Dame Enid Muriel Lyons (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Lyons became the first woman to sit in the Australian House of Representatives (1943-1951) and the first woman to become a federal cabinet minister (1949-1951).
Dame Enid Muriel Lyons was born on July 9, 1897, in Duck River (now Smithton), in northern Tasmania. Her mother, née Eliza Taggett, was born in South Australia of Cornish parents; her father, William Charles Burnell, born in Devonshire, England, and an assisted immigrant, worked his way up from sawyer to mill manager. When Enid was seven, the family moved to Cooee and lived in a house with a general store attached, a means of supplementing their income. She had two sisters, Nellie and Annie, and a younger brother, Bertram. The three girls attended school at Burnie. At age fourteen, Enid followed Nellie to the Teachers’ Training College in the capital, Hobart.
Teaching, however, was not to be Enid’s vocation. On a visit to the state parliament with her mother and Nellie, she charmed one of the Labor members, Joseph A. Lyons, and soon a correspondence began between the two that continued throughout his lifetime. By the time she was seventeen, he was treasurer and minister for education, as well as being her fiancé. Apart from age (her father wanted her to wait until she was twenty), the most serious obstacle to marriage was religion. Enid was reared in the Methodist tradition: She taught Sunday school, sang in the...
(The entire section is 1954 words.)
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