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Enid Lyons

Enid Lyons

Birth and Nationality

Dame Enid Muriel Lyons was born on July 9, 1897 at Duck River, Tasmania, Australia. She was the second child of William and Eliza Burnell. When Enid was still little, her father had to be away for a long time to work in the timber mills. So eventually, the couple and their four children had to transfer to Cooee, where her mother opened a post office and a store.


Enid’s parents enrolled her at Burnie State School. Later, together with her older sister, she pursued higher education at the Training College in Hobart. Enid Lyons became a teacher by profession and made her first stint as junior teacher at the Burnie State School.

Spouse and Children

While she was practicing her profession as a teacher, she chanced upon Joseph Aloysius Lyons, State treasurer and minister for education, whom her mother introduced to her two years ago when she was still a student. The second meeting led to romance and eventually, marriage. Joseph was 35 and Enid was only 17 when they got married. The couple were blessed with twelve children.


In 1936, Enid held the position as Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire. When her husband, then Australian Prime Minister, died in 1939, Enid chose to return to her hometown Tasmania. Enid was not a newcomer in politics, having influenced by her mother who was labor activist in Tasmania, and wife to Joseph Aloysius Lyons who had a strong political career. She run in the 1943 elections, and became the first woman to be in the Australian House of Representatives. Additionally, she was the first woman to be appointed in the federal cabinet.

Awards, Achievements, and Honors

1936: She was named a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in the Coronation Honours
1943: First woman to be in the Australian House of Representatives and the federal cabinet
1949: Appointed as Vice President of the Executive Council
1980: She was named a Dame of the Order of Australia on Australia Day (there were only two women to achieve this honor in Australia)
On September 2, 1981, Enid died at Ulverstone, Tasmania. After the state funeral, she was laid to rest at the Mersey Vale lawn cemetery where her husband was also buried.

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Immigration Info

Australian History

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