Dame Annabelle Jane Mary Rankin

Dame Annabelle Jane Mary Rankin (1908-1986), a Liberal senator from Queensland (1947-71), was the first female Federal Opposition Whip (1947-49) and government Whip (1951-66). As minister for housing (1966-71) she was the first woman to administer a Federal department. This role gave her scope to implement practical social-welfare measures. She was Australian high commissioner to New Zealand in 1971-74. Courtesy Australian Dictionary of Biography


1 April 1947

Senate Opposition Whip

Dame Florence Cardell-Oliver is the first female Cabinet Minister in an Australian parliament (Western Australia), while Senator Annabelle Rankin (Liberal Party) becomes the Opposition Whip in the Senate. Two years later, Dame Enid Lyons becomes the first woman to hold a rank in the federal Cabinet.


Annabelle Rankin at Old Parliament House, Canberra. 1946.