Doris Blackburn
Women in Federal Parliament

Doris Blackburn

Member for Bourke (Vic.)

IND LAB, 1946–1949

Doris Blackburn was an Independent Labor member for Bourke (Vic.) between 1946 and 1949 and the first Victorian female member of the House of Representatives. In Parliament, Blackburn took a strong interest in housing, employment conditions, Aboriginal welfare, and social services, especially pensions. Blackburn unsuccessfully opposed the establishment of the Woomera rocket range in Central Australia, concerned not only for the development of weapons in peacetime, but also for the welfare of the Aboriginal people and the desecration of their tribal lands. She also objected to what she perceived to be attempts by the government to restrict the expression of free speech on this and other defence projects.

After leaving Parliament, Blackburn co-founded the Aborigines Advancement League and the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement.

Doris Blackburn.

Image courtesy of The Age, Melbourne.