Lady Millie Peacock

Lady Peacock was the first woman member of Parliament in Victoria.

Honour Roll

Lady Peacock was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1933 at a by-election held as a result of the death of her husband. Born Millie Holden in 1870 in East Framlingham, Millie married Alexander Peacock in 1901.

Alexander Peacock was already a Member of Parliament and he represented Allandale for the next 44 years. During his parliamentary career, he was three times Premier of Victoria, six times Minister for Education and when he died he was the speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He received a knighthood in 1904. He was known as the 'father' of the Factories and Shops Act (Amendment) Bill that he introduced in 1895 to abolish sweated labor. He also inaugurated wages boards.

The Peacocks lived all of their married life in a plain weatherboard house that still stands in Creswick. Lady Peacock supported all her husband's political campaigns and earned the affection of many for her kindly disposition and winning ways. She made herself familiar with the people of her part of the country, their needs and problems and she was sometimes known as the 'Deputy Member' for her work.

Lady Peacock was the first president elected to the Crewsick branch of the Australian Red Cross Society in 1915, a position she held until 1941. After the death of Sir Alexander, she was elected without having addressed a single meeting.

Because she was in mourning when she entered parliament, Lady Peacock made her first and only speech in 1934. It was a controversial speech, dealing with the issue of the day, the Factories and Shops Bill, in particular that part of the Bill that dealt with out-workers, their children and persons employed by them. Lady Peacock did not contest a second election and is recorded as saying that Parliament was not a place for women.

In 1937 she switched on the power and light in Creswick in the presence of thousands of enthusiastic spectators. It was said of Lady Peacock that she had shared in the public life of Creswick for 50 years and that she was one of Victoria's distinguished daughters.