Councillor Mary Rogers

In 1920, Mary Rogers was the first woman to be elected to a Victorian Municipal Council.

Honour Roll

She was a Labor stalwart entering a solidly Labor council. Mary stood for pre-selection three times for Richmond Council before being selected and was subsequently elected at a by-election in 1920.

She was a widow and her late husband had also been a pioneer in the Labor movement in Richmond. She was active in union affairs and a keen member of the Labor Party. She was chief woman organiser of the Victorian branch, a member of its State Central Executive and a member of the Eight Hours Committee. Essentially, Mary was a Labor activist drawn temporarily into municipal affairs because of her concern for child health and clean milk.

Despite her impeccable credentials as a member of the local, civic establishment, Mary's entry into the Council was reported in a way which suggests some uneasiness on the part of her colleagues simply because she was a woman. According to a contemporary source, when Mary first took her seat at the Council table, her colleagues presented a well-groomed and well-brushed appearance, and one even wore a posy. But looking back, Mary remembered that "they didn't make a fuss over my being the first female councillor".

Mary is renowned as a pioneer in local government for women.