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Communities, Sport and Recreation

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Alice Christina Irvine

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Alice Irvine

Awarded for service to Education and Training

Born: 12 May 1879

Died: 12 November 1940

Entered on roll: 2009


Little did she realise it, but Miss A. C. Irvine would single-handedly send thousands of Tasmanian kids into the world armed with the ability to knock up a feed.  (Patsy Crawford, The Mercury, 1 June 2002)

Alice Christina Irvine was born in the North-East Tasmanian mining town of Mathinna on 12 May 1879. She was educated at Mangana State School and in 1897, at the age of 18, applied for a position to work at Mathinna State School. Her referee for this position wrote to the Minister for Education, recommending Alice as “…very desirous of adopting teaching as a career, and promises to do her best in her school duties.” She was given the position of monitor, and then moved to West Zeehan State School to take up a position as Junior Assistant in 1898. By 1902 she had been promoted to Assistant Teacher at Burnie State School.

In 1906, Alice attended the Melbourne Training College as a cookery student. Returning to Tasmania, she took up the position of Head Teacher at the Cookery School in Launceston, a position she held for seven years.

In 1926, Alice was granted leave to attend the Emily MacPherson College of Domestic Economy in Melbourne. Upon returning to Tasmania to teach, Alice began work on a text for cookery education in Tasmanian schools.

First published around 1930, the Central Cookery Book was intended for use in Tasmanian domestic science classes. However, the popularity of the Central Cookery Book has extended far beyond the classroom and it has become one of the most published and widely utilised texts in Tasmania.

A pioneer in domestic science teaching, Alice became Mistress of Domestic Science in the Education Department’s School of Domestic Arts in 1928, a position she held until her death from cancer in 1940.

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