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  • March 03 2021
  • Event

Australian Women in History

March marks the celebration of Australian Women in History. HillView residents have been treated to an insightful presentation by Southern Cross University student and author Zoe Boxshall, who discussed the impact on the Gold Coast of two significant icons, Paula Stafford and Ivy Hassard. Zoe is author of ‘A Teacher Resource Pack for the Women’s Movement: A Study of Paula Stafford & Ivy Hassard’.

PAULA STAFFORD has recently celebrated her 100th birthday. She is renowned for bringing the bikini to Gold Coast beaches, an iconic piece that is both synonymous and assumed on the Gold Coast these days. Not having heard of the term ‘bikini’, Paula originally designed her ‘two-piece’ by cutting a one-piece in half. Frenchman Louis Réard invented the bikini in 1946, but Mrs Stafford popularised the controversial swimwear design and put a burgeoning holiday destination on the map (source: ABC News). When a woman was ordered off a beach for wearing a scanty Stafford bikini in 1952, Stafford turned this slight into a PR stunt by sending five models to the beach wearing her bikinis. Stafford’s business was born, on Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise. Eventually, Stafford’s designs were sold in Selfridges, London and high-end boutiques in New York and Tokyo.

IVY HASSARD (8 June 1914 – 26 April 1998). According to Wikipedia, Ivy Hassard was one of the first female pilots in the southern hemisphere and a pioneer of the Gold Coast. She is noted for her contribution to the cultural development of the Gold Coast, opening the first fashion boutique in Surfers Paradise in 1946. From a young age, Ivy developed an interest in flying after her father gave her a Tiger Moth plane. She was soon flying around Surfers Paradise and went on to become one of Australia’s first aerobatic pilots, taking her first flying lessons aged only 16, and by 18, had her A-class pilot’s licence. Read more at Wikipedia.

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