Ground-breaking women honoured with portraits

10 May 2021

Unveiling of new portraits at Parliament House

The portraits of two ground-breaking women parliamentarians have been unveiled at Parliament House.

The new portraits are of Lady Millie Peacock, the first woman to be elected to the Victorian Parliament, and Pauline Toner, the first woman to be appointed as a Cabinet Minister in Victoria.

'These two women led the way at the Victorian Parliament, and it is only fitting that we honour them with portraits for our art collection,' said Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Colin Brooks.

'These portraits will help to ensure the achievements of these inspiring women are remembered and appreciated for a long time to come,' he said.

Lady Millie Peacock was elected to the Legislative Assembly in November 1933 and served in the Victorian Parliament until February 1935.

Portrait of Lady Millie Peacock unveiled by Legislative Council President Nazih Elasmar and Deputy President Wendy Lovell.

Pauline Toner was appointed as Victoria’s first female Cabinet Minister in April 1982, serving as the Minister for Community Welfare Services until March 1985.

Portrait of Pauline Toner unveiled by Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Maree Edwards and Madeline Toner, Pauline's daughter.

'With these two portraits we are taking a step forward to ensure Parliament’s art collection reflects the diversity of people who have played an important role in our state’s history,' said President of the Legislative Council Nazih Elasmar.

'When people visit Parliament House it is important that they get a complete picture of the many people who have helped to progress our state,' he said.

Artists Andrew Mezei and Raelene Sharp with the portraits they painted.

Lady Millie Peacock’s portrait is by Andrew Mezei, a Melbourne-based artist who has paintings in prominent collections, such as the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, the Geelong Gallery and the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale.

Pauline Toner’s portrait is by Raelene Sharp, who is an Archibald Prize Finalist, Archibald Packing Room Prize Winner and winner of The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize.