ESHG Biographies

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

Mary Wade
Mary Wade (1928-2005) – palaeontologist. Mary Wade graduated from the University of Adelaide, in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science with Honours (1st Class) in micropalaeontology on the topic of South Australian Tertiary foraminifera. Wade then worked as a Senior Demonstrator at the University, while doing postgraduate studies and completed a Ph.D. in 1959. After completing her studies, she undertook research with Professor Martin Glaessner focused on the earliest forms of animal life, including the Ediacara biota within the Flinders Ranges.

In 1971, with no prospect of a permanent academic position, Mary took up a position as Curator of Geology at the Queensland Museum. She then became the Museum Deputy Director in 1980. Mary continued her research through investigation of early nautiloids throughout western Queensland.

Mary Wade - image Courtesy Sue Turner.

Her research saw her involved in the organization, supervision and excavation of over 3000 dinosaur footprints in Lark Quarry in the Tully Ranges. This area is now a major tourist destination and is on the National Heritage list for the quality of dinosaur footprints. Mary’s continued research into dinosaurs within Queensland saw her recover and secure sites for a range of skeletons including the most complete pliosaur fossil that is presently known whilst at the same time continuing her research into fossil molluscs within the Great Artesian Basin.

Mary retired in 1993 at which point she became an Honorary Research Associate of the Queensland Museum, and continued developing fossil centres in western Queensland. Mary was awarded the Queensland Museum medal in 1996. Wade's gifts to Queensland were her scientific enthusiasm and its translation to practicalities such as geotourism, and her drive in seeing the Queensland Museum's fossil collections grow to a world class collection. She died in Charters Towers in 2005. A prize in honour of Mary Wade is now awarded at the Geological Society of Australia’s biennial Palaeo Down Under Conference.


Alafaci, A, ‘Wade, Mary Julia (1928 - 2005)', in Encyclopedia of Australian Science,, accessed online 4 November 2019

Turner, Susan, 'Mary Wade', in J. Mackay (ed.), Brilliant Careers. Women Collectors and Illustrators in Queensland, Queensland Museum, Brisbane, 1997, pp. 75-77, 80.

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

Biography of Mary Wade
(Adobe PDF File)