Millicent Preston-Stanley

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Millicent Preston-Stanley (9 September 1883 - 23 June 1955) was an Australian feminist, politician and the first female member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and in 1925 the second woman to enter government in Australia.1

Preston-Stanley was born in Sydney. She was actively involved in women's groups such as the Women's Liberal League and served as the president of the Feminist Club from 1919 to 1934 and from 1952 until her death in 1955.[1][2]

In 1925 Preston-Stanley became the first female member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing the Eastern Suburbs as a member of the Nationalist Party, one of the historic predecessor parties to today's Liberal Party. After a failed bid in the 1921 election she persevered and picked the seat up in 1925.[3]

In parliament she campaigned on the issues of women's mortality in childbirth, child welfare, institutional care for the mentally ill, and custody rights in divorce.[4]

She personally took up the cause of actress Emélie Polini, who failed to regain custody of her daughter Patricia when she returned to her native England. Though her private member's bill on equal custody rights failed she continued the campaign. She wrote a play Whose Child? based on this case.[5]

She left parliament in 1927 after an electoral redistribution of the newly created seat of Bondi saw her defeated at the polls.[6]

Preston-Stanley married Crawford Vaughan, former Premier of South Australia, in 1934. She died in the Sydney suburb of Randwick.


1 Edith Cowan entered parliament in 1921; May Holman eentered parliament two months before Millicent Preston-Stanley, but on the Opposition benches.


  1. ^ "1919 to 1929 - The Twenties". Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  2. ^ Radi, Heather. "Preston Stanley, Millicent Fanny (1883 - 1955)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  3. ^ "Miss Millicent Preston-Stanley (1883 - 1955)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  4. ^ Parliamentary Education and Community Relations and Parliamentary Archives 6/99
  5. ^ "Music and the Theatre". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 19 November 1932. p. 5. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Parliament of New south wales, History Bulletin 6, women in the New South Wales Parliament
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Charles Oakes
Member for Eastern Suburbs
1925 – 1927
With: Foster, Jaques, Alldis, O'Halloran
District abolished