Suffrage 125

The Centre of Democracy is marking 125 years of women’s suffrage in the State by coordinating a series of programs and events throughout 2019.

In December 1894, after decades of activism, legislation was passed in South Australia making South Australia’s colonial parliament the first one in Australia to extend to women, including Aboriginal women, the right to vote and stand for election. This decision later helped to secure votes for women after the Australian colonies federated.

We will be exploring the history, the legacy, and the contemporary relevance of Suffrage 125 through public talks, family activities, exhibitions, online activities, and more.

Sign up to our e-bulletin if you’d like to keep updated about everything Suffrage 125.

Follow the hashtag #Suffrage125 on our Facebook @CentreofDemocracy and Twitter @CentreDemocracy pages too.

The Office for Women are putting together a great program of events to celebrate this history. Find out more here.

Resources created by Centre of Democracy

Women In South Australia is our History Pin collection of significant sites identified because of their relation to women and women’s history in SA. The initial list of sites was collated and suggested by Social Museum, a Facebook Group dedicated to exploring issues of women’s citizenship as part of the Suffrage 125 anniversary. You can add new entries, edit and add to others too – help us create a uniquely South Australian historical resource.

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Search the Women’s Suffrage Petition (1894)

In 1894 a mammoth petition was presented to South Australian Parliament advocating for the right for women to vote. Search the petition and discover who signed their name to this important document.


Current and upcoming Suffrage 125 events & programs

Suffrage 125 Blog

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: No voice in parliament

Imagine campaigning for legislative change without a representative voice in parliament. Can you grasp the challenges? During the campaign for women’s suffrage in South Australia women had no voice in parliament. The political rights afforded to men, and not to women, were what the Women’s Suffrage League and others were...

Suffrage 125: The First Executive

Last month we learned about the formation and role of the Women’s Suffrage League, but who were the key players? This month we explore the lives of a few key individuals from the Women’s Suffrage League, specifically those who were part of the first executive committee – that is the...

Suffrage 125: Women’s Suffrage League

When resistance occurs citizens in a democracy organise to effect change. When Dr Edward Stirling  advocated the extension of the franchise to women, the House of Assembly passed his motion affirming the desirability of recognising women’s political rights; but when the Bill was introduced to give effect to the motion,...

Suffrage 125 Objects

Treasures from a range of collections are on display in the Centre of Democracy.

View the objects