With the addition of two words,  the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 (pictured above) extended the right to vote in Federal elections to women as well as men.  Of the women who campaigned for this, you don’t hear much so I have started collection information about those that fall within the scope of this blog (active before 1900). As they also worked on behalf their own states, you’ll find some information on that progress within the relevant entries.

This is an ongoing project. I’ll add links and move names to the top half of the post as I finish entries for them.

Henrietta Dugdale
Formed the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Society (the first Australian women’s suffrage society)  in 1884.
“There they are, bound by an invisible tie to some person they have not seen for years, whom they may never see again, who may be on the other side of the world altogether, and yet by an abominable legal fiction, for it is no reality, this person is deemed to sufficiently sustain the most intimate human relationship”

Alice Henry
Victoria & USA
“As regards wage-earning working-women, the two main channels through which this new spirit is manifesting itself are first, their increasing efforts after industrial organization, and next in the more general realization by them of the need of the vote as a means of self-expression, whether individual or collective.”

Annie Lowe
Formed the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Society (the first Australian women’s suffrage society)  in 1884.
“Boys and girls, we were trained equally [by our father]. We girls were taught that what was good for the boys was good for us to know.”

Jessie Rooke
Tasmanian & Australian president of the W.C.T.U (Women’s Christian Temperance Union)
“Plans will have to be considered, and made to secure local option during this coming session, and I hope that every union and individual member will be prepared to work vigorously for the measure.”

The time has come, the first in our history, when we shall have the privilege of assisting by our vote to return to the Federal Parliament the requisite number of senators and members of the House of Representatives for each Slate. In using this highest expression of citizenship, we must remember that it is an opportunity for expressing as far as we can our ideals for the State and Commonwealth, and that we are bound together with all classes and conditions of people in a social system, which is each other’s duty to improve and make more favorable for each other and those who shall live after us. It will be truest wisdom to keep the moral aspect of the franchise before us, and so use this new influence for the protection of home life, and for the uplifting of humanity.

Those elected to represent us in the Federal Parliament will, in a measure, stand as embodiments of our principles, because we have helped by our votes to place them in the high positions of power they occupy. Is it not, therefore, desirable that we choose wisely and well, that we consider seriously the aptitude of present candidates to advance the temperance cause, to restrict gambling, to stem immorality and to lend their voices and vote in the Federal Parliament to every measure that will safeguard the highest interests of the people. By voting for the return of the best men available, for those whose character and principles most commend themselves to our judgment and conscience, we shall help to build up our Commonwealth in those qualities which exalt a nation.

We appeal to you to use your votes faithfully, and show at the polling booth on election day an intelligent and discreet expression of true citizenship. Any in difference on your part will retard the progress of right, and will be a practical display of lack of a high order of patriot ism. We are trustees of a unique and unprecedented privilege, one which carries with it solemn duties to God and man and future generations. By. a deli berate and firm attitude on the side of right we shall render signal and lasting service to Australia at this important juncture of her history.
Jessie S. Rooke,
President Australasian W.C.T.U.
Annie Carvosso,
Cor. Secretary Australasian W.C.T.U.
North-western Advocate, 16 December 1903

Maybanke Anderson

Annette Bear-Crawford

Annie Carvosso

Mary Colton

Edith Cowan
First woman elected to an Australian parliament

Vida Goldstein

Louisa Lawson

Mary Lee
Formed the Women’s Working Trade Union

Nellie Martel

Emma Miller

Dora Montefiore
Womanhood Suffrage League of New South Wales

Elizabeth Webb Nicholls

Alicia O’Shea-Petersen

Catherine Helen Spence

Augusta Zadow

Further information
Electoral Milestones Timeline, Australian Electorial Commission
Government of South Australia: 120th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage – Key People

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *