Local MP Lara Dalton honours the work of Geraldton’s own Edith Cowan with new school award

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
Lara Dalton MLA pictured at the Edith Cowan exhibition earlier this year.
Camera IconLara Dalton MLA pictured at the Edith Cowan exhibition earlier this year. Credit: Lachlan Allen

Geraldton’s first female MP Lara Dalton has launched a new award for local school students named after Edith Cowan, recognising the political trailblazer’s significant contribution to the region.

The Edith Dircksey Cowan Achievement Award is open to any primary or secondary school student in Geraldton from kindergarten to Year 12.

Students must display the values of Cowan’s life work including, inclusivity and encouragement of their peers, a genuine attempt to improve their academic or VET results year after year and leadership in their community, both at school and extra-curricular activities.

Ms Dalton said she wanted to find an appropriate way to honour Cowan’s work.

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“It was just an opportunity, I thought to be able to bring Edith Cowan to the forefront of our young students mind because she was a bit of a trailblazer and she came from this area.”

Geraldton-born Cowan was elected as the Member for West Perth and became the nation’s first female member of Parliament.

A century later, Ms Dalton became the first woman elected as the Member for Geraldton.

“It seemed to be quite fitting, Edith Cowan was such an amazing person coming from this region, and she had a lot to do with education, children’s rights and women’s rights.”

Ms Dalton said she hopes the award will inspire both boys and girls that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.

While there have been talks of commemorating Cowan with a statue in Geraldton, Ms Dalton said the award gesture was more meaningful.

“I actually thought that this might be a bit more meaningful because it’s ongoing, honouring her memory and legacy, raising it in education and getting young people to know more about her,” she said.

The first recipient of the Edith Dircksey Cowan Achievement Award award will be decided next week.

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