Colleen Woolley (née Schwerdt) is a retired Senior Sergeant of the Victoria Police who spent nineteen years researching Edition 1, mostly as a hobby. Of the original thirty policewomen, eight were still alive pre-1997 and Colleen interviewed seven of them. Several of her articles were published in police publications both in Australia and overseas.
Her quest started in 1978 when she was asked to deliver a lecture on the work of policewomen in Victoria and found there was almost no information available about their history. Certainly, no-one could name Victoria’s first policewoman. Colleen had met Australia’s first policewoman, Lillian May Armfield, when she was a member of the NSW police service from 1969–1972 and knew what should have been available. This book is the result.
Colleen served as a Woman Police Auxiliary in the South Australian Police Force from 1965 to 1969.
In the early 1980s, Colleen was the sole Police Association delegate representing all policewomen in Victoria, regardless of where they were stationed, and was involved in many of the changes that occurred as a result of the implementation of the Equal Opportunity Act of 1979.
After retiring in December 1992, Colleen served on the Committee of the Retired Police Association (RPA) of Victoria from 1993 and became its first female Secretary in 1996, serving in that and other capacities until 2004.
In late 1993, Colleen was a founding Committee member of the Past and Present Women Police Association of Victoria and served in various capacities until late 1998.
Colleen became a Justice of the Peace for Victoria in 1999 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices in 2016.
In 2004, Colleen was awarded Life Membership of the RPA and an Order of Australia Medal.
Colleen wrote an entry on Madge Irene Connor in the 2005 Australian Dictionary of Biography Supplement 1580–1980.