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Emily Dobson

The Dobson family in their garden with tennis equipment, 1888 (AOT, PH30/1/9822)

Emily Dobson (née Lemprière, 1842–1934), philanthropist. Married to Premier Henry Dobson, she was a formidable person and one of the first publicly active Tasmanian women, interested in some women's rights but not others, notably suffrage. Described in her obituary as 'Hobart's Grand Old Lady', an epithet she deserved after working in the Tasmanian community for over forty years, she was involved with over twenty prominent philanthropic, child welfare or women's welfare organisations. She represented Tasmania both nationally and internationally, and was sent by the Deakin federal government as delegate to a Women's Suffrage Congress in Amsterdam. Emily Dobson was vocal in her desires to establish a co-operative settlement outside Hobart, a domestic training school for girls, a curfew bell for Hobart children and film censorship.

Further reading: R Jordan, 'Emily's empire', MA thesis, UT, 2004.

Renée Jordan