THE first woman elected to a WA road board, Nellie Fawdrey Tant, has had a park named in her honour.
Bayswater mayor Dan Bull first moved to name a park after Ms Tant back in 2019. She was elected to Bayswater’s predecessor the Belmont-Bayswater Road Board in 1921. The first woman to be on a road board and the second to be on a council, she was a key figure in the Women’s Service Guilds of WA which campaigned to win women the right to nominate.
The Strand Reserve was chosen as a potential green monument to Ms Tant and following a lengthy process “Nellie Tant Reserve” was officially proclaimed on March 8, International Women’s Day.
Cr Bull says: “The commemorative naming of the reserve is a wonderful way to celebrate such an important milestone for women in WA history.
“We consulted the community on the naming and liaised with both Ms Tant’s family and the Bayswater Historical Society to gather information and ensure it was an appropriate way of honouring Ms Tant’s significant political achievement.”
Landgate policy usually opposes naming places after a person for their public service, but given Ms Tant’s pioneering contribution gave it the green light.
Nellie Fawdrey Tant
Courtesy the Bayswater Historical Society
Nellie Tant was born Helen Fawdrey Hatton in
As a young woman she worked as a seamstress, and later married Richard Tant, a painter and decorator.
They had three surviving children, all daughters: Florence Edith May, Nellie Alberta Kathleen, and Doris Lorna Kathleen.
In 1913 the family, who were living in Richmond (now Kew Gardens), Surrey, England, immigrated to Australia, landing at Fremantle on the SS Armadale in that year.
The family eventually settled in Traylen Road, Bayswater.
Nellie Tant had many interests; the suffragette movement in England, the Spiritualist Church in Maylands, the St John Ambulance Brigade, the Women’s Service Guild, and was a feminist with strong political convictions in the area of women’s interests.
Nellie Tant had an enquiring turn of mind and innovations in any field were of great interest to her.
Ms Tant’s political and community interests took her into local government, when on April 9, 1921 she was elected to the West Ward of Bayswater Road Board.