History

How Joe and Enid Lyons Transcended Sectarianism

On April 28, 1915, a little over a century ago, in St Brigid’s Catholic church at Wynyard in northern Tasmania, Tasmania’s Treasurer and Minister for Railways and Education, Joe Lyons, aged thirty-five, married his seventeen-year-old sweetheart, the newly graduated teacher Enid Burnell. It was a very special union. The celebrant at the wedding was Father Tom O’Donnell, a good friend of the groom, and the priest who had presided over instruction to the Methodist-raised Enid before she converted to become a Catholic a month before her marriage. The conversion had its own uniqueness. O’Donnell, who did not impress Enid, was…

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