HerStory

Edith Dircksey COWAN

Also known as: née Brown

Born: 1861

Died: 1932

Special Achievements:

An early pioneer for women and children's rights, she became the first woman member of any Australian Parliament; when aged 60, she won the seat of West Perth, taking her place in the Western Australian Parliament's Legislative Assembly in 1921. Today she is the female face on Australia's $50 note.

Additional Information:

1921 - First woman to be elected into an Australian Parliament - WA Legislative Assembly.
1915 - One of first women Justices for the Western Australia's Children's Court.
1920 - Awarded OBE for services to Red Cross, the Soldiers' Welcome Committee, The Soldiers' Institute, Voluntary Aid Society and for Rights of Returned Soldiers.
Foundation Member of the Children's Protection Society.


Resources

  • Image - Edith Dircksey Cowan

    Photographer: unknown

    Battye Library, 1364P


  • References

    Nugent, Maria.  (2002).  Women’s Employment and Professionalism in Australia:  Histories, Themes and Places.  Canberra, ACT:  Australia Heritage Commission, p. 84.
    PARLIAMENT BUILDING
    “Associated with Edith Cowan (first woman member of State Assembly); May Holman (first woman Labor member of the Legislative Assembly; Florence Cardell-Oliver (first woman cabinet minister in the State Assembly); and Carmen Lawrence (the first women [sic] premier.”

    Nugent, Maria.  (2002).  Women’s Employment and Professionalism in Australia:  Histories, Themes and Places.  Canberra, ACT:  Australia Heritage Commission, p. 84.
    EDITH COWAN UNIVERSITY
    “Named after Edith Cowan, the first woman member of a State Assembly.”

    Nugent, Maria.  (2002).  Women’s Employment and Professionalism in Australia:  Histories, Themes and Places.  Canberra, ACT:  Australia Heritage Commission, p. 84.EDI
    TH COWAN MEMORIAL CLOCK
    “A memorial to Edith Cowan, the first woman member of a State Assembly.  The memorial acknowledges her contribution to the struggle for women to have a place and voice in public political life.”

    Hope, Deborah.  A date with our forgotten heroines.  newspaper unknown.  January 10, 1984:7.