• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0291

Toner, Pauline

(1935 – 1989)
  • Born 16 March, 1935, Horsham Victoria Australia
  • Died 3 March, 1989, Melbourne Victoria Australia
  • Occupation Parliamentarian


Pauline Toner stood as a candidate for the Australian Labor Party in the Legislative Council Province of Templestowe at the Victorian state election, which was held on 20 March 1976, but was unsuccessful. She was elected Member of the Legislative Assembly at a by-election for Greensborough in 1977 and served until 1989. While in Parliament she was Minister for Community and Welfare Services (1982-1985) and a former Shadow Minister for Community and Welfare Services and Women’s Affairs.

Following her education at the Brigidine Convent Horsham, Toner obtained the subsequent qualifications TPTC, BA (Melb) and BEd (La Trobe). She held positions at the State College of Victoria (1974-1975), and SCV Hawthorn (1975-1977). Toner began the first woman Shire President of the Diamond Valley Council (1977-1978), where she was a Councillor from 1973 to 1979.

Married to Brian Toner on 2 January 1962 and the mother of five children (1s 4d) her recreations included: canoeing, bushwalking and chess. Also she was a director of the Victorian State Opera and a member of Amnesty International and the National Trust


Born: 16 March 1935 Horsham Vic. (daughter: W Hoare). Died: 3 March 1989.
Born in 1935, Pauline Toner was a lecturer in Education before entering the Victorian Parliament in 1977. After being Shadow Minister for Community Welfare Services and Women’s Affairs, she was Minister for Community Welfare Services between 1982 and 1985.
Her Ministry was characterised by a shift in emphasis from institutionalisation to community programs in the provision of welfare services and an increased focus on the rights of children. Among her achievements were the groundbreaking Adoption Act of 1984 which allowed all adult adoptees to receive information about their origins, the establishment of Statewide Community Corrections and foster care programs and funding for Neighbourhood houses.
Pauline resigned due to ill health in 1989, only a few days before her untimely death on 3 March.
(Source: HERstory: Australian Labor Women in Federal, State and Territory Parliaments 1925-1994, Margaret Reynolds)
(Information available: http://www.nwmc.org.au/history2/biogs/toner.htm accessed 12/02/02)



  • 2001 - 2001

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Published resources

  • Journal Article
    • Centenary of the Tailoresses' Association of Melbourne, Anon, 1983
  • Book
    • No ordinary lives: pioneering women in Australian politics, Jenkins, Cathy, 2008
  • Site Exhibition
  • Resource
  • Edited Book
    • Who's Who in Australia, 1988, Cadman, Kerith A, 1988

Related entries

  • Related Events
    • Pauline Toner Award
  • Related Organisations
    • Tailoresses' Association of Melbourne (1882 - 1907)
  • Related Concepts
    • Women in Politics: Australian Labor Party