The Edith Dircksey Cowan Achievement Award

The Edith Dircksey Cowan Achievement Award Main Image

Edith Dircksey Cowan was born in Geraldton in 1861. In 1921 Edith was elected as the Member for West Perth and became the nation’s first female member of Parliament. Edith tirelessly championed for improved social justice for Women and Children and was a founding member of many causes we continue to support today. 

Her achievements were substantial and her view that education is key to growth, change and improvement is consistent with the views of the Western Australian Government. 

Almost 100 years to the day that Edith Cowan became the first woman elected to Parliament in WA in 1921, Lara Dalton has set the record as the first female elected member of parliament for the electorate of Geraldton. Lara is pleased to sponsor a new award for school students in Geraldton in recognition of Edith Cowan’s contribution to childhood welfare, education and regional health initiatives. 

Meet the 2022 EDCA Award recipients.

Meet the 2023 EDCA Award recipients.

The 2023 Edith Dircksey Cowan Achievement Award is now closed. The 2024 awards program will open in Term 3, 2024.


Open to any student enrolled in Primary or Secondary schools in the Geraldton electorate that elect to run an end-of-year award program. 

For all students aged Kindy to Year 13. 

This award program is open to all schools, both public and private. 


The student displays the values of Edith Cowan's life work; 

  • Inclusivity and encouragement of their peers 
  • A committed and consistent approach to learning 
  • Leadership in their community, both at school and extra-curricular activities 


Nominations will only be accepted from schools within the Geraldton electorate. 


Lunch with the inaugural Edith Dircksey Cowan Achievement Award recipients 


During Heritage Week 2023, recipients of the 2022 EDCA Award were invited to lunch at RT's Cafe and Gallery, as guests of Lara Dalton MLA and to meet with the founder of the Edith Dircksey Cowan Commemoration, Hilary Silbert.

Hilary first become interested in the life of Edith Cowan when she was appointed to the role of Events Manager for the newly formed Edith Cowan University in Perth. Hilary was responsible for the restoration of Edith’s headstone at Karrakatta Cemetery, introducing an annual lecture on her birthday and being involved with the first touring exhibition based on Edith’s life and contributions, “A Tough Nut to Crack.” She was also interviewed on the occasion of the launch of the fifty-dollar note featuring

The belief that Edith Cowan has been neglected in the history of this country and should be able to take her rightful place in history led to the creation of the Edith Dircksey Cowan Commemoration. The commitment to promoting Edith’s contribution continued on after leaving ECU.

It was a magnificent event, bridging the gap for award recipients by gaining a greater understanding of who Edith Cowan was, as the first woman parliamentarian and all that she achieved despite personal challenges.

Lara Dalton MLA and Hilary Silbert


Resources to learn more about Edith Dircksey Cowan

Edith Cowan - Wikipedia 

BTN – Womens History Month 

Edith Cowan 100 years of service – WA Parliament 

“Edith Cowan, Australia's first woman MP, barely recognised 100 years after making history” - ABC Wheatbelt and Midwest article 

Edith Dircksey Cowan, MLA, Inaugural Speech Thursday 28 July 1921 – WA Parliament Hansard extract