Territory Stories

Judith Chisholm



Judith Chisholm,


Chisholm, Judith Olive,


Judith Chisholm,


Territory Women, HistoryNT,

Place of birth

New South Wales,

Date of birth




Date of death


Honours and awards

Medal of the Order of Australia 1990.,

Biographical notes

Judith was raised and educated in Sydney where she first met her future husband Tony Chisholm in 1940. Tony was dating her older sister Pat at the time. Judith travelled and worked in the London office of the Melbourne Herald before returning to Sydney in 1949. Tony was on his way to England for a holiday and contacted Judith. They had a whirlwind romance marrying on 2nd November 1951. Judith moved to Napperby Station where Tony was a part owner and manager. Judith undertook domestic duties, and provided daily medical treatment to the sick at the station. This life continued as they moved from one station to another. Their son, Roy, was born in 1953. Midway through 1957 they had to leave Napperby due to problems which was devastating for them. However, in December that year they purchased the run down Anningie Station. Judith developed life long friendships with the Walbiri women. She often stated that "without the help and companionship of those Aboriginal women I would have found it impossible to live at Anningie"., Judith was pregnant with her second child in 1960, but lost their son due to the lack of immediate medical attention and a premature birth. The Chisholm's owned, managed and sold a number of properties over the years. They entertained friends and many prominent figures at Anningie and Napperby including Tamie and Malcolm Fraser. By 1974 Napperby was without a manager and Tony was in financial trouble. They decided that he should move back to Napperby as the manager in partnership with his stepsisters. Their son Roy returned home from boarding school in 1976 to help run the stations. While Judith was in Sydney recovering from a knee operation and looking after ailing parents, Tony sold Anningie in 1979 without consulting Judith. In late 1981 they bought a flat in Sydney in preparation for their retirement. The next few years were very stressful for Judith with the death of her father and mother. Her son Roy had a bad car accident and the breakdown of her marriage. The couple separated in 1984 and divorced in 1985. Tony died 9 months after he remarried in 1987. In her book, Judith sums up her life in the Territory."I feel I've been fortunate that fate took me to the desert with its wondrous landscape and that I've known the friendship and loyalty of real Aboriginal people. The eventual disappointment of the end of my marriage hasn't detracted from the reality of what Tony and I achieved together nor cancelled the memories. Despite the heat, dust, flies and isolation, I grew to love the Centre and our way of life." Judith was awarded an OAM on 26th January 1990 in recognition of service to Aboriginal health and welfare.,




Women, Northern Territory,

Related links

http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/32764231 [Destined for the desert : memoirs of 35 years in Central Australia. Darwin : NTU Press, 1999.], https://honours.pmc.gov.au/honours/awards/876176 [Medal of the Order of Australia 1990],

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