This month the premises of the Government of Western Australia at 189 Royal Street East Perth will be officially named the May Holman Building in honour of the Labor Party’s first female parliamentarian.
May Holman’s life was explored in Lekkie Hopkins’s 2015 biography, The Magnificent Life of Miss May Holman, published by Fremantle Press.
Throughout the 1930s, May Holman was a household name and an inspiration to the women of her generation. She made history in 1925 when, at age 31, she became Australia’s first female Labor parliamentarian, holding the seat of Forrest until her untimely death on the eve of the 1939 elections. A woman who fought tirelessly for the rights of those in her electorate, her accidental death received national coverage, with thousands of Western Australian mourners lining the streets to pay tribute. May Holman charted new territory for women, but the barriers she encountered and her methods of overcoming them still resonate today.
The Australian Labor Party announced a pre-election promise in 2016 that a public building would be named in honour of May Holman, and now, three years later, a naming dedication ceremony will be held at the start of September and the new name will come into use from then.