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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Phyllis Benjamin

Significant Tasmanian Women icon

(1907-1996)
Member of the Legislative Council 1952-1976

Phyllis BenjaminPhyllis Benjamin was born August 30th 1907 in Mosman, NSW.

She became MLC (ALP) for Hobart Tasmania 1952-1976 becoming the first woman in Australia to lead an Upper House (1968-1969), she was also Deputy Leader (1956-1968), (1972-1976).

She was the longest serving woman of any State Parliament in Australia.

Her interest in social issues of the day included transport, housing, the investigation of consumer complaints and meeting the needs of pensioners and the handicapped

She was able to address these issues through her involvement in many organisations at a State and Federal level:

  • Voluntary Aid Detachment and Red Cross (1939-1945)
  • Member Tasmanian Labor Party Executive (1950-1954)
  • Tasmanian President Federal Association of Australian Housewives (1952-1962)
  • Federal President Federal Association Australian Housewives (1952-1953 and 1967-1968)
  • Past President National Council of Women
  • Past President of the Hobart Orchestral Association
  • Chairperson of the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal

For many years she took an active interest in:

  • The Flying Angels Club which was attached to the Missions for Seamen
  • The Repertory Society
  • The Arts Council
  • The Aged Pensioners Association
  • The Business & Professional Women’s Club

She was Convenor of Laws for the National Council of Women, giving reports on what happened in the field of law-making which was of special interest to women.

References:

Legge, J.S. (Ed), Who’s Who in Australia, Melbourne: Herald & Weekly Times Ltd., 1974

Women of Achievement, Saluting the Work of Tasmanian Women in the Service of the Community, Mercury, 30 September.1970, p. 22

Mercury, 23 May 1968 p. 5

Tasmaniana Collection, State Library of Tasmania

Links:

The Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women 2005

Tasmanian Parliament

Photograph reproduced with permission from Tasmanian House of Assembly.

 

 

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