Patricia Thomas OAM

Patricia Thomas was born in Melbourne in 1915, the eldest daughter of Sir Douglas and Lady Paquita Mawson.  

She graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Science and completed a Masters degree in Zoology in 1938, studying Australian nematode parasites. 

From 1950 to 1980, she raised three sons while continuing to work within the University’s Department of Zoology, publishing groundbreaking research and travelling the world to engage with the brightest minds in the field. 

Patricia acted as editor for many of the series of scientific reports resulting from her father's expeditions to Antarctica, covering botanical and zoological explorations between 1929 and 1931. 

Pat Thomas' most significant scientific legacy lies in the more than 100 papers published throughout her career. 

It is widely acknowledged that Pat’s research represents the most significant single contribution to our knowledge of the nematode parasites of marsupials of the 20th century. 

Pat was awarded the Verco Medal of the Royal Society of South Australia in 1974 and became the first woman to be made a Fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology. In 1994, Pat was awarded an Order of Australia for her contributions to science in Australia. 

Aside from her pioneering research, Pat will also be remembered for her generous hospitality, her culinary skills, her sense of humour and particularly for her generosity in sharing scientific work. 

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