Margaret Baker

Student of electricity and magnetism
Ballarat School of Mines

Margaret Baker enrolled as student 295 on 2 August 1875 and attended seven lectures in applied magnetism and electricity. She was one of the first women to attend classes at Ballarat School of Mines (SMB). Previously women were admitted to the school for telegraphy courses in 1874.

Those women enrolled in 1874 were: Marianne Drury, Jemima Lynn, Margaret Jane McCullagh, Mary Farrer, Annie Farrer, Annie Winifred Eastwood, Eliza Beaumont Gatliff, Mary Gatliff, Annie Louisa Gatliffe, Annie Hardy, Olivia Alderson, Annie O'Meara, Isabella McRae, Emily Martin, Maria King, Letitia King, Emily Shorthouse, Lucy Jessie Goode, Louisa Matilda Goode, Eva Kildahl, Cassie Fenton, Margaret McGlashon Dickson, Mary Downing, Elizabeth Thurling, Marianne Corker, Isabella Margaret Roxburgh, Elizabeth Austice, Margaret Elizabeth Quinlan, Ella Eveline Quinlan, Harriett Pascoe, Catherine Martin, Isabella Morison Sherard, Marian Taylor, Emma Tulloch, Carry Adams, Diana McKenzie, Margaret Armstrong, Jessie McLaren, Jessie McPhillimy, Mary Ann Sefton, Sarah Maria Robertson, Annie Bell, Mary Ann Madden, Eliza Milne.

There appeared to be some concerns about the course of magnetism and electricity were not associated with mining. The course was not mentioned in the annual reports of 1875-76 which commented that: 'The objects of The School of Mines are, to provide means of instruction in all things pertaining to mining, and to examine into the qualifications of persons engaged in mining.'

By 1879 the Council proposed securing the services of competent lecturers in Geology, Mineralogy, Electricity and Magnetism, and to place the teaching staff of The School on a permanent footing.' After much anxious thought the 1881 Council 'determined on making considerable additions to the teaching power of The School. Science subjects were proposed being taught in State Schools, and the teachers themselves to be examined therein: Natural philosophy, mechanics, electricity, magnetism, geology and mineralogy were therefore proper to be taught at The School, and arrangements were accordingly made for lectures to be given in those subjects. But this involved expense, and risk of the classes being poorly attended . Yet clearly the experiment ought to be made; and so, about the middle of the year, the necessary steps were taken to secure the services of competent lecturers'.

In June, Mr. F. M. Krause late of the Victorian geological staff, was appointed Lecturer in geology (including palaeontology) mineralogy, Electricity and Magnetism, Scientific mining, Geological and Topographical Surveying, and vice Mr R. A. Murray, who resigned his position (in consequence of official duties) to be curator of the museum and an 'endeavour was made in the early part of the year to bring the two Schools of Mines into harmony, and that united action might be taken in the matters of incorporation and examinations'.

This biography researched by Dorothy Wickham, December 2005.