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Hearnshaw, Marion Lilian (c. 1910 - 2000)

c. 1910
13 June 2000
Lindfield, New South Wales, Australia
Alternative Names
  • Johnson, Marion Lilian (maiden name)


Marion Hearnshaw was a wife and mother whose life was inextricably connected to politics and social action. She was a Liberal Party candidate in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly elections for Parramatta in 1962 and an Independent in the 1965 Eastwood elections.


Marion Hearnshaw was the daughter of a Methodist minister and married the Reverend Dan Oakes, a Methodist missionary in New Guinea who was lost on the Montevideo Maru, in 1942. In 1947 she married Eric Hearnshaw, (English-born 1893-1967), who was the Liberal member for Ryde and later Eastwood in the NSW Legislative Assembly. They had 6 children, 3 sons and 3 daughters.
Marion Hearnshaw and Lady Barwick (wife of the Liberal MHR for Parramatta 1958-64) frequently held morning teas in their respective homes for their husbands' constituents, though they maintained the guest list was non-political and non-sectarian.
With her husband, she visited every school in the Eastwood electorate annually and wrote a column in the local paper on mothers and children and their problems. She also regularly took small groups of women to Parliament House so they could see the parliamentary system in action. When she stood for the state seat of Parramatta in 1962, it was held by the ALP and she was pleased to carry the Liberal banner.

Eric Hearnshaw, who was Opposition Whip, lost the Liberal preselection in 1965 to J.A.Clough, who had previously been the MLA for Parramatta (1956-59) and in the 1965 election, Marion Hearnshaw ran as an independent against the endorsed Liberal. Her campaign stressed that she had been active in the public political life of the Eastwood Electorate for 18 years, without mentioning the infighting. She was particularly concerned with education, training and apprenticeships.

She died in June 2000 and left her body to the University of Sydney.

Sources used to compile this entry: Sydney Morning Herald 24 June 2000; The Australian Liberal January 1962; Biographical Register of the New South Wales Parliament 1901-1970; Ephemera on NSW State and local elections, Box 2, Mitchell Library collection, State Library of NSW, Sydney.

Annette Alafaci

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