A passionate activist for women, Elizabeth (Bessie) Frewin was one of the earliest women candidates for all levels of government. She was an ALP candidate in the House of Representatives for Warringah in 1934 and 1940 and for the North Sydney Council in 1938, 1941 and 1948. Bessie was also a Lang Labor candidate in the 1947 elections to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for Bondi.
Bessie Frewin was born in Newcastle in 1892, the sixth child in a family of nine. She left school at 13 and went into domestic service. Her interest in politics and social justice began then and continued throughout her life.
She married George Henry Gibbons Frewin on 17 December 1919, in St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, and they had two daughters and two sons. They owned and ran a Ham and Beef shop in Lavender Bay until the land was resumed for the building of the Harbour Bridge. Later, they lived at Cammeray.
In her election pamphlet for the Council Election of 1948, Bessie Frewin stressed her long held beliefs in education, the abolition of slums, the provision of more parks and playgrounds and the preservation of the harbour waterfront for public use.
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Australian Women's Register