School of Arts

Jeanette Debney-Joyce

CRCAH doctoral candidate

Dr Fanny Reading – a clever little bird
This thesis title is a play on words: the subject's Jewish name (Zipporah) also means 'bird' and she was small and fair.


Reading (1884-1974) came as a young child to Ballarat and district in the late nineteenth century with her family from Russia. There was a vibrant Jewish community in Ballarat from the start of the gold rush and the community had built a fine synagogue which is still in use on High Holy Days. At the end of the century, as the gold petered out, many Jewish families, including Reading's, moved to metropolitan areas. In her later life, Reading became a significant community leader in Sydney in the Jewish community and established a general practice with her brother.

Jeanette was a secondary teacher for many years in both metropolitan and country secondary schools, working in the public and private education systems. Her first Masters Degree was an interview study on giftedness and her second one was in the field of Linguistics.