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Awarded for service to Government
Entered on roll: 2005
Dorothy Edwards grew up in Deloraine, where her father was the Council Clerk. She was educated at Launceston High School, the University of Tasmania and the London School of Economics, acquiring a Masters of Arts. Dorothy taught at Launceston High School for many years. She married and had two sons.
Dorothy Edwards joined the National Council of Women (NCW) as Secretary and was active in the campaign to force the Launceston City Council to amend the Corporations Act to allow women to stand for election as aldermen. Dorothy had a long-standing interest in local government given her father’s career, and her own experience, as a Council Clerk. The Corporations Act was amended in 1945 and in December 1949 Dorothy became the first woman not only to seek election for the Launceston City Council, but also to be elected. In a field of seven candidates, Dorothy finished second in the poll.
Dorothy served as an Alderman for 15 years and was Mayor from December 1955 to December 1957. She counted among her achievements the building of the City Baths at Windmill Hill, flood prevention measures and the opening of a by-products plant for the Killafaddy Abattoirs.
Dorothy continued to be active in civic life after her retirement from Council. She was a member of the ABC Board (1962-1975); the State Library Board (1953-78); the Decimal Currency Committee (1959-60); the Queen Victoria Hospital Board (1958); the Tasmanian Orchestra Advisory Committee (1953-54); and Chairman of the Interim Board of the Launceston General Hospital (1971-72).
Dorothy’s contribution to the National Council of Women was significant at both the local and international level, serving as Vice-Treasurer (1963-70) and Vice President (1963-79) of the International Council of Women. Dorothy was Life Vice President of the National Council of Women Australia. She was a member of the Women Graduate’s Association and the Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Dorothy was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1958 and a Commander (Civil) in 1979. She was admitted as an Honorary Freeman of the City of Launceston in recognition and acknowledgment of her distinguished service to Tasmania through her long association with local government, community and cultural organisations.