Enid Plante, interviewed by Tom Spurling and Jean Swift, 17 January 1986

By Helen WolffMay 19th, 2020

Enid was the first female appointed to the Physical Chemistry Section of the CSIR Division of Industrial Chemistry at the age of 21.

Edited transcript (PDF – 499 KB)

Interview summary

Enid Campbell Plante was born in Albury on 8 October 1918 and died in Melbourne on 20 December 2007. She married Edward Francis Toner in February 1946. This interview was recorded on 17 January 1986 and is unstructured. It concentrates mainly on her time at CSIR at Fishermens Bend.

It commences with a brief account of her decision to leave CSIR after her marriage in 1946 and then goes into a discussion of her recruitment by Dr Ian Wark as one of his first Assistant Research Officers.

She recalls the work that the Division of Industrial Chemistry for the ‘war effort’ including working until 9.30 or 10.00 pm each Tuesday and Thursday. This includes an account of the project to separate ergot from rye. Her senior colleague at the time was Keith Sutherland who she remembers as being more interested in theory than the experiments.

The interview ends with her reminiscences of her school and university days and some interventions from her husband.


Interview conducted by Tom Spurling and Jean Swift on 17 January 1986.


Copyright owned by Enid C. Toner, Tom Spurling and Jean Swift.