ARCHDALE, HELEN ELIZABETH, MBE, who died on January 11, 2000, aged
92, was captain of the pioneering England women's team that toured Australia and
New Zealand in 1934-35. The tour did much both to raise the status of women's cricket
and to heal some of the damage done to Anglo-Australian cricket relations by Bodyline
two years earlier. Betty Archdale herself earned much of the credit: "...her forthright
yet engaging personality made her a popular figure to whom the sizable Australian
crowds responded warmly," according to Wisden Australia. She was also a capable
batsman, who twice made important 32s in a low-scoring series that England won.
Instead of leading England again on the planned 1939-40 tour, she was commissioned
in the WRNS and, after the war, emigrated to Australia. There she switched from a
career in law to education, becoming principal of Sydney University Women's College
and then head of Abbotsleigh Girls School, where she introduced sex education - and
cricket. Betty Archdale also became a TV and radio personality, well-known for her
witty and sensible approach to problems. In 1997 she was voted one of Australia's 100
Living Treasures and, in 1999, one of the first ten female honorary members of MCC.
Her mother was a leading suffragette, imprisoned in 1912, and Betty was said to have
collected stones for her to throw.
© John Wisden & Co