Category Archives: Blog

Guest post

Tailoring Don Dunstan

Don Dunstan’s pink short shorts are a South Australia icon. When Premier Dunstan posed, beaming, on the steps of SAs Parliament House on November 22nd 1972 wearing his pink shorts, a white t-shirt and white knee-hi socks, he made headlines. “Dazzling Don Dunstan has done it again”, The News reported:...

Against her better judgement?

On 18 December 1894 the South Australian Parliament passed the Adult Suffrage Bill which granted women the right to vote and to stand for election. Since this required a change to the Constitution of the Parliament of South Australia, royal assent was required. The Bill was enacted two months after...

Guest post

Representing Women’s Suffrage Activism and Legal Change Across Literary Form

  Suffrage activism by women in South Australia took place in a global discussion about women’s rights that was legal, political, and cultural.[1] In this post I want to consider two novels, Anno Domini 2000; or, Woman’s Destiny,[2] by Julius Vogel, and Nellie McClung’s Purple Springs [3] These works examine...

Suffrage 125: The Great Miscalculation (or how South Australian women gained the right to stand for Parliament)

  Women’s suffrage was raised in seven separate (unsuccessful) Bills in the South Australian Parliament between 1886 and 1894. During this time, public meetings, lectures, letters to the press, deputations and petitions punctuated public life and slowly turned the tide of public and parliamentary opinion. A driving force behind the...

Guest post

On Collecting Camp

Some of my favourite objects are disobedient ones: objects linked to acts of defiance – past and present – or things that simply challenge one-dimensional interpretations. Among the Centre of Democracy objects is protest badge worn by members of the South Australian branch of CAMP (Campaign Against Moral Persecution). First...

Resisting the Triumph of Women’s Rights – Anti-Suffrage Anti-Utopias

Suffrage 125: Resisting The Triumph of Women’s Rights – Anti-Suffrage Anti-Utopias**   Utopian fiction of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became one literary space in which writers interested in social reform, including women’s suffrage and broader gender equality, found an outlet for imagining what a different world might look...

Suffrage 125: Women, suffrage and self-determination

Did female suffrage signal the end of gendered double-standards or was it more a major stepping stone in the ongoing struggle for equality? In the nineteenth-century, under British common law, women were subordinate to men. This was reflected in the fact that women were legally subject to their fathers until...

Guest post

Imagining utopia in Catherine Helen Spence’s ‘A Week in the Future’

In her introduction to the Griffith Review volume “State of Hope”, Julianne Schultz writes of South Australia as “born of reform”,[1] and with “hope in its DNA”.[2] While Schultz notes an equally prominent history of conservatism and complacency, her characterisation of South Australia as reformist is one that echoes with...

Suffrage 125: The Petition

What is a petition? In a democracy a petition is a call to action. Petitions and petitioning were core strategies for the women’s suffrage movement in South Australia. The South Australian Parliament explains that “Petitioning Parliament is a long established fundamental right of all citizens. It allows any individual or...

Suffrage 125: Working women in the nineteenth century

Women’s Suffrage was not achieved in isolation; there were other factors that influenced its development, success, and challenges. This month we explore women’s increasing participating in the workforce, and in particular the role of the Working Women’s Trade Union. South Australia was the first place outside Britain to legalise Trade...