne where she continued teaching in both the Engineering and Architecture faculties until her retirement in 1961 at the age of 68. Former students of the Architecture School presented a portrait of her to the University to mark her 37 years of teaching.
Eileen Good has a street named after her in the Canberra suburb of Greenway, honouring Australian architects of note.
Early life and education
The daughter of an Anglican clergyman, Eileen Good grew up in inner Melbourne and attended University High School.
In 1912, aged 19 she was articled to Purchas & Teague. Articles were a kind of apprenticeship leading to sitting examinations set by the relevant professional body; this was the most common method of qualifying until architecture courses were established at universities.
However Eileen Good also studied for matriculation while completing her articles and enrolled in the Diploma of Architecture at the University of Melbourne in 1917, the third woman student enrolled. She continued to work for Purchas & Teague while studying.
In 1920 she became the first female graduate of the Diploma of Architecture and only the ninth graduate. Interviewed in 1949 when travelling to New Zealand for a conference, she said she had always wanted to study engineering but this was not possible for a woman at the time while architecture with its overtones of domesticity was more acceptable.
Contributed by Libby Coates