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What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris) a memoir
What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris) a memoir
What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris) a memoir
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What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris) a memoir

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What Glass Ceiling? tells the story of one of the earliest women to work in accounting in Australia.
Growing up in an era when women were deemed inferior and unsuited for a professional career, Patricia Morris/Evans shows how obstacles became challenges and stepping stones; how she challenged fixed and discriminatory ideologies, sometimes involving humorous, or thought-provoking approaches. Patricia’s memories of life commence in childhood with how her determination and independence developed, to gaining her certification as a Federal Accountant in 1948 and entering the male-dominated executive world. In 1949 21-year-old Patricia Morris became the first female accountant employed by Bitumen and Oil Refineries (Australia) Limited (Boral). In 1956 married and a mother, Patricia achieved certification as a Chartered Secretary at a time when lifting of the Australian Marriage Bar to married women working in many areas of employment was still a decade away. In 1968, only two years after the Marriage Bar was lifted Patricia secured the first of many family-friendly workplace inclusions in her employment contracts. Her success throughout life influenced other women to do likewise. Patricia talks about her dual role of family and career with professional and social expectations through each decade interweaving her story. She explains how she mentored others, encouraging them to step out of society's expectations of women, and the disadvantaged whatever her or his perceived handicap. Patricia discusses her extensive voluntary work with a diverse range of organisations, whether teaching bookkeeping via correspondence for an ‘unwed mothers’ home in the late 1950s early 1960, maintaining the books for a group fighting for fair conditions for its workers, or as treasurer and fundraiser for community-based organisations.
Patricia Evans/Morris was profiled by Boral for their 70th anniversary in 2016. She was accepted, in 2017, by the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame; and in 2018, also included in the National Pioneer Women’s ‘Herstory’ Archive, highlighting her achievements as an inspirational Australian woman in the field of accounting. Patricia was guest speaker in 2021 for Boral’s Women’s Leadership group, and recognised by Boral for 2021 International Women’s Day.
Patricia’s memoir is centred on the accounting aspect throughout her life, and is expanded through research of Sydney from the 1930s onwards, then Canberra from 1976 to the present day. What Glass Ceiling? is a resource for women's studies & leadership, Australian social history, accounting history, as well as for anyone interested in memoir and biography.

Release dateJul 8, 2021
What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris) a memoir
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Suzanne Newnham

Writer, trance medium, health advocate (chronic pain management), researcher into chronic pain (tai chi, qigong, meditation). Author of What Glass Ceiling? (Smashwords 2021) a memoir of Patricia Evans/Morris, born in the 1920s, who never believed in a glass ceiling; in 2017she was accepted into the National [Australian] Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame; and recognised by Boral for 2021 International Women's Day.Ethics of a Psychic Reading (Balboa Press 2012) as well as numerous published short stories.Co-author 4 novellas; contributor to International Psychics Association annual magazine since 2016; articles in scientific publications, columnist for PnP Authors Magazine 2015-2019. Bushfire stories in 'Oz is Burning' anthology (2020), and Beneath an Ominous Sky (2021)Suzanne has researched and taught energy flow as well as psychic communication since 1986; she has also worked professionally as a trance medium since 1998.Member of various writing groups; pain related organisations; psychic and spiritual associations.https://suzanne-newnham.comf/b; twitter; Linkedin; Goodreads

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    What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris) a memoir - Suzanne Newnham

    What Glass Ceiling?

    Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris)

    a memoir

    by Suzanne Newnham

    Copyright 2021 Suzanne Newnham

    Copyright cover 2021 Mick Newnham

    E-book published by Suzanne Newnham, Smashwords, July 2021. ISBN 978-0-909497-52-1

    Print book published by Suzanne Newnham, July 2021. ISBN 978-0-909497-47-7

    Some events and dialogue have been created, instead of giving a block of data or to de-identify people, to illustrate relevant detail and information.

    All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced, re-sold or given away to other people, or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Please cite source: Suzanne Newnham, What Glass Ceiling, 2021 https://www.suzanne-newnham.com

    Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

    For Mamma

    My inspiration

    Thank you for being you,

    for your love and guidance

    and the honour of allowing me to write

    your wonderful story

    Table of Contents

    Author’s Notes (including warning about deceased First Nation Australian)



    Sydney, A Child’s Playground


    Independence Grows

    Unexpected Change

    The Radio Broadcast

    Sydney’s Fear

    St Mary’s Convent, Bathurst

    Accountancy Internship

    My Dad – Cyril Daniel Victor Morris

    A New Goal

    Royal Hotel Bathurst

    Golfer Accountant

    Breaking New Ground

    When It Comes To Figures

    Career Or Marriage

    Australian Marriage Bar

    Family Life

    There’s Always A Way

    Nine To Four

    The Travel Bug

    Volunteer To Now


    Historical Notes (indicated by *)

    References (indicated by number)

    About The Author

    Website and Social Media

    Back Cover

    Author’s Notes

    Warning: name of deceased First Nation Australian in the chapter ‘My Dad’.

    Also important: some words used by Patricia Evans reflect the terminology of the relevant time period. Whether or not they are Patricia’s direct quotes from interviews for this book, or from referenced material, I know in some instances that these words and phrases are now considered inappropriate or discriminatory. Please do not be offended by their use as this is not my intention and I have only included them for historical and memoir accuracy in the context of this story.

    The dialogue used in this book is a mixture of quotation from Patricia and a representation of her thoughts, attitudes, as well as memories from her perspective.

    An auditor would normally focus on income and expenditure and not necessarily research a business. However, for the purpose of this book I have researched any company that Patricia has remembered, interweaving some personal accountant-type aspect and dialogue into the story, attributing it to Patricia Evans or her maiden surname of Morris. In the course of my research I am delighted to say that the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame, and BORAL have acknowledged Patricia’s contribution and achievements. I have read and re-read the memoir to Patricia who has approved every stage to publication and I am honoured to present What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris): a memoir.

    Suzanne Newnham

    South Coast of NSW, 15 July 2021


    To my fabulous, loving husband Mick who encourages me with my writing – just saying thank you seems insufficient to express my eternal gratitude for your continued support. To the Eurobodalla Writers’ night-group (Secret Society of Words - SSOW) especially Louise Falcioni – I appreciate your years of tireless editing and questions to pose to Patricia, which helped fill in the details, becoming the difference between a book of facts and this story; and Cat Sheely, who helped me format the print and e-books. To Louise, Cat, and the rest of the members of SSOW who over the years have read, constructively critiqued, and re-read sections of drafts, the story benefitted greatly from the varied feedback and suggestions to help the creative process – my heartfelt thanks to each and everyone involved over the past eight years.

    Thank you also to the Sydney Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW), where the concept for this book all started. In 2013, the FAW called for 1500-word short stories on the theme of ‘Sydney’ for their 85th anniversary. This piqued my interest in documenting my 85-year-old mother’s career and I submitted ‘Sydney – a child’s playground’ on Patricia’s early life until she moved from the Paling’s building. The short story expanded to become the first three chapters of this book. I value the FAW’s opportunity, never realising how that story would ultimately develop into What Glass Ceiling? Patricia Julianne Evans (nee Morris): a memoir.


    What Glass Ceiling? tells the story of Patricia Evans’ memories of life commencing in childhood with how her determination and independence developed, to gaining her certification as a Federal Accountant, and entering the male-dominated executive world. Patricia talks about her dual role of family and career, including events and quotations which are from her perspective. Centred on the accounting aspect throughout her life Patricia’s memoir is expanded through research of Sydney from the 1930s onwards, then Canberra from 1976 to the present day. This is a memoir rather than being written as a piece of historical information.

    Sydney, and what is about to unfold is a story of one woman’s journey on the heels of the suffragettes. Born just prior to the Great Depression Patricia Morris entered the workforce in a war-torn world where women were considered the last, albeit necessary, resort to getting men’s work done, ultimately rising to and maintaining an executive position in the male dominated world throughout her career. A male colleague during the feminist movement of the early 1970s made a comment that Patricia would never burn her bra: she’s too practical, an upward smiling twitch of her lip was the only acknowledgement of this inappropriate but sincere comment. In retelling the story Patricia concludes that as company accountant of the multi-national company she returned to her office to prepare her presentation for a meeting.

    How do I know this incredible woman? She is my mother, and this is her story …

    The year is 2013 and an 85-year-old woman, balancing on a walking stick, shuffles her way through the restaurant to a table by the window. Her daughter and friends are already sitting at the starched white cloth-covered table upon which a basket of steaming garlic bread takes pride of place amongst the silver cutlery and glassware. Plates of tempura battered fish and wedge-cut chips hover past to land in front of diners at a neighbouring table. The tantalising aroma permeates the air and orders of fish and chips please are given to the waiter. A lively conversation resumes, gradually reducing to a background hum as, glancing through the window, the elderly woman looks towards the now iconic Argyle Stairs many metres below. Memory stirs of a distant era and the present time melts away.

    Sydney, A Child’s Playground

    1935. Lower George Street towards Circular Quay; a harbour; a hill; ‘The Rocks’ with buildings and thoroughfares built by convict labour. This part of Sydney is home to the notorious razor gangs, so called because a cut-throat razor is their weapon of choice. This area is also home for seven-year-old Patricia and her friends. The local children, however, are unaware of the terrors of night-time and dark alley activity. It is a world away. For them The Rocks, and areas nearby, are literally their playground.

    Breathing hard with excitement the young girl struggles to contain her anticipation as she rushes through the street. Although a more cautious manner overtakes her descent on the uneven convict-hewn stone of the Argyle Stairs. As a rare school lunchtime treat on a cold and blustery winter’s day, Patricia is allowed a pennyworth of chips wrapped in a layer of greaseproof paper and newsprint. There’s no canteen at school, and no heating inside the classroom, so warming with lunch from the local fish and chip shop is permitted. Pulling her coat around her ears in an attempt to block out the howling wind, she half-stumbles through the doorway.


    The warmth of the shop and familiar waft of salt, tangy vinegar and hot oil is a welcome change from the chill outside.

    Fingers pale with cold peek through her coat sleeve as she lifts her arm above the counter. Her coin is raised like a trophy.

    What’ll you ‘ave Miss?

    Chips please.

    As an aproned man turns to the fryer and starts scooping, a satisfying sizzle fills the air. Golden brown potato sticks plop from a wire basket onto crisp paper, and are liberally salted. A couple roll towards Patricia.

    She picks up a chip to stop it from rolling off the edge, bouncing it from one hand to the other, and back again, in a futile cooling attempt. In a single hot gulp, delicious, it’s gone.

    Patricia hurries into the street clutching the bundle of newspaper with its precious cargo, feeling her chest warming as she holds the parcel close. The tantalising aroma of the fish and chip shop and heady taste of that single chip spur her to get back to school to eat lunch.

    While it’s not far from the shop, walking up Observatory Hill to Fort Street Public is invigorating. Entering through the gate she ignores a sign proclaiming ‘Fort Street National School, since 1849 a pioneer of public education’. A group of girls huddle together out of the wind to eat their lunch. They are oblivious to the historical artefact in the sandstone wall behind them: a smooth insert block with ‘Foundation Stone, Military Hospital, 1815’ etched deeply, words and date blackened with age – significance forgotten.

    A bell clangs signalling the end of lunch. The gaggle of girls quietens as they slow their pace to a compulsory ladylike walk going into the building.

    Although not admitting it out loud Patricia likes school, and finds various subjects interesting, especially those taught by her 4th class teacher Mr Russell. He is elderly like a grandfather and walks with a limp, but he’s also different from other teachers as he somehow brings life to history and geography lessons. However, now it’s Arithmetic and this class seems quite staid. Patricia’s eyes start glazing over as she reminisces about her four-year-old self, half a lifetime away, and a more inspiring and practical set of numbers.

    Perched on her high stool, at the corner of the local hotel bar, she sits opposite the lady cashier. Patricia can see money being counted, and numbers written into a book full of horizontal and vertical lines. She hears the cashier muttering to herself until a big number appears in ink at the bottom of the page.

    Near the school is a park which is out of bounds between the hours of nine to three. Some days though, on her way home, Patricia joins other children as swings and monkey bars get a workout. School and the exciting, intriguing nature of The Rocks is only half a mile from her Ash Street home.


    After plodding up dusty George Street, Patricia goes through the open front doorway of 338 George Street, and into the W.H. Paling building, taking the steps two at a time before stopping at the door of the second-floor flat which the family calls home. Her Dad Cyril is the building’s caretaker manager, and her Mum Phyllis assists him.

    One day Patricia asks about the building’s name and is told that the owner W.H. Paling came from an old musical family in Europe. Old Mr Paling had been a music teacher, composer, importer of pianoforte and other instruments, and Number 338 is one of two impressive buildings on George Street that belong to him. She sighs and mutters thank you but has barely taken in the dry facts. Her widening smile belies the seven-year-old’s racing mind: Number 338 is her building and exciting things happen there. It’s a place of fun with a dance school, music studios, concert hall as well as painters renting upper floor space. Each room offers something special – sometimes fostering a creative imagination, and other times an opportunity, as the resident caretaker’s child, to participate in classes and activities not normally available to a girl of her age.

    On some days after school instead of dashing through the building’s back door and upstairs to the flat, she steps from busy George Street into another world where the atmosphere rich with the fluid sounds from pianos and the intense smell of polished wood envelops her. Patricia wanders around

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