A COLLECTION of mayoress portraits will go on permanent display during celebrations of Bendigo's 150 years since being declared a city.
The pieces will join a plaque that was also unveiled to commemorate the anniversary.
Once a key civic role, the unelected role that mayor's wives took on have now become a thing of the past.
More on this story: Bendigo declared a city on this day, 150 years ago, but it was tiny
Current mayor Jen Alden said wives of mayors often played unsung roles that should be highlighted.
"Mayoresses were generally involved in leading charity work, supporting the mayor at civic functions and receptions and deputising for their husbands as needed," she said.
"One of the City's Early Learning Centres is named after our one of our best-known mayoresses, Anne Galvin, who used her first speech as mayoress to indicate her intentions to do something for mothers and children."
Mrs Galvin later became the second woman elected as a Bendigo councillor, behind Christine Elizabeth Wiseman in 1960.
"When the City of Greater Bendigo [in 1994] was established the first mayor was Megan Weston and the role of mayoress began to fade out.
"Since that time there have been six female mayors and countless great female leaders in Greater Bendigo at various levels of government and in leading local organisations, agencies and community groups."
The council wanted to give "overdue" recognition to mayoress's contribution, Cr Alden said.
She hoped to pay tribute later in the year to the first female Councillor elected to each of the municipalities that now comprise the City of Greater Bendigo by displaying their photographs in the council chamber.
The mayoress portraits unveiled at Town Hall include:
Annie Irene Michelsen
Mayoress 1926/1927, 1935/1936, 1942/1943.
Wife of Cr John Andrew Michelsen OBE.
Pioneer in the field of social work and regarded as a woman of tremendous vitality and versatility. Known as an outstanding horse woman and breeder of standardbreds for harness racing. Member numerous sporting clubs and foundation president of the Bendigo Nurses Association.
Christina Annie Bennett
Wife of Cr George Bennett.
As mayoress she was said to have filled her position admirably. Her charity work was "particularly commendable". The Bennetts were widely known for establishing Bennetts Arcade in Pall Mall.
Harriet Jane Staples
Mayoress 1934/1935, 1939/1940.
Wife of Cr Albert Staples.
The couple reinstituted the annual Mayoral Ball after an absence of many years.
A popular and highly respected mayoress during her two terms.
Jemima 'Mina' Bolton
Wife of Cr William May Bolton.
Known as an ardent worker for charities including the Congregational Church Ladies Guild, Infant Health Centre and Children's Welfare Department.
Hilda Robina Pethard
Mayoress 1940/1941, 1947/1948, 1951/1952.
Wife of Cr George Albert Pethard Jnr, whose parents founded the Tarax soft drink company.
Anne Edith Galvin
Wife of Cr Leslie William 'Bill' Galvin.
One of Bendigo's best-known charity workers, Anne Galvin also became the second woman elected to Bendigo City Council in 1968.
Achievements include - awarded an OBE in 1967 for community service, founding president of the Peter Harcourt Centre, Magistrate of the Children's Court and instituted the City's Meals on Wheels service. As President of the National Council of Women (Bendigo), she secured the appointment of the first two women police officers in 1956. She was also president of the committee that established Bendigo Creche, the first outside Victoria's metropolitan area.
Bill Galvin was MLA Bendigo 1943-1964 and Deputy Premier 1952-1955.
Laura Jane Truscott
Wife of Cr Anthony Truscott Jnr.
Before her term as mayoress, Jane had not been prominent in public life but earned the respect of the community for her hard work and commitment to the role.
Elizabeth Enid Granger
Wife of Cr Ernest Frederick Granger.
Honoured with a civic lunch at the end of their term.
Margaret Edith Lily Snell
Mayoress 1955/1956, 1958-1960.
Wife of Cr Henry William (Bill) Snell.
First mayoress to wear the gold mayoress medallion, donated by Sir George Lansell, in 1956.
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