Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Julian Barbara Waugh (1857–1938)

by Joan Beaumont

This article was published:

Julian Barbara Waugh (1857-1938), political and community worker, was born on 9 June 1857 at Balmain, Sydney, and registered as Julianna, third daughter of twelve children of Ewen Wallace Cameron, a French-born merchant, and his wife Sophia Usher, née Nail, from Mauritius. Julian's grandfather was Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cameron. As a child, she spent some time in France. On 27 February 1879 at St Mary's Church of England, Balmain, she married John Waugh (1852-1928), a clerk, later a bank manager. The couple moved to Parramatta, where Julian brought up two children, played croquet and was president of the local croquet club.

Mrs Waugh participated in the Australian Exhibition of Women's Work, held in Melbourne in 1907. In 1909-10 she was mayoress of Parramatta when John was mayor. An active member of the Women's Liberal (Reform) League of New South Wales, in 1909 she seconded a resolution to support the effort 'to contribute to a Dreadnought [for] the Mother-Country'; the motion was carried—'the women all springing to their feet and displaying the utmost enthusiasm'. In 1913-18 Waugh was president of the league, which she believed voiced 'the women's point of view' on legislation affecting women and children. She was a fund-raiser for the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, of which she was an honorary life governor from 1911.

During World War I Waugh was the embodiment of 'patriotic feminism', supporting the war effort without reservation and embracing the opportunities for public activism that the conflict offered to women of her class. At the invitation of Eveline, the wife of Governor Sir Gerald Strickland, she convened the meeting of patriotic women at the Victoria Club that originated the Travelling Kitchen Fund, of which she became president; it presented seven kitchens to the Australian military forces. Active in collecting comforts, she spoke extensively in public, encouraging recruiting, the early closing of hotels and the 'Yes' vote in the conscription referenda. With a strong personality and a handsome appearance, 'Mrs John Waugh' was described in a 1915 newspaper series on 'Our Public Women' and photographed wearing a tiara.

After the formation of the National Party in 1917, she was an indefatigable member of its State council. She was also a council-member of the United Australia Party and was prominent in its Mosman branch; she retired as president of the latter in December 1932. Other associations to which she belonged included the Queen Victoria Club (president, 1913-20), the National Council of Women of New South Wales (executive-member), the Fresh Air League (council member), the Boy Scouts' Association, the Women's Reform League (general president), the Citizens' Association, the Maternal Mortality Committee and the Twilight House. Although she supported the National Service League, her inherent conservatism led her to oppose anything that would 'interfere in any way with industrial conditions'. During a visit to Britain in 1921 she was invited by the Women's Guild of Empire to represent Australian women at the Cenotaph in London. In 1928 she was a delegate to the first Pan-Pacific Women's Conference, Honolulu.

Waugh was appointed M.B.E. in June 1934. She died on 2 January 1938 at her home, Waughope, at Mosman, and was cremated. Her daughter and son survived her.

Select Bibliography

  • T. Kass et al, Parramatta: A Past Revealed (Syd, 1996)
  • United Australian Review, 20 Dec 1932, p 21
  • Women’s World, 1 July 1934
  • Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 17 Mar 1909, p 6, 24 Mar 1909, p 7, 6 Oct 1915, p 6
  • Sun (Sydney), 15 Oct 1916, p 14
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 3 Jan 1938, p 4.

Citation details

Joan Beaumont, 'Waugh, Julian Barbara (1857–1938)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 18 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (Melbourne University Press), 2005

View the front pages for the Supplementary Volume

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Cameron, Julianna Barbara

9 June, 1857
Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


2 January, 1938 (aged 80)
Mosman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.