- 13 Janurary 1858
Islington, London, England
- 30 August 1952
Ivanhoe, Victoria, Australia
- Community worker and Women's rights activist
- Alternative Names
- Hopkins, Cecilia (maiden name, 13 January 1858 - 12 February 1885)
Cecilia Downing was a leading figure in the Victorian women's movement in the early twentieth century, spreading her activities and influence over an enormous range of organisations. The daughter of Isaac and Mary (née Morgan) Hopkins, Downing was born in London and came to Australia in 1858. She obtained her Teaching Certificate from the Training Institution in Carlton and taught at Portarlington before marrying John Downing in 1885. The couple returned to Melbourne in 1901. Although she had seven children, Cecilia became heavily involved in women's groups and welfare work. She was one of Victoria's first child probation officers (1907) and was an officer bearer with both the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Australian Women's National League. From the 1920s, she devoted her energies to the Housewives Association (having become one of its earliest members in 1917) and served as its federal president from 1940-45 and Victorian president from 1938 until her death in 1952. On 8 June 1950 Cecilia Downing was appointed a Member of the British Empire for social welfare services in Victoria.