Radio Girl: The story of the extraordinary Mrs Mac, pioneering engineer and wartime legend by David Dufty

Reviewed by
June–July 2020, no. 422
Buy this book
Jacqueline Kent reviews 'Radio Girl: The story of the extraordinary Mrs Mac, pioneering engineer and wartime legend' by David Dufty

Radio Girl: The story of the extraordinary Mrs Mac, pioneering engineer and wartime legend

by David Dufty

Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 302 pp

Buy this book

Radio Girl: The story of the extraordinary Mrs Mac, pioneering engineer and wartime legend by David Dufty

Reviewed by
June–July 2020, no. 422

At first glance, this biography does not look especially compelling. Why should we want to know about Australia’s first woman radio pioneer? But David Dufty calmly and quietly shows why Violet McKenzie is well worth celebrating.

From her earliest days, Violet, born in 1890, showed great flair for practical science. She became a high school maths teacher but was determined to study electrical engineering. She qualified, but her gender meant that she was refused admission to the university course and also to a technical college diploma. Meanwhile, her elder brother Walter had become an electrical engineer and was running his own business in Sydney. This was 1912: seduced by the new moving-picture craze, Walter had ploughed all his profits into a ‘flickergraph training school’, teaching people to operate cinema projectors.

Jacqueline Kent reviews 'Radio Girl: The story of the extraordinary Mrs Mac, pioneering engineer and wartime legend' by David Dufty

Radio Girl: The story of the extraordinary Mrs Mac, pioneering engineer and wartime legend

by David Dufty

Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 302 pp

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