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Members’ biographical register

(Annie) Florence Gillies Cardell-Oliver

Principal Honours
Dame Commander of British Empire (DBE) (1 June 1951)
Date: 11 May 1876
Place: Ararat, Victoria, Australia
Arrival in WA
Daughter of Johnson Wilson, storekeeper, and Annie Thompson
Marriage and Family
Married (1) 26 January 1895, Swanston St, Melbourne, Victoria to David Sykes Boyd (born 1872), wool buyer, son of Thomas and Sarah Anne Sykes
No children
Widowed 5 November 1902
Married (2) 15 December 1902, St Matthias’ Church (Church of England), Poplar, London, England to Arthur Cardell-Oliver (born Cardiff, Wales, 14 April 1876), medical practitioner, son of John and Elizabeth Tredwin Bevan
Children: two sons
Widowed 15 September 1929
Date: 12 January 1965
Place: Home of Peace, Subiaco, Western Australia
Cemetery: Buried in St Columb Minor churchyard, Cornwall, England
Church of England
Educated in Victoria and United Kingdom
Home duties
Nationalist, then Liberal and Country League
Liberal from 1945
Member and vice-President of Nationalist Party in 1930s
President, Women's branch Liberal and Country League after 1949
Date Elected
15 February 1936
Inaugural Speech
Cardell-Oliver, Florence (Annie) Gillies, Inaugural Speech.pdf
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by Annie Cardell-Oliver
Year Retired/Resigned
Parliamentary Service

  • MLA Subiaco 15 February 1936–7 April 1956

  • Hon Minister 1 April 1947–5 January 1948
  • Hon Minister for Supply and Shipping 5 January 1948–7 October 1949
  • Minister for Health, Supply and Shipping 7 October 1949–3 February 1953
  • Member Select Committee on the Betting Control Bill 1936
  • Member Select Committee on the Educational System of the State 1938

Historical Notes
  • Oldest person ever, at 70 years, to receive first appointment to a ministerial post in WA
  • First woman cabinet minister in Australia
  • In December 1941 was the first woman to be suspended from the Legislative Assembly for refusing to withdraw a remark ruled as unparliamentary
  • One of the longest serving women MPs in WA


  • Contested Fremantle (House of Representatives) 15 September 1934
During her life travelled in Russia, Baltic, Balkan States, Europe, America
While living in Glenferrie, Victoria, married at age of 18 years to wool buyer resident in Melbourne whom she accompanied to England
Circa 1902 worked with Salvation Army in East End of London where she married her second husband who was practising medicine at Hackney
Came to WA with her husband where he registered as a medical practitioner 6 March 1912 and practised in York (where second child was born) until 1914 and then at Albany before enlisting with the Australian Imperial Force 6 September 1916 (her husband was commissioned as Captain and allocated to AAMC for transport duty, served in United Kingdom, appointment terminated at his own request in Melbourne 8 August 1917)
During the war Florence was President Women's National Movement and active in Women's Service Guild, President Albany branch 1916 and later Perth branch
Travelled throughout Australian addressing meetings to stimulate fighting services
After war lived with her husband in Victoria (Stratford) until his retirement due to ill health in 1924 and then England until widowed September 1929 while living in St Columb, Cornwall (husband died in Tropical Diseases Hospital, St Pancras, London )
Returned to WA
Travelled to Germany and Russia 1933–1934, and again to Germany, Spain, Italy and Germany 1935–1936
Also women's delegate to International Alliance for Women's Suffrage in Turkey 1935, delegate to British Commonwealth League, London
Considered mainly responsible for inception of Free Milk and Nutritional Council
Member Victoria League, Royal Institute of Great Britain, Karrakatta and Perth Clubs
Represented Subiaco parish on Anglican Diocesan synod
President, Women Painters’ Society Western Australia and Western Australian Women’s Hockey Association
Published Empire University or Red Asiatic Domination 1934

The Oliver family was from Penzance in England
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume two 1930-2010, Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2011, p. 37.
Further Information
  • David Black, 'Cardell-Oliver, Dame Annie Florence Gillies (1876–1965)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 17 December 2015.
  • The London Gazette, 1 June 1951, supplement 39243, page 3082.
  • Milady, September 1949, p. 39.
  • D Popham, ed, Reflections: Profiles of 150 Women who helped make Western Australia’s History, Carroll’s, Perth, 1978.
  • Premier's Department (WA) File 56/51.
  • West Australian, 9 February 1936, 29 March 1947, 1 October 1949, 30 May 1959, 11 May 1963, 14 January 1965, 12 March 1977, 4 June 1981.
  • Who's Who in Australia, Herald and Weekly Times, Melbourne, Australia, 1950.

Chapter 7. Florence Cardell-Oliver Making a Difference.pdf