​Beverley Ferguson (Bower)

1971 Collegian


I am very proud of the contribution I have made to the West Australian economy and enjoy showing off the structures for which I was the engineer.

Unfortunately most of these are sewers, so not everyone is impressed.

Engineering attracted me because it seemed a profession that would offer a lot of satisfaction and meaningful outcomes.

I have a reading and writing disability and in my early days at my local primary school, I spent a lot of time being angry and waiting outside the principal's office.

I was lucky we moved and I went to MLC where my teacher accepted me the way I was, and the smaller class size allowed her to give me individual attention that made a real difference. To be given the opportunity to thrive when you do not quite fit the mould is a gift, indeed.

I graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1976 as the third female civil engineering graduate. I went from an all-girls school to all male classes, but it didn't matter to me. I had many friends and no-one treated me any differently.

I have been with the WA Government for 14 years and in my current position as General Manager - Petroleum and Geothermal Titles, at the Department of Mines and Petroleum, since September 2007.

During that time, WA's oil and gas industry has continued to expand. I have assisted in a number of new initiatives, which have been focussed on improved customer service, increasing investment in WA and sustained production.

Together with Sue Murphy, another Collegian, I am a founding member of the WA Division of the Institution of Engineers, Woman in Engineering Branch.

It is usually the parents of young women who have the concerns and worry over job prospects, maintaining a home life and whether their girls will be under extra stress as female engineers.

All my answers are positive. It is up to the individual. The decisions you make are engineering decisions, nothing to do with being male or female.

On MLC: While at school I participated in many co-curricular activities and represented the school in hockey, swimming, athletics and debating. We lived near school so my sisters and I were able to take full advantage of the swimming pool and ovals during the holidays. Sometimes it felt like we had a very big back yard.