Opening of Dame Enid Lyons Room Australian Embassy, Washington DC

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Today I was honoured to open the Dame Enid Lyons Room at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.

Dame Enid was the first woman elected to the Australian House of Representatives and also the first woman to serve as a member of the Cabinet. She served as the member for Darwin (now the seat of Braddon) in Tasmania from 1943 until her retirement in 1951.

Over the course of her political career, Dame Enid made important contributions to improving the lives of women, including playing a role in the extension of child endowment payments and pension support, and enhanced access to health care.

On display adjacent to the room is a book written by Dame Enid in 1965, So We Take Comfort. Dame Enid’s grandson, Peter Lyons, donated this book to the Embassy.

Although Dame Enid’s family were unable to join the event, Mr Lyons provided the following message:

“When she visited Washington in 1935, my grandmother could never have dreamed that she would be remembered with such an honour 86 years later.

“To any young women and girls seeing this magnificent room, I hope you draw strength and inspiration from the life she led; the way she overcame many daunting obstacles and her vision of a society which was open, encouraging and fair to all.”

The Australian Embassy’s room naming project is part of a broader initiative across the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, honouring the achievements of women within Australia’s diplomatic service and the work and lives of women who have made significant contributions to our international relationships.

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