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Cardell-Oliver, Annie Florence Gillies (1876 - 1965)

Dame, DBE

Born
11 May 1876
Stawell, Victoria, Australia
Died
12 January 1965
Occupation
Politician

Summary

Florence Cardell-Oliver became the first woman in Australia to be appointed to a cabinet or ministry when made Western Australian Minister for Health, Supply and Shipping in 1949.

Details

Born Annie Florence Wilson on 11 May 1876 at Stawell Victoria, to Johnston and Annie (née Thompson) Wilson, Florence (as she preferred to be known) married David Sykes Boydan and they travelled to England. Her husband died on 5 September 1902. Later she married Arthur Cardell-Oliver (15 December 1902), and they had two sons. The family migrated to Western Australia and Arthur Cardell-Oliver registered as a doctor in 1912.

During the First World War Florence Cardell-Oliver spoke at recruitment meetings for the armed services. Her husband, an honorary captain in the Army Medical Corps Reserve, joined the Australian Imperial Force, and served in England before requesting his appointment be terminated. He then set up a medical practice in South Melbourne and retired in 1924 due to ill health. The family travelled to England where he died on 15 September 1929.

Florence Cardell-Oliver returned to Western Australia and became vice-president of the State Branch of the Nationalist Party. Defeated in 1934 for the House of Representative seat of Fremantle she was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly as the member for Subiaco. On 1 April 1947 she was appointed honorary minister without portfolio and on 5 January 1948 honorary minister for supply and shipping. Florence Cardell-Oliver became the first woman in Australia to attain full cabinet rank when she was appointed minister for health on 7 October 1949. She remained in these positions until the defeat of government in 1953 and retired in 1956.

Florence Cardell-Oliver died on 12 January 1965 in Perth and she is buried beside her husband (Arthur) in St Columb Minor churchyard, Newquay, England.

She was appointed to the Order of the British Empire (Dames Commander) on 3 June 1951 for service to the state of Western Australia as Minister of Health.

Events

1936 - 1956
Member of the Legislative Assembly for Subiaco, Western Australia
1947 - 1953
Honourary Minister for Supply and Shipping, Western Australia
1949 - 1953
Honourary Minister of Health, Supply and Shipping, Western Australia
3 June 1951
Created Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)

Sources used to compile this entry: Black, David and Phillips, Harry, 'Making a Difference: Women in the West Australian Parliament 1921-1999', Parliament of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, 2000; Black, David, 'Cardell-Oliver, Dame Annie Florence Gillies (1876-1965)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A130406b.htm.

Related entries

Membership

Archival resources

Battye Library see J S Battye Library

  • Papers, 1936-1956 [manuscript], 1936 - 1956, ACC 1936A; Cardell-Oliver, Annie Florence Gillies (1876 - 1965); Battye Library see J S Battye Library. Details

JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia

  • Dame Florence Cardell-Oliver [photograph], 007365D; JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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