Statues to immortalise first women in federal parliament
Statues of Dame Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons have been unveiled today, to honour the legacy of two courageous and trailblazing women.
Both carved a legacy in politics and public service as the first Australian women to enter federal parliament.
Dorothy Tangney was Australia’s first woman senator and the first Labor woman in federal parliament.
Enid Lyons, who represented the United Australia Party, then its successor, the Liberal Party, was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first appointed to federal cabinet.
The portrayal of Dorothy Tangney and Enid Lyons alongside each other is intended to be reminiscent of the iconic photo of the pair entering Parliament House together for the first time on 24 September, 1943.
Dorothy Tangney and Enid Lyons are depicted walking on approach from King George Terrace to the front door of Old Parliament House.
The statues, located near the north-east corner of Old Parliament House, were unveiled by the Hon Kristy McBain MP, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, and Member for Eden Monaro.
The Museum of Australian Democracy (in Old Parliament House) has also launched a tour called ‘Two Daring Dames: Dorothy Tangney & Enid Lyons.’
Members of the community can hear the stories about these pioneering women and their many firsts while exploring Old Parliament House.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, and Member for Eden-Monaro, the Hon Kristy McBain MP:
“Dame Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons were trailblazers for women in politics and for standing up for women’s issues on a national level.
“They achieved this without political party support and in the midst of overwhelming negative coverage of female candidates in the media.
“They paved the way for hundreds of women with diverse voices and experience to pursue politics, and I’ve been so fortunate to follow their footsteps and deliver for women across my community.”
Quotes attributable to Lis Johnson, figurative sculptor:
“I have done lots and lots of statues of men, but there are not as many of women. Hopefully, we will be able to balance that imbalance soon. These full-scale sculptures of Dame Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons are the first of women in the Parliamentary Zone.
“This is an opportune time to put the spotlight on the two dames as high achieving women who did a lot of important work to improve education and public health. I think it is befitting that the sculptures of Dame Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons will be unveiled at a time when there are now many women making a mark in parliament.”