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Interpreting Home Hill house museum and the legacy of Joseph and Enid Lyons: Challenges and educational opportunities


Brett, P, Interpreting Home Hill house museum and the legacy of Joseph and Enid Lyons: Challenges and educational opportunities, reCollections, 10, (2) pp. 1-22. ISSN 1833-4946 (2015) [Refereed Article]

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Homes can evoke powerful feelings of emotional attachment. Home Hill, the Tasmanian family home of Joseph Lyons, Australian prime minister from 1932 to 1939, and Dame Enid Lyons, the first woman to be elected to the Australian Federal House of Representatives (September 1943) and first female cabinet minister (1949), was sometimes described in lyrical terms by the political power couple. They chose the house design from builders’ plans and built the home in 1916 on the site of an orchard that Joseph purchased in Enid’s name and gave her as an engagement present in advance of their April 1915 marriage. To them it became a place of rest and renewal, for ‘two people never free during their lives together from the problems and anxieties of public office; never wholly free from the burden of immense responsibility’.[1] For Enid, the family residence came to possess quasimystical qualities – she depicted Home Hill as ‘Scarlet O’Hara’s "Tara" to me’ and, during a fiveyear hiatus period living away from the property when the family moved to Hobart, talked about it to her children ‘as though it were Paradise itself’.[2] Joseph echoed his wife, writing to her on 6 January 1932, the day on which he was sworn in as prime minister: ‘It has been a great day for me but I would be happier on the hill with you and all the children.’ In a poignant letter penned in early 1939, Joseph noted that he was ‘always longing for the time when, if God spares us, we can be together in our beautiful home, forgetting all the problems of politics’.[3] Sadly he was not spared, dying suddenly of a heart attack in April 1939 at the age of 59. Enid remained in the family home until her death in 1981.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:History education; Museums; Teacher education
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Humanities and social sciences curriculum and pedagogy (excl. economics, business and management)
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Pedagogy
UTAS Author:Brett, P (Dr Peter Brett)
ID Code:102987
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2015-09-15
Last Modified:2016-04-01

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