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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Florence Cardell-Oliver

n.d.
Broothorn Studios

gelatin silver photograph on paper laid on photography studio backing board (mount: 30.4 cm x 35.4 cm, image/sheet: 15.0 cm x 19.2 cm)

Dame Annie Florence Cardell-Oliver DBE (1876–1965), politician, was the first woman cabinet minister in Australia and, at 70, the oldest person in Western Australia to attain full cabinet rank. Cardell-Oliver grew up in Melbourne before moving to England with her first husband. After he died, she and her second husband moved to Western Australia. Cardell-Oliver became president of the Western Australian Nationalist Women's Movement and the Albany branch of the Women's Service Guilds. In 1929 she was vice-president of the WA branch of the Nationalist Party, and in 1934 published Empire Unity or Red Asiatic Domination? She served in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly as the Nationalist member for Subiaco from 1936. Appointed an honorary minister with no portfolio in the McLarty-Watts Liberal-Country Party government in 1947, early the next year she became honorary minister for supply and shipping. As minister for health from 1949 to 1953, she introduced a free-milk scheme for schoolchildren in Western Australia and was a pioneer in the fight against tuberculosis by legislating for compulsory chest x-rays. She retired in 1956, aged 80.

This glamorous photograph captures Cardell-Oliver with an expression of integrity and resolve, wearing one of the lavishly trimmed hats she favoured. It was taken at Broothorn Studios in Melbourne, whose scores of well-known sitters included Nellie Melba, Walter Burley Griffin and Sidney Myer.

Gift of Chris Nielsen 2016

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Subject professions

Government and leadership

Donated by

Chris Nielsen (1 portrait)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency