May Holman

Mary Alice Holman (18 July 1893 – 20 March 1939) was an Australian politician, the first woman in the Labor Party, and the second woman, after Edith Cowan, to become a parliamentarian.

May Holman
May Holman MLA (crop).jpg
Holman in the 1920s
Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for Forrest
In office
3 April 1925 – 20 March 1939
Preceded byJohn Holman
Succeeded byEdward Holman
Personal details
Mary Alice Holman

(1893-07-18)18 July 1893
Broken Hill, New South Wales
Died20 March 1939(1939-03-20) (aged 45)
Bunbury, Western Australia
Resting placeKarrakatta Cemetery
Political partyLabor Party
Spouse(s)Joseph Gardiner (1914–1920)
Holman, undated

Holman was born in the New South Wales mining town of Broken Hill. She was the daughter of John Holman, a politician. When she was aged two, her father and mother, Katherine Mary (née Row), moved the family to Western Australia.

Holman was married in 1914 to politician Joseph Gardiner, but the marriage was unconsummated and a divorce was finalised in 1920.[1]

On the death of her father, who had held the seat of Forrest in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly since December 1923, May Holman was nominated the Labor candidate and was elected unopposed on 3 April 1925, and held it until her death on the day of her fourth re-election.[2]

In 1930, the women's executive of her party, and the Women's Service Guilds, nominated Holman as a delegate to the League of Nations Assembly.[3]

Holman died as a result of a car crash[4][5] and was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery.

After Holman's death, her brother Edward Holman was elected to her old Parliamentary seat of Forrest.


  1. ^ "A Secret Marriage. Petition for divorce". The West Australian. 4 December 1919. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  2. ^ Watson, Judyth; Australian Labor Party. Western Australian Branch; Watson, Judyth (1994), We hold up half the sky : the voices of Western Australian ALP women in Parliament, Australian Labor party (W.A. Branch), ISBN 978-1-875317-23-3 – May Holman – biography and reproduction of a key parliamentary speech pp 13 -28
  3. ^ Holman, May; Watson, Judyth (1995), Remarks of an inexperienced traveller abroad, J. Watson, retrieved 2 April 2012 – 19 articles published in a newspaper of the Melbourne Herald Group and 5 letters written while substitute delegate to the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1930.
  4. ^ "MISS MAY HOLMAN, M.L.A. DEAD". The Barrier Miner (HOME ed.). Broken Hill, NSW. 21 March 1939. p. 1. Retrieved 2 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "The Late Miss May Holman". The Sunday Times. Perth. 26 March 1939. p. 13 Section: SPORTING SECTION. Retrieved 2 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.

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