WAIT graduate Freda Jacob was the first occupational therapist in WA to be made a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to people with disabilities. A lecture theatre on the Bentley campus is named after her.
Freda Jacob is one of the pioneers of occupational therapy in Western Australia. She was a member of the first Occupational Therapy School Board in 1960 (which assisted in the development of the first School of Occupational Therapy in WA) and she made a significant contribution to the establishment of the Registration Act for Occupational Therapists to ensure they were registered and appropriately qualified.
Jacob opened the first Department of Occupational Therapy at Princess Margaret Hospital in 1975 and became Head of the Occupational Therapy Department of Royal Perth Hospital in 1957.
On an international level, she was the first person outside the United States to sit for the American Registration Examination and was the first Western Australian member of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.
In 1978, Jacob founded the Independent Living Centre of Western Australia and in 1981 was the first occupational therapist in WA to be awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to people with a disability.
In 2016 she received Curtin University’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.
Freda Jacob is one of 14 Curtin history makers being profiled on a collection of limited edition coffee cups released as part of Curtin University’s 50 Years of Innovation celebrations. The cups will be available at most coffee shop outlets on the Bentley campus during August and October.