Photo: Elizabeth Clapham. Image: State Library of Western Australia
Councillor Elizabeth Clapham was the first woman elected to Local Government in 1920 and served one term at the Town of Cottesloe from 1920–1922.
The amendment of the Municipal Corporations Act to remove the words ‘no female’ from the list of persons excluded from becoming municipal councillors allowed this to happen.
In 1926, Councillor Clapham also became the first women Inspector of Factories; she was a delegate to the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance Congress in Rome in 1923 and represented the Women’s Service Guild at a conference of the British
Commonwealth League in London in 1931.
Elizabeth returned to London after her husband’s death in 1926, after spending 20 active and important years in our state.
Councillor Clapham was the first woman elected to any tier of government, with Edith Cowan elected to state government, the year following, in 1921.
The WA branch of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) is hosting a special networking event in honour of Councillor Clapham on 20 March. To all women in local government, we congratulate you on this significant milestone and thank you for your outstanding service to your communities.
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