Joseph Lyons has so far been the only Tasmanian-born Prime Minister, serving a seven year term in the top job. For anyone interested in this chapter of Australian political history, the north west coast offers two complementary heritage attractions.

Devonport Tasmania - Home Hill

Home Hill: former residence, Enid and Joseph Lyons

Home Hill: Devonport

In 1916 Joseph and Enid Lyons built a lovely timber house in Devonport for their soon-to-be blossoming family. Since Dame Enid’s death in 1981, the family home has been maintained by the National Trust and provides a sneak peek into the life of the prominent Australian political family.

Home Hill is located at 77 Middle Road, Devonport and is open to the public at set times.

Joseph Lyons - Home Hill

Home Hill: Lyons family home, Devonport Tasmania

Joseph Lyons Cottage: Stanley

The 19th Century settlers cottage called home by a young Joseph Lyons has been restored, and now contains antiques, photographs and family memorabilia.

Lyons Cottage is located at 14 Alexander Street, Stanley and is open to the public at set times.

Things to Do in Stanley - Joseph Lyons Cottage

Joseph Lyons Cottage, Stanley (photo by Dan Fellow)

Joseph Lyons

Joseph Lyons was born 15 September 1879 to Irish immigrant parents Michael and Ellen. He, along with his parents and seven siblings, lived in a humble cottage in Stanley. Joe attended school at both Ulverstone and Stanley and went on to become a school teacher.

Joseph married Enid Muriel Burnell in 1915 and between them they had twelve children. That is another remarkable fact in itself. Imagine the time constraints placed on their family with Dad’s political commitments. Not only was Lyons leading a minority ALP government, as Premier he also managed the Treasury and Railways portfolios.

One of the remarkable political feats of “Honest Joe” was his path to the federal leadership. After spending almost seven years as state opposition leader from 1916, Lyons became Premier of Tasmania on 25 October 1923. During that time however (in 1919) Lyons was an unsuccessful ALP candidate for a federal seat at a general election.

After losing power in the Tasmanian government in 1928, Joseph Lyons eventually did make the move to Canberra. Then he resigned his post as a federal minister in 1931, only to be elected as leader of the new United Australia Party. Nine months later he was elected Prime Minister!

Joseph Lyons - Statues in Devonport

Busts: Joseph Lyons and wife Enid Lyons, Devonport

Dame Enid Lyons

In 1939, Joseph Lyons died of a heart attack while serving as Australian Prime Minister. Four years later, at the 1943 federal general election, Enid Lyons became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives, winning the Tasmanian seat of Darwin. She later became the first female in federal Cabinet. She resigned in 1951 citing ill health, after three successful election campaigns.

Also a former teacher, Enid Lyons was a champion for the rights of women, children and equality between genders. Surviving her husband by almost twice as many years as their marriage, Dame Enid was clearly a special woman. Following her retirement from politics, she wrote books and newspaper articles; and served on several boards. Her picture even appeared on a postage stamp.

Further Reading

This article contains just a little information gleaned locally. We thank the volunteers of National Trust Tasmania for their assistance. See Home Hill and Lyons Cottage Historic Site specifically.

To add to the story, we’ll add some links to relevant and public social media posts. There’s quite a lot of photos and content freely available online, so we’ll come back to this article occasionally and rotate the material.

You can go straight to the original posts below to interact with the owners of the conversations and opinions we’ve shared. You may even like to join their Facebook pages and continue receiving updates.

For photos and more information about Joseph Lyons and Enid Lyons visit the website: National Archives of Australia.

And as suggested by Alex Johnson: excellent information about former Australian Prime Minister Joseph Lyons online.

We are looking forward to this years Annual Joseph and Enid Lyons Lecture which is to be held in the Parliamentary…

Posted by Home Hill, Devonport on Wednesday, March 20, 2019

 

Posted by National Trust of Tasmania on Monday, March 23, 2015

 

📜 On this day, 25th March 1936, Prime Minister Joseph Lyons opens the world’s longest submarine telephone and telegraph…

Posted by Remembering the Past Australia on Sunday, March 24, 2019

 

Did you know that Joseph Lyons, Australia's 10th Prime Minister was a keen fisherman? Dame Enid Lyons wrote in her…

Posted by Bass Strait Maritime Centre on Tuesday, October 16, 2018

 

 

Today we celebrate Joe’s birthday, born this day in 1879. 138 years ago! Joseph Aloysius Lyons was number 4 of 8…

Posted by Joe Lyons Cottage on Friday, September 15, 2017

 

Stanley Heritage Walk No 3 JO LYONS COTTAGEThis Cottage was the birthplace and childhood home ofJoseph Lyons, a…

Posted by Stanley Heritage Walk on Thursday, January 4, 2018

 

If a 35-year-old politician married a 17-year-old girl today, it'd spark a scandal. When Enid Burrell married Tasmania's…

Posted by Australian Vintage on Monday, December 14, 2015

 

Portrait of Dame Enid Lyons, Politician, 1950. NAA: SP1011/1, 3062. Enid Lyons (1897–1981) led the way for women in…

Posted by National Archives of Australia on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

 

Happy Mother's Day! Dame Enid Lyons (centre), pictured here in 1950, was the first female member of the House of…

Posted by Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House on Saturday, May 12, 2018

On International Women's Day, we pay tribute to Tasmania's own Dame Enid Lyons (1897 – 1981), who smashed through the…

Posted by Tasmanian Liberals on Wednesday, March 7, 2018