International Women's Day 2019
As part of International Women's Day last year, I launched a petition calling on Brisbane City Council to rename Barrack Road Park in Cannon Hill to Irene Longman Reserve; in recognition of Queensland's first female parliamentarian.
I'm pleased to advise that exactly one year later, on International Women's Day 2019, the park was officially renamed in her honour.
Irene was an influential voice for the rights of women and children throughout her life and held positions on numerous Associations benefiting the wider Queensland community until her passing in 1964.
Now all park visitors will be reminded of the considerable contributions Irene made to the people of Brisbane and Queensland.
Official park renaming
On 8 March 2019 (International Women's Day), I met with representatives from Cannon Hill Anglican College (CHAC) to unveil the renaming of Barrack Road Park to Irene Longman Reserve.
These sports fields are currently utilised by CHAC students from Irene’s former electorate of Bulimba.
Irene Longman was one of the first trained kindergarten teachers to work in the State of Queensland, and had a long career in early childhood education.
Though the Federal division of Longman is named after Irene, I launched the petition last year to rename the reserve in recognition of Irene’s achievements in the local area.
Whilst it is important to press for progress for gender parity, it is equally important that we honour those women who have fought for equality throughout history.
In 1929, Irene became Queensland’s first female parliamentarian, winning the seat of Bulimba for the Country and Progressive National Party, which would later become the LNP – Liberal National Party.
Although she was an elected member for only one term, Irene was one of Queensland’s most influential voices for the rights of women and children in 20th century Australian politics.
She was instrumental in securing the first female police in Queensland, and in implementing a separate, safe venue for Children’s Court hearings.
After her time in parliament, Irene continued to contribute to the social welfare of her constituents by holding positions on numerous Associations benefitting the wider Queensland community. Irene passed away on 29 July 1964, with no woman succeeding to follow her into State parliament during her lifetime.