Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Amateur artist, was born in Perth, eldest of five daughters of Edith, noted feminist and the first woman parliamentarian in Australia, and James Cowan her husband.
She gained a government exhibition in 1897 and following extra tuition in 1899 a matriculation to the University of Melbourne. The costs of studying so far away were prohibitive and she stayed in Perth taking a job in the Public Service in the Supreme Court (in an office in the Treasury Building until 1945) where she spent her working life.
She exhibited paintings of Western Australian wildflowers in the Western Australian court of the 1900 Paris Exposition and at the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1902.
Dircksey was a founder member of the of the Western Australian Historical Society in 1926 and Honorary Assistant Secretary, Honorary Life Member and the first ‘Keeper of the Records’ from 1930 which for a time were stored in the Treasury building. She was deeply interested in Western Australian history and in the welfare of Aborigines.
She lived with her parents in Perth then at ‘Bleak House’ in Avonmore Terrace, Cottesloe from 1896-c.1914? Before returning to Perth. The area was rich in wildflowers which she painted and exhibited in Paris and London.
Several of her paintings are in the collection of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society. In 1933 she lived with her father at 71 Malcolm Street, Perth. Her had mother died the previous year.
Paris Exposition Internationale 1900.
Federal Exhibition 1900.
Glasgow International Exhibition 1902.
Source: pers.com. Dorothy Erickson (10/4/2013)
Cowan. Peter. A Unique Position: A Biography of Edith Dircksey Cowan 1861-1932. Perth: UWAP, 1978.
Portrait Photo: Extracted from: above.