SA Life Finding Founding Mothers
March 18 @ 6pm, State Library of SA
In the State Library of South Australia’s historic Institute building, hear about SA leading light Catherine Helen Spence from her biographer, Professor Susan Magarey. Learn about her domestic life through to her work on the national stage.
Then take a Founding Mothers’ tour through the Library wing named in honour of Spence and onto the glorious Mortlock Chamber, where we’ll serve refreshments while your browse the historic exhibitions.
First Ladies profiles women who have achieved noteworthy firsts over the past 100 years. The focus display includes Australia’s first female Governor General, Quentin Bryce; Elizabeth Blackburn, the first Australian-born woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize; and aviatrix Nancy Bird Walton, Australia’s first female commercial pilot. First Ladies maps the milestones accomplished by Australian women across diverse fields of endeavour, from politics, activism and academia to sport, science and business, taking in the stories of household names as well as unsung heroines.
National Portrait Gallery, Canberra: 1 February – 16 June 2013
We wonder what our nation’s Founding Mothers would think of our first female Prime Minister’s most famous speech to the Parliament?
Women with a Plan: Challenges and Opportunities
Panel Discussion with established and emerging designers and planners
Mortlock Chamber, State Library of South Australia
5:30 for 6:00, 15 May 2012 Bookings essential
For further information www.slsa.sa.gov.au
The people to get to are the decision makers
On 14 July 1979 Gracia Baylor became the first woman Member of the Legislative Council of Victoria when she was sworn in shortly before Joan Coxsedge, who had also won a seat at the State election on 5 May. Although most Victorian women had won the right to stand for the Upper House 55 years before, in 1924, this was the first Victorian Upper House election to return a woman.
In her inaugural speech Gracia Baylor pointed out this day was also the 190th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the event that marked the start of the French Revolution in 1789. Continue reading
‘It is no use just sitting back’
At 61, an age most people think of retirement, Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre made history as the first woman to win a seat in the Tasmanian Parliament. She was elected to the Legislative Council on 8 May 1948 as an Independent, representing the seat of Cornwall. Well known not only in her home city of Launceston, but throughout Tasmania, she had been awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours List that year.
When the Whitlam Government established the ACT’s first fully elected Legislative Assembly in December 1974, Ros Kelly, Susan Ryan and Maureen Worsley, became the ACT’s first women parliamentarians. Continue reading
National Archives of Australia: A6180, 14/9/84
Susan Ryan was appointed to the ACT Advisory Council by the Government of Gough Whitlam in 1974. When the Whitlam Government established the ACT’s first fully elected Legislative Assembly in December 1974, Susan Ryan was elected along with Ros Kelly, and Maureen Worsley. Continue reading
Jessie Cooper and Joyce Steele were the first women elected to South Australia’s parliament, Jessie Cooper winning a Legislative Council seat and Joyce Steele a seat in the Legislative Assembly at the elections on 7 March 1959.
South Australian women had been the first in Australia to win the right to vote and to stand for election, but it took 64 years before the first women entered the parliament. Continue reading
In 1955 Millie Best and Dame Mabel Miller became the first women elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly – both were members of the new Liberal Party of Australia.
‘fair and just representation in both the halls of Legislature in this State’
Ruby Hutchison – known as ‘Red Ruby’ – was the first woman Member of the Legislative Council of Western Australia and the State’s fourth woman parliamentarian, after Edith Cowan (1921-24), May Holman (1925-39), and Florence Cardell-Oliver (1936-56). Ruby Hutchison remained the only woman MLC from the time she took her seat at the opening of parliament in May 1954, until her retirement in 1971.
In her 17 years as an Australian Labor Party member of the Legislative Council, Ruby Hutchison pursued issues including the right of women to serve on juries; child welfare; education; housing; and consumer protection. Her advocacy and research into consumer protection in the USA and the United Kingdom was instrumental in the founding of the Australian Consumers’ Association, formed in 1959 after she addressed a public meeting in Sydney Town Hall. Continue reading
The National Trachoma and Eye Health Program at Christmas Creek station in June 1977. It was at this station, during my first visit to the Kimberley, that I met my mother, Penny Luck a traditional Walmadjari woman. The story of this meeting with my Mother and my work on the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program is told in They used to call it Sandy Blight, the Report of the Program Continue reading
Lou Bennett is a founding member of the internationally acclaimed female trio, Tiddas. The other members were Amy Saunders and Sally Dastey. This Group of two Indigenous and one non-Indigenous woman worked together for the best part of ten years before it was disbanded in May 2000.
Australian Indigenous performer (Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung) Lou Bennett has established herself as a consummate performer/composer playing to audiences both in Australia and overseas working with both indigenous and non indigenous artists.
I first met Doreen in 1980 when I gained a grant for her to write her family genealogy. But she had left school at grade 3 and I worked with her for several years to help her gain the necessary skills to do the documentation and research. The launch was a great celebration for the whole community. She has a Hon Doctorate from University of SA for her work.
Faith Bandler and Reconciliation Australia’s Rosie Southwood on Australia Day 2007, discussing the program celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum
Report of the Aboriginal Women’s Task Force, 1986
When the Office of the Status of Women (OSW) was reconstituted in 1983 within the most powerful Commonwealth department, that of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, one of its major priorities was to consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women directly about their critical needs. To this end, OSW set up a Task Force, headed by two Aboriginal women, Phyllis Daylight and Mary Johnstone, assisted by eleven 11 Aboriginal and Islander Regional Co-ordinators and supported by Mary Sexton from OSW, to consult widely with Aboriginal women from round Australia .
When Jean Horner and her husband Jack went to the first public meeting of the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship in April 1957, they simply wanted to find out if Aboriginal people were being discriminated against in their own country.
The meeting did far more than provide Jean and Jack with clear evidence of such discrimination – it was in fact to change their lives. For Jean it meant a long association with the campaign for Aboriginal justice in Australia and she became the hard-working colleague of many emerging Indigenous activists including Faith Bandler, Pearl Gibbs and Dulcie Flower. She worked tirelessly for the campaigns that led to the successful 1967 Referendum. Continue reading
On the Referendum campaign trail – Pat Bryant with husband Gordon (centre) and local campaigners at Yarrabah, just south of Cairns, in 1960
Members of the Union of Australian Women’s campaign to save Lake Tyers in 1964, with Gladys O’Shane (seated, centre), Pauline Pickford (seated, right) Dorothy Russell (standing second from left) and Marj Oke (seated left)
These women, members of the Union of Australian Women (UAW), which at this time had branches all over Australia and a membership in excess of 6000, demonstrated the power of women’s networks in achieving political change. The first aim of the UAW was ‘equal rights for women in political, civic and social spheres; equal pay for equal work and equal opportunities’. The UAW was active in providing forums for emerging Aboriginal leaders such as Gladys O’Shane, to inform people about the difficulties of life and the discrimination faced by Aboriginal Australians.
Doris Blackburn (Hordern)’s lifelong engagement in public affairs embraced the advancement of women, peace work, concern for the poor, underprivileged and powerless generally, and civil liberties. Fresh from her work as campaign-secretary to Vida Goldstein in her 1913 bid to enter the Senate, Doris entered into a personal and political partnership with high-profile, left-wing Labor politician Maurice Blackburn. She maintained her association with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and left the Labor Party in the late 1930s to pursue her anti-war activities with the International Peace Campaign. Continue reading
‘Auntie’ Ethel Munn (L) and Camilla Cowley (R) in March 1999 at the Women’s Reconciliation initiative in Brisbane Queensland
When Camilla Cowley’s south-western Queensland property came under native title claim she was fearful and angry. Against legal advice she sought out the claimants and upon hearing their case joined their cause. She learnt that the traditional owners, the Gunggari, ‘didn’t want to turf them off the land. They wanted, finally after all those years, recognition of who they were, where they came from and where they belonged’. Continue reading
Loris Williams and Margaret Reid were archivists working together in the Community and Personal Histories Section of the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy (DATSIP) when the celebration of the Queensland Centenary of Women’s Suffrage for 2005 were being planned.
Loris and Margaret worked together with the women of the Queensland Centenary of Women’s Suffrage Taskforce, the Queensland Office for Women and the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy. Continue reading