ABC News Australia looked back this week at the life of Wilhemena “Bill” Smith, who is believed to be the country's first female jockey. Smith, who was born in 1886 and orphaned while she was young, went by “Bill” and lived most of her life as a man.
The report says it's unclear when or why she began living as male, but the move likely did make it easier for Smith to become licensed and ride on the track in the 1940s and 1950s. Prior to a successful race riding career, Smith galloped horses and worked as a miner.
It's thought hospital staff in north Queensland must have kept Smith's secret, as she spent some time there in the 1970s shortly before her death. It was only after Smith's previously-unmarked grave was restored by a local Lions club that the incredible story became public.
Women were not licensed as jockeys until 1979 — four years after Smith died.
Read more at ABC News
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