Dame remembered on Women’s Day


Camille Tangney with mementos of her relative Dame Dorothy, who served under six prime ministers and seven governor generals.
Camille Tangney with mementos of her relative Dame Dorothy, who served under six prime ministers and seven governor generals.

Mrs Tangney lived in Mt Lawley and was a frequent visitor to the home.

In the week leading up to International Women’s Day, Mrs Tangney recalled her relative Dorothy Tangney, the first WA woman elected to the Senate in 1943 and the only Labor woman in the Senate for the next 25 years.

She was also inducted into the first WA Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

Dame Dorothy, who lived near Dwellingup for some time as a child, was also the first woman to serve on a parliamentary committee.

She served under six prime ministers and seven governor generals.

Mrs Tangney said Dorothy left university at 17 and became a teacher in a then poor part of Fremantle.

“Dorothy had a huge passion for the underdog,’’ she said.

Among the many things she fought for was child endowment (one shilling a week for the first child), husbands who returned from the war with nothing and the mentally ill.

She was also the first WA-born woman appointed to a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the Australian Labor Party.

“Although she accepted the honour, friends snubbed her because of her involvement with the Labor Party,’’ Mrs Tangney said.

Dame Dorothy died in 1985.

International Women’s Day is on March 8 and will be celebrated in Mandurah at a breakfast at Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club.