Wednesday, 30 April 2014

52 Ancestors #21 Ann Daley

Ann Daley was born in Windsor, New South Wales, on 10 September 1809. Ann was the eldest child of convicts Charles Daley and Susannah Alderson. She had three sisters and two brothers - Mary Ann (1811-1894), Charles (1813-1886), Sarah (1815-1871), John (1817-1884) and Susannah (1819-1891).

When Ann was born Charles Daley owned a 15 acre property near Windsor where he grew mainly wheat, maize and barley and raised pigs. As the eldest daughter Ann would probably have been expected to help look after her younger brothers and sisters. In 1812 her father is recorded as donating one pound towards a new school. A school house in Windsor Street, between Chappel Street and Pugh's Lagoon was built in 1813 but it is not known whether the children attended the school. As Ann signed the registry when she was married with an X (her mark), any education that she had was minimal. The children would have been expected to help on the farm which by 1822 had been increased to 26 acres.

On 9 May 1830, when she was 20, Ann married the convict, Uriah Moses, at St Matthew's Church of England. Uriah was thirty years older than Ann when they married. Uriah had acquired land in the Windsor area and was growing grain by 1809. His land holdings grew and by 1821 had established a bakery in George Street, Windsor. This was to become a successful family business.

Ann and Uriah  Uriah and Ann had nine children - Frederick Uriah born 1830 died at 8 months, Rachel born in 1831 died when 3 weeks old, Henry (1832-1926), Susannah (1834-1923), George (1838-1908), James born in 1840 and died 6 days later, James Uriah (1842-1892), William (1844-1923) and Thomas born in 1846 and died a month before he turned 4.

When Uriah died in December 1847, Ann was thirty-eight years old and was the mother of six children - the youngest, Thomas, died three years later. The eldest son, Henry, would have been 15, Susannah would have been 13, George would have been 9 and James Uriah would have been 5 years old Uriah must have left the family well provided for. The family remained in the bakery business in Windsor until 1971 so it would have been run by family interests until the sons were able to take over. Henry began his career running the old mill that supplied the bakery with flour before purchasing a property near Moree. Henry also had a successful parliamentary career. For many years, William Moses was in business in Windsor as a grocer and ironmonger together with the bakery and carried on the business as the Hawkesbury Stores at the corner of George and Bridge streets, known as Moses' corner. When he retired the business was taken over by his sons, Hilton  and Arthur Moses. 

 On 4 March 1869, when she was 59, Ann married James Powell and they lived in Sydney.

Ann died on the 12 June 1880, aged 70. She was staying in Petersham at the home of her daughter, Susannah Overmeyer, when she died and was buried at St Matthew's Church of England, Windsor.

Ann was my great (x2) grandmother

Saturday, 26 April 2014

52 Ancestors #20 Elizabeth Pendergast

Elizabeth Penelope Pendergast was born in Windsor, New South Wales on 16 January 1846.  She was the daughter of William Pendergast and Sarah Holland and the grand-daughter of convicts John Pendergast, Jane Williams and Richard Holland. She was also the great grand-daughter of William Roberts and Kezia Brown. Elizabeth was therefore a member of pioneer families in the Windsor area.

Elizabeth was baptised at St Matthew's Catholic Church on 15 February 1846. The family lived on her father's property, Campbellfield, near Campbelltown. Elizabeth had three sisters - Jane (1838-1903), Margaret (1842-1891) and Mary (1844-1845) - and two brothers - John (1840-1928) and William (1849-1920). Elizabeth was four when her father died but he had ensured in his will that his family would be well provided for and would have a good education. Sarah moved to Whyte's Farm at Windsor, one of the family properties, and lived comfortably on the rent from her husband's estate. Elizabeth received an allotment of land in Campbellfield when she was 21 and also inherited additional money from her father's estate in 1871 when her younger brother turned 21.

At St Matthew's Church of England, Windsor, on 8 June 1865, Elizabeth married George Moses, son of the convict Uriah Moses and grandson of convicts, Charles Daley and Susannah Alderson.

Although George and his family were based in Windsor, he was living in Armidale when he and Elizabeth married. Initially they lived in Armidale but by 1869 appear to be living in Redfern, a suburb of Sydney. Ten years later they were living in Bathurst where George worked in the Parcels' Office at Bathurst Railway Station. By 1894 they were back in Sydney where they were living when George died in 1908. Elizabeth was 62.

Elizabeth and George had six children - Letitia (1866-1928), Pathenia (1869-1872), George Victor (1871-1951), Elsie (born and died 1879), Constance Henrietta (1882-1874) and Henry John (1879-1936).

When Elizabeth died in September 1942, aged 96, she was living at Campbell Terrace, Nundah, a suburb of Brisbane, at the home of her daughter Constance. The 1925 electoral rolls show that she was living at 275 Vulture Street Brisbane South where Constance was living but I do not know when she moved north.

Elizabeth was buried at the Toowong Cemetery on 16 September 1942.

One of the mysteries when researching the Moses family tree was that I could not find any information about Elizabeth after George's death, including when she died. A number of copies of the family tree also showed that George and Elizabeth had five children. Family stories were that there was a ten year gap between the birth of my grandfather in 1889 and his older siblings. It was therefore a surprise when I discovered the following notice for Elizabeth's funeral in Brisbane:

MOSES, Mrs. Elizabeth.— Relatives and Friends of Mrs. E. J. Babington, of Campbell Terrace, Nundah, and Mr. G. V. Moses, of Pennant Hills, Sydney, are invited to attend the Funeral of their beloved Mother. Mrs. Elizabeth Moses, of Campbell Terrace, Nundah, to leave the Funeral Chapel, 17 Peel Street, South Brisbane, This (Wednesday) Afternoon, at 3 o'clock, for the Toowong Cemetery. No flowers, by request. JOHN HISLOP & SONS, Funeral Directors. [Courier Mail, Wednesday 16 September 1942].

Not only did I now have a date and place of death for Elizabeth but I also had another family member, Mrs E J Babington, who did not appear on any of the family lists I had seen. Some research was obviously required which was how I discovered Constance Henrietta. There does not appear to be an official birth record for her but trawling through articles in Trove and electoral roll entries in I was able to locate some information. Through Ancestry I was able to make contact with another researcher who provided additional information. Although at least one branch of the family were unaware of Constance (or Hettie as she was known to her family), Elizabeth had obviously kept in touch with her daughter and so had George Victor. Maybe the solution to the mystery is that Elizabeth outlived her two other children who had lived to be adults - Letitia in 1928 and Henry John (known as Reginald) in 1936. Contact may simply possibly have been lost between Elizabeth and the families of her children. Yet it does not explain why Hettie's name did not appear on the family trees. Just another family mystery.

Elizabeth was my great grandmother.

Friday, 25 April 2014

52 Ancestors #19 George Moses

George Moses was born in Windsor, New South Wales on 8 March 1838, the son of Uriah Moses and Anne Daley. He had eight brothers and sisters - Frederick Uriah (1830-1831), Rachael (1831-1831), Henry 1832-1926), Susannah (1834-1923), James (1840-1840), James Uriah (1842-1892), William (1844-1923) and Thomas (1846-1850). Although George came from a large family, four of his brothers and sisters died as babies or young children.

George was baptised on 8 April 1838. We do not learn anything further about George until his marriage to Elizabeth Penelope Pendergast at St Matthew's Church of England, Windsor on 8 June 1865. The notice about the wedding in the Illustrated Sydney News 16 July 1865 stated that the groom was from Armidale so at some stage prior to his wedding he had moved to Armidale to work.  The family lived in Armidale for a number of years. On 18 August 1866 George and Elizabeth's first daughter, Letitia (1866-1928) was born. The birth of their second daughter, Parthenia (1869-1872), was registered in Sydney so she was possibly born in Redfern which was where the family moved to from Armidale. When George Victor was born in August 1871 the address was Oldham Street in Redfern but when Parthenia died almost six months later the family was living at 1 Holden Street, Redfern.  

George worked as a clerk in the New South Wales Civil Service. A note in the Richmond and Windsor Gazette 8 August 1908 stated that George worked in the Railway Department, though he may have worked in another department earlier in his working life. We know from newspaper articles that he worked in the Parcels' Office in Bathurst for many years, probably from 1879 to 1894. The railway line was extended to Bathurst in 1876 with the railway station officially opened on 4 April of that year. George and Elizabeth's third daughter, Elsie, was born and died in Redfern in 1879 so the family was still in Sydney at this time.

George and Elizabeth had  two more children in the 1880s - Constance Henrietta (1882-1974) and Henry John (1889-1936).

When George left Bathurst in 1894 a presentation was made to him. The following article appeared in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal 24 May 1894:

Presentation — Mr. George Moses who for a number of years was engaged in the Parcels office of the Bathurst Railway Station, and was at all times a deservedly popular and obliging officer, having removed to Sydney, his friends have presented him with a gold chain and pendant, an opal gold pin, and a gold nugget pin. The presentation was made in Sydney as Mr. Moses could not leave to visit Bathurst again. The pendant bears the following inscription 'Presented to George Moses by the public of Bathurst as a token of esteem on his departure from Bathurst, May, 1894.' The chain, etc., was ordered through Mr. J. Penson, Jeweller, Keppel street and the work is very creditable.

However life could be eventful working in a Parcels' Office as was shown when George was required to give evidence at the trial of an offender who obtained a portmanteau from the parcels office at Bathurst by false pretences. A detailed article about this incident at the railway station  appeared in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal 10 October 1893. 

The next mention of George and Elizabeth is when their son, George Victor, was married in 1901 when their address was listed as  Albion Terrace in Annandale.

The Sydney Morning Herald (3 August 1908) reported that George Moses, late of Windsor, died on 2 August 1908 at a private hospital at Waverley after a long and painful illness. He was 70 years old. George was buried at Waverley Cemetery.

George Moses was my great grandfather.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Petitions part 20

Reflections on Woman Suffrage and Deputation to the Premier

It may be safely said that the recent deputation to the Premier marked the beginning of a new era for the Woman’s Suffrage movement in Victoria; an era whose dawn is more radiant with the light of hope, to shine brighter and brighter into the perfect day of realisation. The two hundred men and women who formed the deputation ranked high in intelligence and higher still in moral worth and enthusiasm for the welfare of the State; and their presence proved that the principle of equal voting rights for the two sexes is not is not the fad of a few, but the vital concern of many. The Victorian Alliance introduced Woman’s Suffrage to the arena of practical politics upon the occasion of the general election by making it a plank in its platform. A little band of ladies who were not identified with the Temperance party did labour in the supposed interests of Woman’s Suffrage in one Melbourne constituency; but, unfortunately, they canvassed for gentlemen whose subsequent interest in the Kew Lunatic Asylum has been regarded as personal prudence in making the interests for the future. Happily the interests of the movement are now entrusted the right women, and we may frankly add that these are led by the right men. Nobody dreams that the great reform which is desired can be achieved during the next session of Parliament, even with a Premier personally in favour of it; but that it is coming may be one of the certainties of this uncertain world. The newspaper comments, and the subsequent discussion in the Press, provoked and inspired by the deputation, emphasise the statement that the demand for equal political powers for the sexes cannot be logically denied. Even the paper whose hundred-fold vision does not enable it to discern the signs of the times endeavours to meet the case with elephantine humour, obviously for lack of argument. The fact is that all sound reasons why men should vote apply equally to women. Custom has denied the right, and now prejudice sustains custom; but custom and prejudice have had to give way upon several occasions in the world’s progress, and they will have to do so again.

Do men claim a monopoly of voting power because of physical strength? In view of the modern order of the 8-hours husband and the 16-hours wife might doubt the superior strength of manhood; unless it be that woman, being the weaker vessel, is mercifully allowed a longer time in which to do her work. In New York there are said to be, according to the census returns, 27,000 women who keep their husbands and families. Which of these couples has the superior claim to the franchise? If physical strength be the test the prize-fighter, who is the lowest form of mankind, is certainly entitled to a plurality of votes. Some men we believe – particularly the editor of the Argus- lay claim to superior intelligence. It is true that the majority of men have had better educational advantages than women; but now it is being clearly proved that that with equal advantages women can achieve at least equal success. They may not distinguish them selves as the gentlemen, or rather male, students do at the University commencement, but they come out with honours at the end. This is the case in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, and it is pre-eminently the case at home. Let Philippa Fawcett, with her four-hundred marks above the Senior Wrangler at Cambridge, bear witness to the fact. We are told the home is the woman’s sphere. So it is. The countinghouse, the mart, or the workshop is man’s sphere, but he would be a very small-souled man who had no thoughts apart from it. The home is woman’s chief concern, and the home needs the protection of the law. What is good for the home is good for the state, and woman voting for the home would be serving the serving the highest interests of the community. The liquor trade is the loudest in the cry that the home is woman’s sphere. Yet it employs many of our fairest women in the polluted atmosphere of its bars, which is surely not home for them. And it expects other women to be silent while being robbed of husband or son by the allurements which it holds forth. The demand for Women’s Suffrage comes from the recognition of natural right, but it vibrates with earnestness because of the conviction that the home needs the protection of woman’s vote. In replying to the deputation the Premier pointed out that there are difficulties in the way of granting its demand. The real difficulty, however, is hardly of the nature of the nature of those indicated by Mr Munro. It is that the country has not been educated upon the question. To remove difficulties is the business of the reformer always, and this obstacle must be immediately attacked by the combined forces of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Alliance. When the country demands the reform the legislature will very quickly respond.
The Alliance Record May 16th, 1891 page 114

Petitions part 19

Resolution to support woman suffrage

Part of the discussion at the Victorian Alliance Conference 1891

Mr. John Thompson said:- Mr. Chairman, the Executive has acted wisely in allowing working men to speak in their behalf. We, as working men, have noticed that our leaders are building platforms for us to step on at the next general election. I can only say as a labourer, that if a ship has one rotten plank in it, it is not seaworthy, and if I found that rotten plank I would have it out. I have taken an active part in endeavouring to extend to my wife and daughter the same privilege as I claim for myself. If any of us dare to say that we are superior to women, we know we are lying. Those that have listened to the speeches of Victorian women today, have reason to be proud that we have such women able to take part in public life. I have stood for contested elections, and in four of them ladies have voted. I notice that they came forward to vote in a quiet and becoming manner, and when they had marked their paper with a pencil, they went home to their duties. What did I find was the case with the men? Many of them were willing away that glorious privilege which had long been fought for in the old country, to the highest bidder for a glass of whisky. As a member of the School Board I have sat side by side with the ladies, and on such questions as the elevation of the young they had acted in a business-like way. I hope the electors of Victoria will do their duty, and will insist on having the plank I speak of taken out. (Applause)

Rev. D. O’Donnell moved the following resolution:-
"That in the opinion of this Conference, government of the people by the people and for the people should mean all the people, and not one-half; that taxation and representation should go together without regard to the sex of the taxed; that all adult persons should have a voice in making the laws which they are required to obey; that, in short, women should vote on equal terms with men."
He said – It is my great privilege to be allowed to move this resolution, but as I have said so much of late on this very important question I will not repeat my arguments. I would like to urge the representatives before returning to their homes to remember that it is not sufficient to hear and applaud excellent speeches, nor to pass resolutions of this kind unless you are prepared to do your part in carrying them out in your respective spheres and districts. Undoubtedly this has become a burning question. It has forced its way very properly to the foreground of practical politics, and I am strongly of the opinion that in the approaching general election this great problem will occupy so conspicuous a position as to dwarf all other questions. I hope that we will be able to persuade the Trades Hall Council to make this question one of the planks of their political platform, and I venture to say they would not have a stronger plank to stand by. The working men are making a grave blunder, looking at the matter from their point of view and interests, in setting aside this question. Those of you who reside in the agricultural area of the colony where the great labor problem will not be felt so acutely as in the cities, should remember that you are bound by your loyalty to this Alliance and the principles it advances, to try and carry out those principles. I do not mean to suggest that you should reject every candidate who will not vote for women’s suffrage, but I do say where there is an even balance on every subject it would be well to make this the real test point. I would ask you to take Mr. Vale’s advice, and to carry back with you to your homes some of the literature he spoke of. You will find a great deal of mistaken and misled thought even amongst teetotallers and professed Christian men upon this very important theme. Having listened to the superlatively admirable paper which Mrs. McLean read just now, you would do well to get copies of the previous papers by Mrs. McLean, and I would ask the members of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and all other women, to ponder over the full application of this question, and then, having become fully acquainted with it, constitute yourselves evangelists in this cause. I expect to find that within the next five years Women’s Suffrage will be an accepted fact in our political life. I have great pleasure in moving the adoption of this resolution. (Applause)

The Rev. J. Ross said:- I have very great pleasure in seconding the resolution. You have already heard that I have been associated with the Temperance movement in and about Melbourne for over 20 years; I have never known the movement to take such rapid strides as it has since the ladies came to the front. Our women are taking the leading position in this grand movement. I remember many years ago having occasion to marry a man and a woman, and after the service the lady saying to me, “I thought that expression 'obey' came rather harshly from you." "Oh" I said, “In which sense did you think I intended it to be applied?" "Why, it seemed to me it was to ‘obey’ no matter what the request was." "Then”, I said, "if that is the idea, I know it was never meant. I will never use it again." From that time I have not to my recollection made use of the word in that connection. (Laughter and applause) I am happy to tell you that the word is not in the colonial document and therefore I do not use it. In the district in which I reside I am proud to say that the women are thoroughly united on this subject and meetings are held constantly for the purpose of bringing people into the organisation. I heartily support the resolution. I wonder who dare first take a stand in his home and say there is no equality there. Do we not reckon our wives equal to ourselves? (Laughter) We dare not do otherwise (Renewed laughter) In that sense our women have the franchise, because they are our equals. Every honest, upright man feels that his wife is equal to himself, and if she is equal to-day, she will be no more equal in five or ten years to come and ought to have her position at once. (Applause)

Mr. J.W. Gates: It is with great pleasure I rise to support the resolution. I have from boyhood listened to discussions between my parents at home on this subject and their arguments induced me to stand in opposition to the matter, but since I have had opportunities of noticing how well women can work in every noble cause, I have altered my views, and have come to the conclusion that if we give them the power to vote they will use it in the right way. In Ballarat East we have fought two Local Option polls, and in both we have given the ladies a very prominent place and have permitted them to do a large amount of electioneering work. (Laughter) We knew they could do it much better than we could ourselves, and we were justified in acceding to their request to be allowed to take part, seeing that the proceedings at the polls were conducted in a quiet and orderly manner. The victories were mainly due to the efforts of the ladies. On the occasion of the general election, when two local abstainers were candidates, there was more drunkenness observable than at the Local Option polls. I do not mean that the candidates were responsible for the drunkenness, but some of their supporters were. If you give the franchise to women it will be the means not only of purifying Parliament but the proceedings of every election. (Applause)

The Chairman: I should like to quote a sentence from Mrs. McLean’s last paper, and to see it hung on the walls of our Legislature. It is:

The resolution was then put and carried, with only one dissentient.
Alliance Record 5 September 1891 page 226

Petitions part 18

Selection of articles relating to the role of women and / or womanhood suffrage in local newspapers

Local newspapers often reported on issues of social concern. Following are esamples of some of the topics of interest regarding the role of women in 1891. The role of women in regard to work and the type of work suitable for and selected by women was an issue in 1891. Women's attitude to marriage was another issue discussed in the local press.

News of the Week
WOMAN SUFFRAGES. – It is understood that the Government have decided to limit the Parliament franchise to be granted woman to those whose names appear on the rate-payers' roll, the Cabinet being of the opinion that Parliament would not sanction womanhood suffrage. By the measure the Government intend to submit to Parliament all women over 21 years of age whose names appear on the rate-payers' roll will be entitled to the Parliamentary franchise. The companion Bill abolishing plural voting will allow a man having business premises in the City and a residence in the country to elect between the two constituencies. He may vote for one or for the other, but he will not be allowed to vote for both. In this the Government reproduce the proposal of the Gillies Deakin Administration. The voter will not be called upon to choose his constituency until he enters the polling booth. He will then be asked if he has previously exercised the franchise at the same election. If he replies in the negative he will be able to record his vote. Should he give false information he is liable to a penalty of £50, and on a scrutiny his name will be struck off the list. He may choose one constituency at the general election and another at a bye election, and so change from time to time as he thinks fit.
News item in The Boroondara Standard Friday 5 June 1891

Domestic Servants
The distase (sic) amongst colonial girls for menial labour grows stronger every year, unfortunately for the country as well as for themselves. There is nothing degrading about honest labour, this however is not the opinion of the working classes, amongst whom their ideas of gentility rise with their means, consequently servants (both male and female) are at a premium, owing to their scarcity. Young girls shun service on being emacipated from their mothers apron strings, their great object being to get into a shop, their duties in which are not less agreeable, on account of the male element therein. Girls who ought to be learning their household duties, how to cook a dinner for their future husbands, which includes sending him to his mornings work with a good breakfast in him, and providing him with a clean and comfortable fire side after his work is done, and unless she knows enough of domestic economy to see to these things, she will never have or deserve to have a lover. The man, who with only a college education as a preparative, who would attempt the conduct of a printing office, would be ridiculed, and he who should apply for the place of foreman in a factory, knowing nothing of mechanics would be considered a lunatic, yet every day girls, without the least knowledge of housekeeping, take upon themselves the direction of some mans house without the faintest idea of knowing how to go about it, whereas she who can clean her own house and cook a dinner at need, is practically independent of servants, and if she has them, is able to direct them. German, Danish and French women of all ranks are instructed in household work, and cooking as carefully as many other branches of education, As for cooking, no woman ever regretted the time spent in learning it. The market is already overcrowded with shop girls, the ranks being recruited from the daughters of washerwomen, labourers wives and people of that class, who, thanks to the system of national education have acquired sufficient knowledge of arithmetic to tot up a few figures, dress like their betters, and to despise their parents – the pancity of domestic labour, will yet drive housekeepers to hotels, and is in fact now doing so.
An article in The Boroondara Standard Friday 26 June 1891 commenting on the impact of the trend of young women prefering not to be domestic servants

The Ladies' Column
Under the heading "Should Women be Sailors" an article recently appeared in the Pall Mall Budget which has been widely reprinted and discussed. The article purports to be written by " an Able Seaman". Jack Tar is not, as a rule, given to evolving "screeds," and when he does they smell not of the oil, but rather the brine, nor are nautical expressions uncommon. The "Able Seaman" who has raised the question "Should Women be Sailors" has written so much like a land-lubber that one would never suspected his avocation had he not announced it. In spite of this it takes all my faith to read his production as the emanation of a nautical man. He cites the case of a captain's wife bringing her ship to land under great difficulties, when her husband and the crew were prostrated by illness. True. Under extreme pressure women have done, and will do, many things that not only may not be desirable as a rule, but well-nigh impractical. I happen to have seen one women who performed just such a feat as this, and my opinion is that she possessed an amount of doggedness that the average woman would be as little likely to have in her character as the average man has the qualities of Napoleon. The writer continues that women have shown their capacity for "doing hard sums," and might safely be trusted with "the simple problems necessary to work out a ship’s course." That is not the point. Before a woman can arrive at the position that she has merely to work the "simple problems," she must have "been through the mill." I have never met a captain nor officer yet who has not been "before the mast." I have been there myself in the sailors' quarters, seen their food, their manner of feeding, their sleeping quarters, their comforts and discomforts, and do not think it would be possible for any woman with intelligence and an iota of refinement to endure the life while she qualified herself in a practical manner for a better position. Were the best positions given to women without probation, it would not only be unfair to the men, but militate against perfect efficiency. The writer continues – "The work on board ship is by no means hard, skill rather than strength being requisite. Certainly it cannot be said that steering and keeping a look-out, splicing, serving, and knotting ropes, trimming, furling, and bending sails, washing, scrubbing, painting, tarring, and scraping, which comprise the general work of a ship, call for greater expenditure on energy than many employments at which women are now engaged, as in some factories, attending at the pit brow, or the common labour of charing." All of which confirms my opinion that the writer never tried the work he writes about: some is fairly light work, the rest is hard enough. There is no comparison between scrubbing and scouring a ship and cleaning a house. Many a woman who could do the latter would not attempt the former. Still, no doubt, some women of the lower classes would be both able and willing to go as able seamen – instances are on record where, donning masculine attire, they have done so – but as an employment for women above the scum of society it is not to be thought of. Women should rarely, if ever, embark in work that they are not by nature better fitted to carry through with success than men. If they do, though they may succeed in outshining a few masculine noodles, they can never hope to vie with representative men in the various arenas they enter. Above and beyond which a woman is very foolish to undertake work that in any measure destroys her femininity. One should hardly, by any stretch, admire a lady captain as a woman if she possessed the skin some old salts do. Then illusion is made to the healthfulness of a seafaring life. The strengthening effects of the life on our sex would be very great, several maladies women are subject to would be ameliorated or cured by the life; but against this it must be remembered that weakness, hysteria, and some other things are hardly known amongst women of the working class, whose illnesses are usually actual disease, rather than mixt of indolence, imagination, and affectation, Which latter would certainly be cured by women turning sailors. [The ending of the article is difficult to read].
Article in The Boroondara Standard Friday 21 August 1891

Is Marriage a Failure?
It would appear from the number of cases that are continually being tried in the law courts to settle disputes between man and wife, that marriage sometimes results in failure. At the Box Hill Court last week a very respectable looking woman named OKEWELL proceeded against her husband on a charge of assault. The man who had promised to love and cherish his wife, in a fit of drunkenness, so ill-treated her that if she had not managed to have got from him there is no telling what the consequences might have been. He threw three great lumps of wood at her, and had either of them have struck the woman on the temple she might have fallen a corpse at his feet. This is only one of a number of such cases that are cropping up every day, and there are hundreds of such quarrels that are settled out of court. Neither are these disputes between man and wife confined to the lower orders of society. We find them …(print unclear)… community, though, perhaps in the higher classes there is not the same amount of brutality displayed. This may be owing entirely to culture and refinement, but the fact exists nevertheless, that in cultivated and high society we often hear of family eruptions and separations. For every cause there must be an effect. The disturbances which take place between man and wife ought not to occur, and there must be some reason - which, doubtless, is most difficult to find. Before the marriage takes place – at least, in most cases – ardent love and devotion is manifested on both sides. The parties do not see sufficient of each other to be able to form an opinion as to whether they are suited the one for the other. They enter, of their own free will and accord, into a solemn compact at the Himenial altar, that they will be true to one another until the union is broken by death. The marriage ceremony is one of the most solemn and binding that any person can undertake, and when once performed should be rigidly adhered to. Still, what does experience in these matters teach us? Hardly a week passes but we hear of some ungrateful brute attempting to murder his wife, whom he had only, perhaps, a few months previously, promised to love and cherish.
One of the reasons which doubtless leads to so many unhappy marriages amongst the working classes is probably owing to the fact that young women are too eager to get married! In other cases, doubtless, there are many young women who have such miserable homes and who have to work late and early to make a living, that they are glad to accept the first offer that is made to them, and when they "marry in haste they have to repent at leisure." In the case of the first mentioned they do not exercise sufficient care - they very seldom, if ever, consider if the man to whom they are about to unite themselves for life is at all suitable - are their temperaments the same - do their liking and temperaments run in the same grove – is there any deep attachment the one for the other. These are questions that are very seldom if ever asked, and more seldom thought over. In nine cases out of 10 it is simply: Can the man keep me; and if he can do this there the matter begins and ends. The result is that they soon grow tired of each other, and the man, instead of finding enjoyment at his own fireside, prefers to spend his leisure hours at the gin shop. He comes home with his temper ruffled, and his mind and brain all on a ferment with drink, and then vents his spite on the poor creature whom he openly avowed to love and cherish. The sequel is soon told. The next step in the drama is the Police Court, which, when once entered, all hope of future happiness is for ever abandoned. In higher life many girls marry for title and fortune, and vice versa. There is nothing beyond the mere sentiment of respect on either side, and as time goes by they find that they are entirely unsuited to each other, hence a life of bickering and intense unhappiness is the result, and in the end final …………… for each other, and as time rolls by that love is strengthened, then we have the happy union, which we are glad to say in Australia far exceeds the miserable ones, which tend to make marriage a failure.
Article in The Box Hill Reporter Friday 22 May 1891

Petitions part 17

Local newspaper articles containing information about collecting signatures

Comment in The Spectator (and Methodist Chronicle) 4 September 1891

Great fun has been poked at the (Victorian) Alliance for taking up the cause of Womanhood Suffrage, but they may laugh who win. (p. 843)

News item in The Mount Alexander Mail (Castlemaine) Monday 10 August 1891
The monthly meeting of the Women's Christian Temperance Union was held…At the close of the meeting,"Womanhood Suffrage" petitions were handed round, which no doubt will be signed by a large majority of the ladies of the district.(p. 2)

News Items in The Guardian (Richmond) 1 August 1891
The women’s petition for women's franchise is being extensively signed. The ladies who have charge of it in Richmond are industriously at work and have already obtained a large number of signatures, but they want every woman in Richmond to sign. (p. 4)
Central Branch W. C. T. Union Meeting: Reports received re womens' petition. 1000 signatures already received. Those wishing to sign should do so at once, as the extended time will soon expire. (p. 5)
W. C. T. Union: We have received reports from the Burnley and Central branches of the W. C. T. U., which are of a very satisfactory character. The former branch speaks highly of the good work being done at the Armadale home, and that they have asked the Richmond parliamentary representatives to support Womanhood Suffrage. (p. 5)
News Item in The Guardian (Richmond) 5 September 1891
Central Branch W. C. T. Union Meeting: Womanhood suffrage papers were called in for presentation to Parliament. (p. 5)
News Item in The Guardian (Richmond) 3 October 1891
Centre Branch W. C. T. Union: On Mr Trenwith’s speech in Parliament being reported to the meeting (by members of the Union present at the time), the Burnley and Central Unions challenged the hon member for Richmond (Mr Trenwith) to prove that in any one case of the over 1400 signatures from the women of Richmond pressure of any kind brought to bear or any inducement whatever offered save the simple one of woman’s vote. (p. 5)

News Item in St Kilda Advertiser 9 September 1891
The expectation that in the course of a week or two Parliament will be invited to deal with the question of extending the suffrage to women caused the members of the W. C. T. U. at St. Kilda to arrange a kind of rallying meeting at the Congregational Church, Alma-road , on Monday evening, in order to arouse the enthusiasm of the ladies of St. Kilda on the question, and to obtain their signatures to a petition to Parliament…
Mr. W. J. Lormer, who with Mrs. Lormer, had organised the meeting, got the first ripple of laughter out of the gathering by narrating his experience with a lady whom he had asked to sign the petition for the suffrage. "Ah," she replied, "I have suffered long enough. Women don’t want any more sufferings."…
In Victoria it was found that all persons were entitled to vote except "criminals, lunatics, idiots, and women." And at last, Mrs. Lee declared, women found out what they were according to law. (p. 3)
News Item in St Kilda Advertiser 30 September 1891
An enthusiastic meeting of the St. Kilda Political Local Option Alliance held at the Alma-road Congregational schoolroom last Friday evening, Mr. W. Simpson, J.P., presiding. The Rev. E. Handel Jones delivered a logical address in advocacy of Woman's Suffrage. (p. 5)

Petitions part 16

Suffrage Time - Line

Male suffrage granted in Victoria subject to property qualifications for Lower House elections
Municipal rolls were used for compiling colonial electoral rolls. The Act referred to 'all persons' so women with property were allowed to vote in 1864 election
Phrase 'all persons' in the Act altered to 'all male persons' removing the right of women to vote
Education Act - "parents of children of not less than six years nor more than fifteen years shall cause such children (unless there is some reasonable excuse) to attend school for a period of sixty days in each half year." (clause 13)
Married Woman's Property Act. Legislation providing married women with the right to own and dispose of property in their own right
Victorian Women's Suffrage Society formed
Victorian Woman's Christian Temperance Union formed
Australian Women's Suffrage Society formed
Woman's Suffrage Bill presented in Legislative Asssembly by Dr Maloney, but not debated
Australian Women's Franchise Society founded
Woman's Petition presented to Victorian Parliament. Signatures collected by WVTU, Victorian Alliance and three suffrage societies
Women won the vote in New Zealand
Women won the vote in South Australia
Victorian Women's Suffrage Bill presented by Dr Maloney
National Society for Woman Suffrage founded (became United Council for Woman Suffrage)
Victorian Women's Suffrage League founded by the WCTU
Victorian Plural Voting Abolition and Women's Suffrage Bill presented by Mr G Turner
Women won the vote in Western Australia
Victorian Women's Suffrage Bill presented by Sir George Turner
United Council for Woman Suffrage reformed
Women's progressive League founded
Victorian Women's Suffrage Bill No. 1 presented by Mr McLean
Victorian Women's Suffrage Bill No. 2 presented by Mr H R Williams
Federation of Australian states and teritories
Victorian National Council of Women founded (WCTU one of the four original affiliates)
Women won the vote in New South Wales
Women's Federation formed
Commonwealth Franchise Act passed (women in all states able to vote in federal elctions and also stand as candidates in federal elections)
Women won the vote in Tasmania
Victorian Women's Suffrage Bill No. 1 presented by Dr Maloney
Victorian Women's Suffrage Bill No. 2 presented by Dr Maloney
First time women able to vote in a federal election
Vida Goldstein unsuccessfully contested federal Senate election
Women won the vote in Queensland
Women's Political Association formed
Victorian Women's Suffrage Bill presented by Mr Landon
Victorian Adult Suffrage Bill presented by Mr Prendergast
Victorian Adult Suffrage Bill presented by Mr Wall
Victorian Adult Suffrage Bill presented by Mr Prendergast
Victorian Adult Suffrage Bill No. 1 presented by Mr Prendergast
Victorian Adult Suffrage Bill No. 2 presented by Sir Thomas Bent
Women won the vote in Victoria but not the right to stand as candidates for Victorian parliamentary elections
Victorian Adult Suffrage Act proclaimed after receiving royal assent
Women won right to stand as candidates for Victorian parliamentary elections

Links to further information
The timeline of Women's achievements in Victoria

Petitions part 15

The Politicians

James Munro (1832-1908)
James Munro was born in Scotland on 7 January 1832. On leaving school he was apprenticed to a printing firm. In 1858 James, his wife, Jane, and three children migrated to Australia.

In Melbourne, he initially worked in the printing trade until 1865 when he established the building society, Victorian Permanent Property Investment Trust. He also acquired controlling interest in a number of companies including Melbourne Woollen Mill Company.

James Munro was involved in many business transactions including coffee palaces such as the Federal Coffee Palace, the Grand Coffee Palace and the Victoria Coffee Palace. His business dealing became increasingly speculative during the 1880s and he was declared bankrupt in 1893.

In 1872 James Munro commenced his involvement in politics as a member of the local District Road Board. He was involved in State politics as a MLA from 1874 to 1892 and was Premier of Victoria from November 1890 until February 1892. He then went to London until the end of the year as Victorian Agent General.

Before leaving Scotland James Munro had joined the total abstinence movement. In Victoria he was an active member of a number of temperance organisations and in 1880 and 1888 was President of the International Temperance Conference held in Melbourne.

James Munro supported the movement for female suffrage and in 1891 encouraged the WCTU, in particular, in their campaign for women to have the right to vote. In September he presented the Monster Petition to the Legislative Assembly. The 1891 Constitution Amendment Bill included a clause relating to woman suffrage but the clause was removed after the second reading as there was insufficient support from the members of the house.

Members of the WCTU and the Victorian Alliance remained grateful to James Munro for his support in presenting the petition to parliament and supporting the suffrage cause. When left parliament and took up an appointment in England he was provided with a farewell testamonial evening by members of the temperance movement.

James Munro can be considered a man of contraditions - although a person with strong moral convictions he became involved with speculative business deals causing hardship for his family and other people with whom he was involved.
Munro Family grave - St Kilda Cemetery
 He died on the 25 February 1908 and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery.

Further information
Munro, James (1832-1908) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition
St Kilda biographies - The Wowser Munro (1832-1908)
James Munro - re-member: database of Victorian MPs since 1851

Dr William Robert Maloney (1854-1940)
William Maloney was born on 12 April 1854 at West Melbourne. In 1880 he studied medicine in London. He returned to Australia in 1887. In 1889 he was elected to parliament and spent the next 51 years as a Labor politician. One of the platforms that he supported was woman suffrage and from 1889 he regularly submitted bills in support of women obtaining the right to vote.

Dr Maloney continued to practice medicine and in 1896 established the North Melbourne District Medical Club to treat people in need. He was also a supporter of Mrs Bessie Smyth and her birth control campaign and her work with the Australian Women's Suffrage Society.
Dr Maloney died on 29 August 1940.

Further information
Maloney, William Robert (Nuttall) (1854 - 1940) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition
William Robert Nuttall Maloney - re-member: database of Victorian MPs since 1851

Petitions part 14

Signatures on Page One


Six signatures were pasted beneath the preamble on to the front page of the petiton when it was assembled in a roll to present to the parliament. The names appear to have been taken from different parts of the petition. Information about five of the ladies is provided below.

Mrs William McLean
Margaret Arnot was born on 7 April 1845 in Scotland. Her family migrated to Australia and settled in East Melbourne. Margaret became a school teacher teaching at a number of schools until she married William McLean in 1869. Margaret and William both became active members of the Collins Street Baptist Church.

Margaret's father was treasurer of the Melbourne Total Abstinence Society and Magaret also became actively involved in temperance organisations. Margaret was a founding member of the WCTU in Victoria and was president of the Melbourne branch. In 1891 she was acting president of the WCTU and was president 1892-1893 and 1899-1907.

Margaret was actively involved in the woman suffrage campaigns writing two of the pamphlets used to explain the cause, Womanhood Suffrage and More About Womanhood Suffrage and helped organise the Woman's Petition in 1891.

At the Victorian Alliance Conference in 1891, Margaret presented a paper on Womanhood Suffrage

Margaret's huband, William was a businessman running a succesful hardware empire until the economic depression of the 1890s. They had eleven children. Margaret died on 14 February 1923 and was buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery.

Further information
McLean, Margaret (1845 - 1923) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition
McLean, William (1845 - 1905) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition

Mrs James Munro
Jane Macdonald was born in Scotland c1833. In 1853 she married James Munro, a printer. In 1858 the Munro opened the Victorian Permanent Investment Company and became a successful businessman until the economic depresion of the 1890s. The family lived in Armadale for a time and then in Toorak.They were members of the Presbyterian Church.

James joined the total abstinence movement in Scotland and in Melbourne continued his involvement in temperance groups including the Melbourne Total Abstinence Society and the Permissive Bill Association which became the victorian Alliance. Margaret supported his interest in the temperance cause.

James became a member of parliament and in 1891 was Premier of Victoria. He received the deputation on woman suffrage in May 1891 and suggested that the women should demonstrate that women wanted the vote. In September 1891 he presented the subsequent Woman's Petiton to the Legislative Assembly.

Jane and James had eight children. Jane died in 1904 and was buried at St Kilda Cemetery

Further information
Munro, James (1832 - 1908) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition

Marie E Kirk
Maria Elizabeth Sutton was born in London in 1855. In 1878 Marie married Frank Kirk an ironmonger who later became a bootmaker. Marie was a Quaker and worked as a missionary in the slums of London. She was an active member of the British Temperance Union and in 1886 attended a meeting in Toronto, Canada, to organise the World Woman's Christian Union. The Kirks migrated to Australia in 1886 and lived in Warragul before settling in Camberwell in 1888.

Marie Kirk was one of the founders of the WCTU of Victoria in 1887. Marie was secretary of the WCTU from 1888 to 1913 and was the first editor of the WCTU publication, The White Ribbon Signal, first published in 1892. She was also secretary of the WCTU of Australia.

Marie was instrumental in the co-ordination of the collection of signatures for the for the Woman's Petition in 1891 and in 1894 continued her involvement in the suffrage movement as one of the founders of the Victorian Women's Suffrage League in 1894.

The need for kindergartens in Melburne was another concern and in 1909 she founded the WCTU Kindergarten in Jesse Street, Richmond, later named the Marie E Kirk Kindergarten.
Marie Kirk died on 14 January 1928 and was buried at Box Hill Cemetery

Further information
Kirk, Maria Elizabeth (1855? - 1928) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition
Kirk, Maria (Marie) Elizabeth (1855 - 1928) Australian Women

Margaret Higinbotham
On 30 September 1854 Margaret Foreman married George Higinbotham, a lawyer and journalist who had migrated to Australia from Ireland earlier that year. In 1856 George became editor of the Argus newspaper, a position he held for three years. He returned to work as a barrister and then in May 1861 was elected to parliament for the seat of Brighton. One of his platforms was universal suffrage. He resigned from politics in the 1870s and returned to the law. In 1880 he became a Supreme Court Judge and in 1886 became Chief Justice.

Margaret and George has two sons and three daughters. George Higinbotham died on 31 December 1892. He was buried at Brighton Cemetery.

Further information
Higinbotham, George (1826 - 1892) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition

Bessie Lee (Mrs Harrison Lee)
Betsy Vickery was born at Daylesford in Victoria on 10 June 1860. Bessie had no formal education but became an avid reader. In 1880 she married Harrison Lee, a shiftworker with the railways. The Lees lived in Richmond. Harrison Lee did not approve with his wife's concern for the depressed in the community.

In 1883 Bessie began a career as a public speaker. A pioneer member of the WCTU of Victoria Jessie resigned from the WCTU Executive to work for the Victorian Alliance from 1890 to 1896. Speaking at meetings, taking pledges writing articles for the daily press and temperance publications, Bessie travelled throughout the country promoting the temperance message and became known as the 'Queen of Temperance'. Financially she survived with support from temperance supporters.

Harrison Lee died in 1908 and later that year Bessie married Andrew Cowie on the understanding that she could continue her work with the temperance movement throughout the world.
Bessie Cowie died in the United States of America on 18 April 1850.

Further information
Lee, Betsy (Bessie) (1860 - 1950) - article from Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition
One of Australia's Daughters: an autobiography by Mrs Harrison Lee. London: Ideal Publishing Union, 1900.

Petitions part 13

Suffrage and Temperance

Suffrage and Temperance Organisations
Two other women's suffrage groups in Victoria in 1891 were the Victorian Suffrage Society and Australian Women's Suffrage Society.

Victorian Women's Suffrage Society
The Victorian Women's Suffrage Society (VWSS) was created in 1884 by Henrietta Dugdale and Annie Lowe.
The first general meeting of the VWSS was held on 23 June where Henritta Dugdale proposed the motion, seconded by Annie Lowe, -
To obtain the same political privileges for women as now possessed by male voters, with the restriction of an educational test by writing legibly the name of the candidate on the ballot paper.
By July 1886 membership of the VWSS had reached 257. A major proposal was to work towards the introduction of a women's suffrage bill annually into Parliament until successful.
In the late 1880s membership of the VWSS decreased, partly due to the creation of new suffrage groups.

Further information
The Victorian Women’s Suffrage Society (1884 - 1908) - Australian Women's Archives Project
O'Donnell, Kate. Henrietta Dugdale: He-woman or pioneer suffragist in They are but women: the road to female suffrage in Victoria. 2nd ed.Suffrage City Press. 2008

Australian Women's Suffrage Society
Brettena Smythe formed the Australian Women’s Suffrage Society in 1888 after leaving the Victorian Women’s Suffrage Society because of her outspoken opinions on birth control.
Membership of the society was open to both men and women and a prominent member was Dr William Maloney, a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, who regularly introduced several (unsuccessful) women’s suffrage bills into parliament.
The Australian Women's Suffrage Society disbanded after Brettena Smythe died in 1898.

Further information
O'Donnell, Kate. Henrietta Dugdale: He-woman or pioneer suffragist in They are but women: the road to female suffrage in Victoria. 2nd ed.Suffrage City Press. 2008
The Australian Women’s Suffrage Society (1888 - 1898) - Australian Women's Archives Project

In the 1880s the various temperance groups in Victoria had formed an affiliated organisation and lobby group - the Victorian Alliance.

Victorian Alliance
Victorian Alliance for the Suppression of Liquor Traffic was formed in 1881. It had evolved from the Permissive Bill Association. James Munro was founding president of the Victorian Alliance.
It was the Victorian Alliance that arranged for the deputation on Woman Suffrage to the premier in May 1891 and members of the Victorian Alliance strongly supported the work of the WCTU, especially in relation to the collection of signatures for the Woman's Petition.
The Victorian Alliance provided the voice for many of the smaller temperance organisations in Victoria primarily through the publication of the Alliance Record - from 1881 to October 1887 as a monthly publication then bi-weekly until July 1892 when it returned to monthly publication. The issues published in 1891 included a page for the WCTU to use for communication with WCTU members. The Alliance Record therefore was a valuable tool for providing WCTU members and other readers with the latest information about WCTU activities. The Victorian Alliance annual conference provided opportunity for members of temperance groups to get together to discuss issues and strategies. In 1891 a section of the conference was devoted to the discussion of woman suffrage. Transcriptions of many of the sessions were published in the Alliance Record.

Petitions part 12

Suffrage and Temperance

Suffrage and Temperance Organisations
In the 1890s temperance groups supported suffrage groups in the campaign for woman suffrage. It was the network structure of the temperance groups, particularly the WCTU supported by the Victorian Alliance, and their use of media, particularly the Alliance Record which contributed to the large number of signatures being collected in only a few weeks.The Woman's Petition was an example of a number of groups joining together for one cause.

However, the support of the temperance groups could also be seen as being detrimental to the suffrage cause. The alcohol industry had connections with members of parliament and other business interests and strongly lobbied against the granting of female suffrage. There was a fear that allowing women to vote would alter the balance of power in parliament and legislation could be introduced that would impact upon the alcohol industry.

The members of the WCTU were aware that their actions would not always be popular with many people. As members of a temperance organisation they were considered, by many, to be wowsers. In addition they campaigned for woman suffrage and often saw their causes lampooned in the press. In the report of the activities for the year provided in the WCTU of Victoria 4th annual report it was noted -
We must be prepared to bear some persecution, many hard and untrue accusations will be hurled at us, which we must try and bear patiently until we have the power to prove that our only object in asking for the vote, is for the protection of Home, and for Purity.
The campaign against the alcohol industry also created a contradiction for the WCTU. In the 1890s many of the publicans of Melbourne hotels were women. Although the women of the WCTU were concerned about the evil of the effects of alcohol, especially on working class families, they also supported the right of the women hotel keepers have the independence to run their own business. This support for women to work however did not extend to the women who worked as barmaids. The WCTU considered barmaids should be banned from working in hotels.

The WCTU continued to support woman suffrage, especially in regard to ensuring that women were fully informed about the issues and were in a position so that when they did have the right to vote, they would use the vote well. During the following years new suffrage groups were established and the WCTU became affiliated with some groups and generally supported the suffrage organisations in their continuing campaign for the right for women to vote.

Petitions part 11

Woman's Christian Temperance Union

Franchise Department
As well as sharing a strong Christian, primarily Protestant, backgound many of the WCTU members had experience working with families facing poverty and hardship. Although it was commonly believed that a 'woman's sphere' was Home and a 'man's sphere' was Work there was also the growing belief that women should have the same rights as men, especially in making decisions that affected family and the Home. Having the right to vote in parliamentary elections would give women a voice in the decisions that affected their lives.
A summary of the reason why members of the WCTU supported woman suffrage and established a Franchise Department was provided in the history of the Geelong City Union of the WCTU 1888-1980 - For God, Home and Humanity by Judith Parteger.
The WCTU of Victoria established a Women's Suffrage Department in 1890. The WCTU advanced eqality and saw the vote as a woman's right as a citizen. The WCTU has always defended the principle of women having a life of usefulness and independence. It saw the vote as something women could do to further public good and express their special interests in family welfare. As most people believed that women, bearing the brunt of drunkedness in the home would vote against drink, it was also furthering the aims of the temperance organisations. Once the women did receive enfranchisement in 1902, in Federal elections, the call was to use the vote "wisely and well".(p60)
All members of the WCTU of Victoria were encouraged to support the work of the Franchise Department in obtaining the right for the women of Victoria to be able to vote. Mrs Wallace, Superintendent of the Franchise Department for Australasia, in 1891 outlined the requirements in a paper, Woman's work for suffrage. The debate on woman suffrage at a meeting held as part of the WCTU Convention in May 1891 provides many of the arguments on the question of women having the vote.

At the WCTU Convention in 1892 Mrs Wallace, in the Franchise Department Report, spoke about the petition and the failure to obtain the franchise:
There is no cause for discouragement in the failure to secure, in this first instance, that for which you petitioned. An "arrest of thought" has been secured. The question has been brought into the field of practical politics , made a debatable one, on which statesmen and politicians are expected to declare themselves. The granting of the ballot to women in this and other sections of the world may be delayed some time, but the discussion of the question will go on. We must work out the solution, and to this end consider the best means.
In the Alliance Record 11 July 1891 (p171), Mrs Harrison Lee issued A Woman's Plea for the Suffrage and stated her reasons as to why women should be able to vote -
I am a woman working with all the classes and conditions, for the benefit of our people. And knowing now the feelings of a very large number of our women, I plead on their behalf for Womanhood suffrage.
1st - Because it is their right.
2nd - because I feel assured they will use the privilege wisely and well.
3rd - Because they so intensely desire it.
They will use their power to advance public morality, to protect woman's kingdom - Home, to shield the weak, to denounce the wrong, and in every way uplift and enoble the individual and the nation.
They desire it because they are part of the nation, bound by its laws, taxed by its Government, responsible for its welfare. Allowed to share the burdens, yet not allowed the one privelege of voting.
They desire it now because they are powerless to protect their homes or children. with the vote they would have a voice in making laws for their own and their family's defence.
They desire it because it will place them where God placed them - side by side with woman's noble partner, man. A help-meet indeed.
Education was to be the major component of the continuation of the campaign. Each WCTU branch was to subscribe to the Alliance Record so that the members could be kept up to date with the latest information, pamphlets on woman suffrage were to be distributed and articles about suffrage submitted to the local papers. Members should also learn about political processes and an examination paper containing questions that the ladies should be able to answer was presented.
In April 1894 the WCTU organised a public meeting to encourage public assistance in obtaining woman suffrage and the result was the formation of the Victorian Women's Franchise League.

Petitions part 10

Womans Christian Temperance Union

WCTU departments

The work of the WCTU was divided into a number of departments. The following list shows the breadth of interests of the WCTU members. WCTU departments in 1891 included:
  • Y Department
  • Press Department
  • Lockup and Gaol Visitations
  • Peace and Arbitration
  • Juvenile Work
  • Rescue Work and Midnight Missions
  • Heridity, Hygiene and Narcotics
  • Scientific Instruction State Schools
  • Foreign Correspondence
  • Ship Visiting
  • Work Among Cabmen, Railway Employees and Soldiers
  • Hospital Visitation
  • Evangelistic
  • Scripture Instruction in State Schools
  • White Cross and Shield
  • Church and Sunday School
  • Unfermented Wine
  • Franchise
During the twentieth century drinking fountains were erected throughout Victoria to provide an alternative to alcohol if people were thirsty.
A number of these fountains exist today as marble and granite monuments such as the one in Sturt Street, Ballarat (1902)
 and in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne -opposite the Queen Victoria Market (1902).
 The smaller rough stone drinking fountain was erected in Bentleigh in 1961

WCTU branches

The symbol worn by members of the WCTU was a white ribbon representing Purity. The motto of the WCTU was For God, Home and Humanity. A central theme in the work of the WCTU was the importance of home and family life. The WCTU members were concerned with any issue that impacted upon the welfare of the family. With the large number of hotels and liquor outlets in Victoria in the 1880s and 1890s there was concern that the ready availability of alcohol resulting, in some cases, in alcoholism, could lead to violence and a reduction in family income and was therefore a threat to family life.

The members of the WCTU provided practical support for people, particularly women and children, in need as well as providing a strong education campaign on the dangers of alcohol and related issues. Members of the WCTU signed the pledge for total abstinence from alcohol and encouraged others to also sign the pledge.

The WCTU also supported the empowerment of women. Women were encouraged to become involved in social issues affecting the general community. The WCTU also generally supported the right, particularly of unmarried women, to earn a living. The role of women, especially opportunities in the workforce was changing in the 1890s.

The WCTU branches throughout Victoria held regular meetings to discuss issues and plan action. Members could also attend the annual WCTU convention held in Melbourne. Public meetings were also organised with speakers such as Mrs Harrison Lee promoting the message. Leaflets on issues such as the dangers of alcohol or the need for woman suffrage were circulated among the members or distributed in public places such as railway stations.

The press was utilised to promote the message relating to temperance and woman suffrage. The major organ for the temperance organisations was The Alliance Record which regularly reported any news regarding the work of the temperance movement in Victoria. Verbatim reports from conferences and meetings were printed as well as commentaries on articles published by the daily press such as the Argus and the Age newspapers. Branches were encouraged to have reports of local meetings published in local newspapers.

Petitions were used to canvass public opinion on issues and the members used this tool on a number of occasions. Collecting signatures for the Woman's Petition allowed the members of the WCTU to also promote the work of their organisation to a broader public.

Petitions part 9

Womans Christian Temperance Union

WCTU in Victoria
The banner appeared at the top of the WCTU section in each issue of the Alliance Record
The Woman's Christian Union of Victoria was established in 1887.

The WCTU began in the United States of America. According to the WCTU website the WCTU "was organized in 1874 by women who were concerned about the problems alcohol was causing their families and society. The members chose total abstinence from all alcohol as their life style and protection of the home as their watchword."

Branches of the WCTU spread to other countries including Canada in 1873, New South Wales (Sydney) in 1882 and New Zealand in 1885. In 1885 Mary Clement Leavitt, from Boston, visited Australia promoting the message of the WCTU and a number of local branches were formed, including branches in Victoria. In 1886 Mary Love arrived in Victoria from America and Marie Kirk arrived in Victoria from England. Both of these women helped found the WCTU of Victoria bringing the separate Victorian branches together into one network.

The WCTU groups in Victoria in 1857 were Ararat, Bairnsdale, Bendigo, Brunswick, Camperdown, Dunolly, Footscray, Horsham, Melbourne, Portland, Prahran, Sale, Walhalla, Warracknambeal, Warragul and Warrnambool.

A major strength of the WCTU was its network structure with branches quickly established in towns and suburbs in the colony. By 1891 there were 68 branches of the WCTU in Victoria plus 20 Young Woman's Christian Temperance Union branches. According to the 4th annual report there was a total of 3,250 members plus 338 "honorary members, Gentlemen".(WCTU 4th Annual Report page 3)

From its formation in Victoria the WCTU was an active organisation recruiting new members and establishing new branches. 1891 saw the formation of 27 new WCTU branches and 15 YWCTU branches providing an increase of 1,690 members for the year.

Petitions part 8

Collecting Signatures

The following extracts relating to the collection of signatures for the Woman’s Petition in 1891 were taken from the 4th Annual records and methods of work done by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Victoria during the year 1891 - Abstract reports from local branches published Jan 1892 (WCTU AR) and the Alliance Record (AR). Some extracts were also found in minutes of WCTU branches.

The result of our labours in securing signatures for the Women’s suffrage Petition were very gratifying, the result being 600 names. Our workers being few and time limited, the result was not as great as possible, nevertheless we found no difficulty in getting the names. (WCTU AR p15)

In reference to the petitions re ‘Womanhood Suffrage’ the opinion was expressed that if more time had been permitted a larger number of names could have been secured. (AR 19 September 1891 p238)

Mrs Harrison Lee was on the platform the last evening, and spoke for some length on the Woman’s Suffrage question, handling the subject in her own manner (AR 22 August 1891 p207)
Mrs Kirk gave a report of her visit to the Legislative Assembly, and our woman’s petition, and said we had hard work before us at the general election, the members for Hawthorn and the Eastern suburbs both being against us (AR 17 October 1891 p262)
Press Department – We met with great kindness from our local papers, also “Spectator” and “Southern Cross”, they are always willing to insert our reports. (130 members) (WCTU AR p16)

A thorough canvass of the town is being made for signatures to the Woman’s Petition (AR 22 August 1891 p206)

Mrs Marks, our superintendent of legislative department, brought the petition re Womanhood Suffrage before the meeting. Considerable interest is taken in the subject. (AR 5 September 1891 p221)

During the year we have canvassed the town for signatures to the following petitions issued by the Executive: - …(c) Praying Parliament to Grant Womanhood Suffrage. In each case we met with great success and encouragement.’ (WCTU AR p. 18)

Two of our members have been doing a little in Tract Distribution, and we have brought the Woman’s Suffrage Question as prominently as we could before the public by circulating literature and taken the petition round and in other ways. We obtained 105 names to the petition. (WCTU AR p18)
Two of our members have spent one afternoon canvassing for signatures to the Womanhood Suffrage Petition, and met with very encouraging success. We hope to be able to furnish a goodly list of names as our share. They also embraced the opportunity to seek for new members for our Unions, and received several promises. (AR Aug 8 1891 p194) We obtained 105 signatures to the Woman’s Franchise Petition (AR 3 October 1891 p250)

Murrumbeena, Rosstown and Caulfield:
Our monthly meeting was held at Mrs Evan’s attended by a large number of members, showing a lively interest in the Woman’s Suffrage question, which at this time is engrossing the attention of the district. (AR 19 September 1891 p238)

Port Melbourne:
We have also put a large number of lists for the women’s petition into circulation. Eight of our members are systematically visiting from door to door advocating our principles and taking pledges “going about and doing good” (AR 3 October 1891 p250)

Our members made a house to house canvass for signatures to the Woman’s Petition. They have also canvassed for ratepayers’ signatures, praying for a Local Opinion Poll to be taken… (WCTU AR p21)

Members of Parliament have been appealed to to support Womanhood Suffrage; petition also signed. (AR July 25 1891 p182)
We held a large meeting in Richmond Town Hall. When the Rev. D O’Donnell and Mr John Vale spoke on Womanhood Suffrage. (WCTU AR p22)

…last but not least our Women’s Suffrage Petitions, are among the happy reminiscences of the past year, yielding as they have done to spirit of happy union. (WCTU AR p22)

St Kilda:
… not forgetting the education given by Mesdames Lee and Fryers addresses on “Womanhood Suffrage” one member securing about 400 signatures to the Women’s Petition (AR 31 October 1891 p275)
Mrs Harrison Lee has addressed two Public meetings, under the auspices of the Union, on the Woman’s Suffrage Question (WCTU AR p23)

The Petition for Woman’s Suffrage was well signed. (WCTU AR p23)

Our sisters too have been working well for the Womanhood Suffrage petition; the last number given in was close to 1,000 signatures being one-fourth of the population of our little town. (AR 19 September 1891 p238) Over 1000 signatures to the Petition for Womanhood Suffrage were attained (WCTU AR p24)

West Brunswick:
The ladies of this union have done good work in house to house visitation for woman petition, and have been very successful (AR 22 August 1891 p206) Williamstown The woman’s franchise petitions have been warmly taken up by our members (AR 8 August 1891 p194)

Petitions part 7

Collecting Signatures

The following extracts relating to the collection of signatures for the Woman’s Petition in 1891 were taken from the 4th Annual records and methods of work done by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Victoria during the year 1891 - Abstract reports from local branches published Jan 1892 (WCTU AR) and the Alliance Record (AR). Some extracts were also found in minutes of WCTU branches.

Womanhood Suffrage was also discussed and it was thought desirable to move in that matter as soon as possible Womanhood Suffrage was spoken of secretary to send to Melbourne readings of petition and literature (Ballarat WCTU minutes July 14 1891)
Correspondence read from Miss Ackerman, Mrs Brown and Mrs Kirk with samples of literature in reference to Womanhood suffrage (Ballarat WCTU minutes July 31 1891)
The Secretary mentioned that we had sent 1, 660 names to Melbourne for women’s petition (Ballarat WCTU minutes September 30 1891)

Although this district is so small we are glad to be able to report that there is every prospect of a large number of signatures being affixed to the petition re Womanhood Suffrage (AR 22 August 1891 p207)

District mapped and Woman’s Suffrage petitions given out to be filled (AR 22 August p206)

We are getting the petition largely signed by women for presentation to Parliament. We have written…also to MPs, urging them to support the bill for womanhood suffrage. (AR July 25 1891 p182)
Our members worked hard to secure signatures to the women’s petition, and we were very successful. Many more could have been obtained but for the uncertainty of the time when they were to be presented. (WCTU AR p12)

Mrs Ferguson gave a very interesting address on Temperance, and urged all who had not already signed the woman’s suffrage petition to do so (AR 17 October 1891 p262)
During the past few weeks our sisters have been busy canvassing for signatures to the Women’s Petition for the Franchise, and while doing this we have been the means used by God in rousing several poor sisters who were far down in the toils of that fell destroyer strong drink. But thanks be to God they are now on their way rejoicing in the strength of One who is able to keep them. (WCTU AR p12)

Our members took up the Woman’s Petition, but owing to the great deal of sickness about, were not able to make a house to house canvass. We managed to get 80 signatures, but found a great deal of ignorance and apathy on the question, still we feel the very fact of asking for the signatures has caused a seeking after knowledge. (WCTU AR p14)

Several of our members have spent two or three days canvassing for signatures with to the womanhood suffrage petition and met with great success, and we hope to be able to furnish a goodly list of names to share. (AR 5 September 1891 p221)

A special meeting was held on the 30th to discuss Womanhood suffrage. Mrs McLean’s paper was read, and after some discussion it was unanimously decided to take up that work. We intend not only to canvass the town, but the surrounding district as well. (AR 22 August 1891 p207)
Great interest is felt in the Womanhood Suffrage question: 604 signatures have been sent from this district. (AR 17 October 1891 p262)
Great interest has been taken in the Womanhood Suffrage Question, and 604 signatures have been taken from this district. (WCTU AR p14)

Clifton Hill:
We have been very busy of late obtaining signatures for the Women’s Petition, and are still at work. (AR 19 September 1891 p238)

We have distributed the women’s petition, and some are doing very well with them (AR 5 September 1891 p221)

Re Women’s petition (suffrage) Mrs Roberts proposed Mrs Bottrell sec. That 10 sh. be sent for letterature (sic) on the subject, said letterature (sic) to be distributed when the lists are circulated. (Dunolly WCTU minutes 22 July, 1891)
It was decided to ask Mrs Deensdan to circulate a list in Caresbrook. 220 signatures on each list’ (Dunolly WCTU minutes 29 July 1891)
All the lists re Womanhood Suffrage must be sent in next meeting’ (Dunolly WCTU minutes 12 August 1891) Send the lists re Woman Suffrage Petition 6 yards long, 872 signature Written to Mrs Kirk (list) and Mrs Vale (invitation)’ (Dunolly WCTU minutes 19 August 1891)
Mrs Hubble moved Miss Bennett sec that Mrs Lee be asked to give a lecture on Women Suffrage if she was willing to give it on Wednesday afternoon. Time if our meeting not on Tuesday.’ (Dunolly WCTU minutes 26 August 1891)
Prop. By Miss James sec by Mrs Treloar that Miss Stibbet (Majorca) be written to and asked to circulate a list re Woman Suffrage and one in Havelock, if possible. Also write to Mrs Smith (Dunolly) if she will circulate one. (Dunolly WCTU minutes 2 September 1891)
A letter was received from Mrs Smith (Dunolly) a list for Woman Suffrage had been circulated there by Mrs Thomas (Dunolly WCTU minutes 16 September 1891)
A letter was read from Mrs Wallace asking what interest had been taken in Womanhood Suffrage asked to Mrs Roberts to answer the query. Mrs Bowman rep. that the base is not up yet at railway stations Mrs England said she would write about poster and send an order for 5 sh. worth of litterature (sic).’ (Dunolly WCTU minutes 23 September 1891)
Letter from Secretary of Railways re base for litterature (sic) saying our request cannot be granted. (Dunolly WCTU minutes 21 October 1891)
Letter from Mrs Kirk read on Womanhood Suffrage (Dunolly WCTU minutes 30 December 1891)

East Brunswick
This week 26 of our members start canvassing with ‘Women’s Franchise Petitions’ Districts are marked out for each and have been taken up in good earnest (AR July 25 1891 p182)
The Woman’s Petition has been taken up with a will; we are getting a great number of signatures; the time being extended we are able to get more, we fully believe in women’s rights. (AR 19 September 1891 p238)

At a meeting held on 5th August the following resolutions were passed :- That the Womanhood Suffrage Petitions be as widely distributed as possible for signature (AR 22 August 1891 p206)
A number of signatures have been obtained to the suffrage petition, and we expect more when all are in. The feeling of the members is strong on that point. (AR 5 September 1891 p221)
There is little to report as we have only been in existence three months, but still something has been done to further the cause in our town, we have added a good many names to the Women’s Suffrage Petition, and distributed Temperance literature as widely as possible. (WCTU AR p14)

Petitions part 6

Collecting Signatures

Alliance Record 3 October 1891 page 250
Victorian Year-Book 1890-1891
The population of Victoria in April 1891 was 1,140,405. (p210)
The number of men was recorded as 599,172 and the number of women was recorded as 541,233. (p210).
The total population of 'Greater Melbourne' was estimated as 491,378. (p216)
The estimated population for Richmond City was 38,770. (p216)

Vida Goldstein also described the attitudes of women to signing the petition: -
The few women who refused to sign the Petition were, almost without exception, those whose interests ended at the garden gate. Very rarely were refusals made by the wives of working men and by the women who took part in social reform outside the house. These women came face to face with the adverse conditions of human existance, with social, industrial, and moral problems, and saw the urgent need for women taking part in public affairs.
The result of the canvass was that wherever the workers went, in the city or the country, they found the great majority of women in favour of the vote, and of being on a footing of equality with men in every respect.
Vida Goldstein concluded: -
A striking feature of the canvass was that this feeling of equality between men and women was vital in the industrial suburbs. Never once were the canvassers met by a working man who said, "I won't allow my wife to sign the Petition."
Pioneer Pathways - sixty years of citizenship 1887-1947. page 117

In the biography of Vida Goldstein - That Dangerous Woman - Janette Banford provides addional information on Vida's views regarding the women who were prepared to sign the petition (pp. 17 – 18) -
Canvassing door to door, gathering signatures for the petition, was Vida's first work for woman suffrage. It was also excellent training for a future parliamentary candidate. Vida later wrote that the few women who refused to sign were those "whose interests ended at the garden gate." It was very rare to be refused by those women who were the wives of working men or who worked for social reform outside the home. These women knew the suffering and hardship of women and recognised the need for women to take part in public affairs. Working men encouraged their wives to sign:
If the husband opened the door, he would call his wife, saying "Here’s a lady who wants to know if you want the vote." And, invariably, she did. But in the more favoured suburbs, a husband would quite frequently refuse to allow his wife to sign; or a woman would say meekly and wistfully, "I’d like to sign, but my husband won’t let me."

Petitions part 5

Collecting Signatures


Add Alliance Record 11 July 1891 page 171caption
One of the women who collected signatures for the Woman's Petition was Vida Goldstein, described in a history of the WCTU, Pioneer Pathways as 'one of those who took part in the battle and made a valuable contribution to the Woman's Movement and other citizen activities in this state'.
Vida Goldstein, in an article written in 1937, described the collection of signatures for the Woman's Petition.
To obtain signatures for the Suffrage Petition, a house to house canvass was instituted in as many districts as possible. It was not practicable to canvass the whole Colony thoroughly, for the canvassers had to be well equipped to deal with the arguments for and against Woman Suffrage.
Some of the stock arguments were: - "Woman's sphere is in the home." "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." "Women do not want the vote." "Man is the sturdy oak, woman the clinging vine." "Woman's brains weren't as big as men's." "There never has been a woman Shakespeare." "No great country has enfranchised women - only a few wild-cat American states have done so." "It was Eve who tempted Adam." "The bible says women must submit to their husbands."
Pioneer Pathways - sixty years of citizenship 1887-1947. page 116

Petitions part 4

Collecting the Signatures

Instructions for collecting signatures for Woman's Suffrage Petiton
Alliance Record 11 July 1891 page 171
The Woman's Petition presented to Parliament consisted of more than 28,000 signatures.

The success in gathering so many signatures was largely due to a number of suffrage societies working together for the cause and the established network of branches of the WCTU throughout the state. Being able to publish regular reports and updates regarding woman suffrage and the collection of signatures in the petition in the bi-weekly Allianace Record meant that constant reporting of the project and its progress was available. Readers of the Alliance Record were aware of suffrage issues which had been discussed in articles in the paper in the months leading to the petition. The ladies of the WCTU had previous experience in collecting signatures for causes and when the word went out to collect signatures to create a Monster Petition the ladies were ready to comply.