Territory Stories

Jessie Litchfield



Jessie Litchfield,


Litchfield, Jessie Sinclair, Phillips, Jessie,


Jessie Litchfield,


Territory Women, HistoryNT,

Place of birth

Sydney (N.S.W.),

Date of birth



Historian, Writer, Political lobbyist,

Date of death


Place of death

Melbourne (Vic.),

Place of burial



Photographs from Library & Archives NT - PH0110/0588 - Jessie Litchfield, PH0110/0089 and PH0110/0091 - Jessie Litchfield,

Honours and awards

Coronation medal 1953,

Biographical notes

Jessie Phillips was born on 18 February 1883 at Ashfield, Sydney, second child of John Phillips, contractor, and his wife Jean Sinclair, née Reid. The family lived in various country towns until 1895 when they returned to Sydney. Jessie attended Neutral Bay Public School. On 21 January 1908 at Darwin Jessie married Valentine Augustus Litchfield, a miner she had met on a ship to Darwin. Jessie was the first woman to stand for local government office in 1927, 1928 and 1929 and she also stood as an independent for the House of Representatives seat of the Northern Territory at the 1951 Federal election. She was unsuccessful in her attempts to be elected. She was a prolific writer for the Northern Territory Times and the Northern Standard. In 1930 Jessie became the first female editor of the Northern Territory Times, at the same time, publishing a book 'Far North Memories'. In 1954 Jessie helped establish the North Australian Monthly. She was also appointed the first female NT Justice of the Peace. Jessie Litchfield is regarded as the 'grand old lady of the Territory', matriarch of the Litchfield family in the Northern Territory. Litchfield National Park, established in 1946 is named after her family.,


Women, Northern Territory,

Related materials

Northern Territory dictionary of biography / editor, David Carment. Darwin : Charles Darwin University Press, 2008. NTC 920.9429 NORT., James, Barbara. No man's land: Women of the Northern Territory. Sydney : Collins, 1989. NTC 994.29 JAME, Jessie Litchfield: Grand old lady of the Territory. Blackwater, Qld. J. Dickinson, c1982. NTC B919.4295 (LIT) DIC, Litchfield, Jessie. Far north memories: being the account of ten years spent on the diamond-drills and of things that happened in those days Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1930. NTC SP COLL 919.4295 LIT,

Related links

http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A100107b.htm [Australian Dictionary of Biography : Litchfield, Jessie Sinclair (1883 - 1956)], https://hdl.handle.net/10070/727165 [PictureNT : PH0110/0588 - Jessie Litchfield], https://hdl.handle.net/10070/724424 [PictureNT : PH0110/0091 - Jessie Litchfield], https://hdl.handle.net/10070/727793 [PictureNT : PH0110/0089 - Jessie Litchfield],

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