Thursday, 14 August 2014

First Australian Women Elected To Parliament

Anyone know who this woman is...................

No ok I will tell you, she is Edith Cowan she was the first women in Australia to be elected to parliament this happened in 1921 she was in office till 1924.

She was born Edith Brown and was from Geraldton in Western Australia' on the 2nd August 1861, she was born into an influential and respected family. At the age of seven after the death of her mother she was sent to a Perth boarding school run by the Cowan sisters whose brother James she would later marry.

When Edith was fifteen, her father shot and killed his second wife, and was subsequently hanged for the crime.

She was to become concerned with social issues and injustices in the legal system, especially with respect of women and children. In 1894 she helped found the Karrakatta club a group where women could educate themselves for the kind of life they wanted. In time she became the club's president. The Karrakatta Club was involved in the women's suffrage movement successfully gaining the vote for women in 1899.

In the new century she would turn her eye to welfare issues, she was really concerned with the health and welfare of disadvantaged groups such as childes and prostitutes. She would serve on numerous committees, she was largely responsible for the building of Perth's King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in 1916.

She helped form the Women's Service Guilds in 1909 and was co-founder of the Western Australia's National Council of Women and served as president from 1913-1921 then as vice-president till her death.

She was a Freemason, admitted to the Australian federation of Droit Humain .

It was because she felt that children should not be tried as adults that she founded the Children's Protection Society, the society had a major role in the subsequent introduction of the children's courts in 1915, she was appointed to the bench of the new court and continued in this position for 18 years.

She also was one of the first female Justice of the Peace. In 1920 she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire, (MBE).

In her final years she was an Australian delegate to the 1925 International Conference of Women held in the Untied States, she also helped found the Royal Western Australian Historical Society in 1926.

She passed away in 1932 and two years after her death the Edith Cowan Memorial Clock was unveiled at the entrance to Perth's Kings Park, this is believed to be the first civic monument to an Australian woman. There was a lot of opposition to the monument with many saying it was not appropriate form of memorial for a woman, and that she was not important enough to merit a monument in such a prominent location.

She has appeared on a Australian postage stamp in 1975, and in 1984 the federal Division of Cowan was created and and named after her and in January 1991 the Western Australian College of Advanced Education was renamed the Edith Cowan University.

She appears on the Australian $50 note which was first issued in October 1995.


Janie Junebug said...

I enjoyed the information about this interesting woman.


Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I am glad I found it interesting reading about her too

CWMartin said...

Very interesting! Amazing the strength you draw from growing up in a crappy situation.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Yes indeed there were./are some amazingly strong people around

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