Dame Enid Lyons Honoured in the Parliamentary Zone

Media Release

29 May 2013

An interpretative panel honouring Dame Enid Lyons was jointly unveiled today by Mr Peter Lyons, son of Dame Enid Lyons and National Capital Authority (NCA) Chief Executive, Mr Gary Rake.

Dame Enid Lyons was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first woman appointed to Federal Cabinet.

When unveiling the sign, Mr Rake highlighted the contribution Dame Lyons made to politics and the public arena.

'Dame Enid Lyons was the most highly-decorated Australian woman of her generation. She was an outstanding public speaker and prolific writer.

'Dame Enid was elected to the House of Representatives in 1943, aged 46 and served, including as a member of Cabinet, until ill-health forced her retirement in 1951.'

'Today we unveil an interpretative sign explaining the contribution Dame Enid Lyons made to the progress of women's issues and the development of the nation.'

'Dame Enid Lyons Place, in the Parliamentary Zone, is named in her honour', he said.

Dame Enid Lyons was a trainee teacher when she married Joseph Lyons, who later became the tenth Prime Minister of Australia in 1932. They formed a strong personal and political partnership, raising a family of 12 children.

Mr Lyons said it is appropriate Dame Enid be recognised in the National Capital.

'My mother believed that the foundation of a nation's greatness is in the homes of its people,' Mr Lyons said.

'She had strong ideas on social justice and spent most of her public life trying to arouse women to a sense of their own value, as citizens', he said.

After leaving politics, Dame Enid retained her interest in women's issues. She also wrote regular columns for the Women's Weekly and the Melbourne Sun and was the author of three books. Between 1951 and 1962 she served as a Commissioner of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

The Dame Enid Lyons interpretative panel is one of a series of signs installed on National Land in Canberra. Other interpretative panels include Queen Elizabeth Terrace, Magna Carta Place, Federation Mall, John Dunmore Lang Place and Parkes Place East and West.

The 600 mm x 2100 mm interpretative panel is located prominently within Dame Enid Lyons Place adjacent to the National Library of Australia forecourt.