Pranks, pornography and no female toilets was life for WA’s first female electrician

Posted August 16, 2018 06:44:46

Photo: Margery (left) encouraged her daughter Yvonne to become an electrician in the 1970s. (ABC Mid West and Wheatbelt: Jessica Hayes)

Pranks by male colleagues, pornography on the walls, and no female toilets were part and parcel of the job when Yvonne Ward began her electrical apprenticeship 40 years ago.

It was 1978, and Ms Ward was the only woman in a room of 1,500 men competing for a position as an electrical apprentice in the mines at Kambalda, an outback town, 600 kilometres east of Perth.

The early years were tough for the young British migrant who went on to become Western Australia’s first female electrician.

From Liverpool to the Australian outback

It all began when Ms Ward was relocated from a cold and rainy Liverpool to the remote Goldfields after her mother packed up her three young children bound for a new life in Australia in 1974.