Electoral Divisions Named After Women

Updated: 17 July 2020

Name

State or territory

Name derivation

Aston

Victoria

Named in honour of Matilda 'Tilly' Ann Aston, 1873–1947. Aston was a blind writer and teacher who founded the Victorian Association of Braille Writers in 1894 and the Association for the Advancement of the Blind. Aston was also the head of the School for the Blind.

Chisholm

Victoria

Named in honour of Caroline Chisholm, 1808–77. Chisholm was known for her work in encouraging emigration to Australia, her social work in New South Wales and Victoria, particularly with immigrant girls, and the building of a series of shelter sheds along the routes to the diggings in the Victorian goldfields.

Cowan

Western Australia

Named in honour of Edith Dircksey Cowan OBE, 1861–1932. Cowan was the first woman elected to any Parliament in Australia, state or Commonwealth, when she was elected in 1921 as the Member for West Perth in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly.

Dunkley

Victoria

Named in honour of Louisa Margaret Dunkley, 1866–1927. Dunkley was a union leader and feminist who founded the Victorian Women's Post and Telegraph Association in 1900 and campaigned for equal pay for women.

Fairfax

Queensland

Named in honour of Ruth Beatrice Fairfax OBE, 1878–1948, a founder of the Country Women's Association and its first Queensland president.

Fowler

NSW

Named in honour of Elizabeth Lilian Maud Fowler MBE, 1887–1954. Fowler was the first woman mayor in Australia (1938–39). The division was so named to also honour the contribution of women to local government.

Gilmore

NSW

Named in honour of Dame Mary Jean Gilmore DBE, 1865–1962. Gilmore was a noted poet and prose writer.

Goldstein

Victoria

Named in honour of Vida Jane Goldstein, 1869–1949. Goldstein was a suffragist, feminist and invovled in social welfare. As a Senate candidate in 1903, Goldstein was one of the first women in the British Empire to be nominated for and to stand for election to a national parliament. Goldstein made a further four attempts to be elected to Federal parliament.

Longman

Queensland

Named in honour of Irene Maud Longman, 1877–1964, the first woman elected to the Queensland Parliament (1929–32) and at the time only the third woman elected to any Parliament in Australia. Mrs Longman was actively involved in issues relating to the family, women and mental health.

Mackellar

NSW

Named in honour of Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar OBE, 1885–1968. Mackellar was a poet and author who was best known for writing 'My Country'.

Macnamara

Victoria

Named in honour of Dame Annie Jean Macnamara DBE, 1899–1968. Macnamara was a medical researcher and doctor who discovered there was more than one type of the polio virus and worked extensively with children suffering from poliomyelitis, training doctors and physiotherapists in the management of the disease.

Mayo

South Australia

amed in honour of Dr Helen Mary Mayo OBE, 1878–1967. Mayo worked in the areas of maternal and child health and welfare in South Australia, was the first woman elected to an Australian University Council in 1914 and co-founded the Mothers' and Babies' Health Association in 1927.

Moncrieff

Queensland

Named in honour of Gladys Lillian Moncrieff, 1892–1976, light opera and musical comedy singer.

Rankin

Queensland

Named in honour of Dame Annabelle Jane Mary Rankin DBE, 1908–86, first Queensland woman elected to the Senate (1947–71) and the first Australian woman to hold a top-level diplomatic post as High Commissioner to New Zealand (1971–74).

Spence

South Australia

Named in honour of Catherine Helen Spence, 1825–1910. Spence was an advocate for female suffrage and electoral reform and was the first female political candidate in Australia when she stood (unsuccessfully) for a seat at the Federal Convention elections of 1897.

Tangney

Western Australia

Named in honour of Dame Dorothy Margaret Tangney DBE, 1907–85. As a Senator for Western Australia (1943–68), Tangney was the first woman member of the Senate.

Wright

Queensland

Named in honour of Judith Wright, 1915–2000, in recognition of her service and contributions to Australia as a poet, author and social and environmental activist. Ms Wright was founding president of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and a founding member of the Aboriginal Treaty Committee.

Note:

  1. This information is for electoral division names as at 17 July 2020.
  2. This table does not include electoral divisions named for a geographic location named after a women, such as Adelaide. 
  3. This table does not include electoral divisions named jointly for husband and wife, such as Lyons, or for a family, such as Durack.  

First election that electoral divisions named after women were contested at

  • Information is presented for Australia as a whole and for each state and territory.
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