ESHG Biographies

Dorothy Hill - image courtesy John Jell. Portrait by Lola McCausland (1967), collection of The University of Queensland - reproduced with permission.

Beryl Scott Nashar 
Beryl Scott Nashar (1923-2012) – mineralogist, sedimentologist, geochemist and petrologist. Beryl Scott grew up in the Newcastle area and began her geological studies in high school, where she came first in the state in geology in her Leaving Certificate. Beryl was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Sydney where she completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours in 1947 winning numerous prizes including the University medal and a research scholarship. Her thesis was on the geology of the Stanhope region of the Hunter Valley, near Newcastle. Beryl then undertook a Diploma of Education in 1948. Although initially appointed a teacher at Hunter Girls High School in Newcastle, she accepted a position at the University of Tasmania, carrying a full load of teaching and helping to design courses while working towards her PhD under the supervision of Professor Sam Carey. She was the first woman to be awarded a Rotary Fellowship to attend the University of Cambridge, and in 1949 studied in the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology. She counted Germaine Joplin as an inspiration to her studies whilst at Cambridge. Beryl returned to the University of Tasmania to study with Sam Carey and was awarded her PhD in 1952, the first woman to earn a PhD in geology from an Australian university.


Beryl Nashar - image courtesy University of Newcastle.

While at Cambridge, she had met Ali El-Nashar, an Egyptian philosophy student who was also studying for his PhD, and they married in Cairo in 1952 after she completed her PhD. Beryl returned to Australia in 1953 to give birth to their son, Tarek, while her husband remained in Spain and later Lebanon and Egypt, because he was not able to find work in Australia.

 Beryl Nashar began a lecturing position at Newcastle University College (then part of NSW University of Technology, later becoming University of Newcastle) where she was promoted to Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and then in 1965, the foundation Professor of Geology. Beryl was only the second woman to be promoted to a Professorial position at that time (after Dorothy Hill at the University of Queensland) and in 1969, she became the first female Dean at an Australian university. In 1972, she was awarded an Order of the British Empire, and in 1975 was appointed Woman of the Year by the NSW branch of the United Nations Association. A longtime Newcastle resident, and with a strong ethic toward public service, Nashar sat on the Board of Directors of the Royal Newcastle Hospital for over 16 years, as well as the Faculty of Medicine. She was also on the Board of the Greater Newcastle Building Society. She was president of the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women in 1964 and president of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women in 1974.

Upon her retirement in 1980, Beryl was appointed an Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle. She had intended to join her husband, but he died the same year. In 1999, Beryl received the Rotary Foundations’ Scholar Alumni Service award, and in 2001 received a Commonwealth Recognition Award for Senior Australians. During her career, Beryl published four books and over 30 papers. The annual Beryl Nashar Scholarship for Excellence in Geology is awarded at the University of Newcastle and the national GSA medal for contributions by women geoscientists is named in her honour.


Allen, N. "Professor Beryl Nashar (1923-2012), geologist. Australian Academy of Science". online 4 November 2019

Newcastle Herald, Obituary: Beryl Nashar, 2012, online 4 November 2019

Turner, S., 'Invincible but mostly Invisible: Australian Women's Contribution to Geology and Palaeontology', Geological Society Special Publication, vol. 281, 2007, pp. 165-202.

Walker, R., Nashar, Beryl (1923 - c. 2012)', in Encyclopedia of Australian Science,, accessed online 4 November 2019.

Biography of Beryl Nashar
(Adobe PDF File)