by Janice Calcei & Kate Shacklock
Updated: 16 January 2023
Margaret June Lynn was born in Perth in on 8 December 1930, in the midst of the Depression. Her father was Robert Geoffrey Lynn, a shipping agent and her mother was Edna Margaret Weir. She was three years old when her family moved to Mosman Park, where she was educated at St Hilda’s Primary School, and later at Presbyterian Ladies’ College. She preferred to be known as June, and in her youth was a champion tennis player selected for the Wilson Cup State junior girls teams in 1948 and 1949. June studied Arts at the University of Western Australia and physical education at the University of Melbourne.
In September 1951, she married Dardanup farmer Frank Leslie Boyd Craig and moved to live at Prinsep Park. Frank’s father, Leslie Craig, had bought the farm after World War I to begin a life of farming as his family had done for generations. However, Leslie and wife Frances moved in 1951 to live permanently in Perth, when Frank took over the management of Prinsep Park.
Leslie Craig was a long-serving member of the Legislative Council and June’s great-grandfather, Robert John Lynn, had also sat in the Legislative Council from 1912 to 1924.
June and Frank Craig had three children. The oldest, Jennifer Ann, was tragically killed by a falling tree resulting from a bushfire near Rockingham in March 1977, when her baby was very young. Extraordinarily, her husband and daughter, who were in the same car with her at the time, were both unharmed. June and Frank’s second child, Leslie Robert was born in 1953 and the youngest, Frank Anthony was born in 1956.
June Craig joined the Liberal Party in 1950, and was elected to the Legislative Assembly for the south-west seat of Wellington in 1974, once the children were grown. After only one term in Parliament, she became only the second woman (after Dame Florence Cardell-Oliver) to achieve Cabinet rank in Western Australia, after which she held various Cabinet posts, including Minister for Lands and Forests (1977-1978), Local Government (1978-1983), and Town Planning and Urban Development (1978-1983). During her 9 years in Parliament, she was the only serving woman. She lost her parliamentary seat in the 1983 State election when the seat of Wellington was abolished in a redistribution of electoral boundaries and she was defeated contesting the new seat of Mitchell.
One story she told her grand-daughter during a radio interview in 2022 concerns her background and the challenges of a woman trying to win a seat in parliament at that time. When asked whether it was difficult and isolating trying to garner votes, door-knock and raise money and awareness, June responded that people asked her why her husband wasn’t being fed dinner, what had happened to her husband, and where her children were!
She was actively involved in a wide variety of community affairs and organizations, including the St Mary’s Anglican Guild, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Good Neighbour Council, the Save the Children Fund (State and National President), the Karrakatta Club, the Commonwealth Games Association, and the Western Australian Olympic Council.
After leaving Parliament, she was a partner in a children’s clothing business and served as senior Vice-President of the Forrest Division of the Liberal Party. In 1989, June was invited to join the Council of Presbyterian Ladies’ College. In 1992 she became the Chair of Council, remaining in that position until standing down in early 1998 due to her husband Frank’s illness.
In January 1994, June was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for her long and distinguished community and parliamentary service. She was also awarded the Centenary Medal in January 2001 for service to parliament and the community.
- University of Western Australia, Friends of the Library: Tuesday 9th October 2018: Lessons Learnt by The Hon June Craig AM, https://www.news.uwa.edu.au/archive/2018091810955/friends-library-tuesday-9th-october-2018-lessons-learnt-hon-june-craig-am/, viewed 9 October 2022.
- The Australian Women’s Register, Australian Women’s Archive Project, http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/PR00331b.htm, viewed 30 August 2022.
- HxGN Spotlight, Radio program https://hxgnspotlight.com/mining-matters-adversity-achievement-june-craig-louise-daw/ 8 March 2022
- Images courtesy June Craig