Everyone’s Got a Story | Remembering Edith Cowan 100-years on
Next Friday will mark 100-years since the first female was elected to Australian parliament.
Edith Dircksey Cowan lived a remarkable life, but how much do you actually know about the woman who appears on the Australian $50 note?
Founder of the Edith Dircksey Cowan Commemoration , Hilary Silbert, reflected on her legacy with 6PR’s Steve Mills on Everyone’s Got a Story ahead of commemorations next week.
“She had an amazing knowledge and she was very well read,” she said.
Cowan suffered a traumatic childhood, but learnt to overcome adversity from a young age.
Her mother died during childbirth in 1868 when Edith was only seven, and her father was convicted of murder, after he shot his new wife in a “drunken rage”.
“Edith then not only had a mother who died when she was seven, but a father who was hung when she was 15.”
She married John Cowan when she was 18 and was a passionate advocate for women’s rights.
“She fought for woman officers in the court … she became one of the first woman JPs … she fought very hard for women to have proper maternity care trained midwives.”
At the age of 59 she became the first woman to be elected to parliament, as a member of the nationalist party.
Next week a number of commemorations will be held in her honour, including displays at the State Library, and school assemblies.
Click play to hear more on Millsy at Midday.
(Photo: Getty Images.)