Susan Ingham

Writer, researcher & advocate.

This site is to support and promote the book, ‘Hold Your Course’, the story of how women entered the male world of sailing and where they are today.

About the Author

Susan Ingham is a writer and researcher involved in disparate areas from international art to local activism as well as sailing – these activities often undertaken at the same time. Having majored in Art History at Melbourne University, she set off overseas to see the art world and returned a few years later with an Englishman as a souvenir of her travels who she met and married in Italy. Back in Australia, they raised two sons and continued to adventure together for over 50 years.

A parallel thread in Susan’s life has been teaching art history to art students. She extended her knowledge of contemporary practice by accumulating further qualifications until finally undertaking a PhD in contemporary Indonesian art. This involved travelling to Indonesia over six years, interviewing artists and curators and building a picture of the Indonesian art world in the post Suharto era. Part of her thesis can be found online at

Age and injuries from a car accident caught up with her, and even sailing had to be curtailed. That’s when local activism drew her in the battle to mend and protect the environment, and the precious green spaces of Sydney’s suburbs which in comparison are so rare in other cities. Susan is a member of the Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society whose environmental aims extend beyond the local area.

portrait of author sue ingham with hold your course essay, lane cove history prize, 2020
Susan with Lane Cove History's prized essay, “Hold Your Course – The participation of Women in the lane Cove Sailing Clubs”, 2020

Woodford Bay, 1964

It was her husband who taught her to sail on Sydney Harbour and like all things, there’s a story in this too which is recounted in her book. Susan wrote:

I came to sailing in my late thirties because of a car accident that kept me in and out of a number of hospitals for a year. My birthday was coming up so my husband, Tim, asked me what I would like to celebrate.

“A boat,” I replied.

“Ha, ha, after the Rolls Royce,” he said.

“No, I’m serious. Sydney Harbour is so special and we always talked of sailing but although you can crew with friends, I have never learned to sail. The car accident has made me feel I should do these things now while I can.”

So we went to a club at the bottom of the Longueville peninsula, the Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club. They had these small fibreglass or marine ply hulls – they look all right, hey? Learning to sail in one of those could be fun and not too expensive – what could go wrong?” Oh yes?

Like the female sailors in Hold Your Course, Susan entered the male world of sailing and had a lot to learn about the hurdles but also the extreme pleasure of helming a hull through the water powered only by the wind.


  • PhD: 2008, University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts
    Thesis: Powerlines: Alternative art and infrastructure in Indonesia in the 1990s
  • M.A. Prelim: 1990, University of Sydney, Power Institute, Foundation for Art and Visual Culture
    Thesis: Art Commissions in New Parliament House
  • B.A. (Visual Arts): 1987, City Art Institute (now the University of New South Wales College of Fine Arts)
    Majors: painting, printmaking
  • Diploma of Education: 1965, University of Melbourne
  • B.A.: 1964, University of Melbourne

Published Essays

Other Articles

The author retains copyright for essays and written material on this site. The Copyright Act 1968 permits fair dealing for study, research, news reporting, criticism and review, and selected passages may be reproduced for such purposes, provided acknowledgement of the source is included. Images on the site are in low resolution and an accompanying citation will credit the artist. Images remain in the copyright of the artist and permission for their reproduction must be obtained from that artist, who may, on request, provide higher resolution images.