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Communities, Sport and Recreation

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June Olley AM

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
June Olley

Awarded for service to Science

Born: 1924

Entered on roll: 2006


Dr June Olley was born in a bungalow at the back of Croydon aerodrome (UK) where her father was one of the early flyers. When she was 10, she was given a Zoo Magazine and solemnly listed every animal in alphabetical order.

At 14, she chose her boarding school Wycombe Abbey because of its good science facilities. During the blitz, the science library was blacked out for her for evening homework. She studied chemistry at the University College London and went on to receive the first PhD in the Chemistry of Nutrition in 1950.

June then went to the Torry Research Station in Scotland to work on the handling and preservation of fish as food. The work included extensive travel in Europe, America and Israel.

The 1956 Fulbright travel grant strengthened her work on phospholipids leading to a Doctorate of Science in London in 1968. In that year, she came to Tasmania to marry barrister F.D. Cumbrae-Stewart and began work on abalone at the CSIRO Tasmanian Food Research Unit.

She was among the first to devise a scientific methodology to predict food safety, now known as predictive microbiology. She and Professor David Ratkowsky have published together continuously during the past 30 years and were co-authors of the first book on predictive modelling in 1993.

On retirement in 1989, she moved to the University of Tasmania and has mentored many higher degree students. She was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 1988 and was elected a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering.

In 2005, the Australian Marine Sciences Association presented her with the 15 th Silver Jubilee Award of Excellence.

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