Thursday, 27 December 2007

Women's Suffrage Petition

2008 marks 100 years since Women gained the right to vote in Victoria. The other Australian states had already granted women the right to vote, South Australia being the leader, where women had the right to vote and stand for Parliament granted in 1894. New Zealand can claim to be the first country in the world where women were allowed to vote in a General election. This was in 1893. Australia was the second country, when women achieved the right to vote, in Federal elections, in 1902. New Zealand and Australia led the world in women's suffrage - the United States didn't allow women to vote until 1920 and the United Kingdom had introduced limited female suffrage in 1918 and extended the vote to all women in 1928.

In 1891 women in Victoria established a petition, presented to the Victorian Parliament, to agitate for the vote for women. http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/about/the-history-of-parliament/womens-suffrage-petition

This is an amazing resource of nearly 30,000 signatures. The signatures were collected by women
who went door to door all over Victoria. The Women's Suffrage petition has been digitised and is fully searchable by name or address. The indexing was undertaken by volunteers from the Genealogical Society of Victoria and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. If you are lucky you might find your Grandmother's name and signature. The image, left,  is of the original 260 metre long petition, which is made of paper pasted onto cotton.

I have tried to find the names of every woman, from what is now the Casey Cardinia area, who signed the petition - there were 62 all up - 41 from Pakenham, 13 from Gembrook South, 3 from Officer and one each from Cranbourne, Nar Nar Goon, Beaconsfield, Berwick/Harkaway and one from Eumemmerring. It does appear that the petition needed a person in the town to act as a catalyst, such as what appears to have happened at Pakenham as otherwise I would have thought that there would be greater numbers from Berwick and Cranbourne. Dandenong, which would have been larger than Pakenham, Berwick and Cranbourne had only two people sign the petition.

Here are the names -
ABLETHORP, Emma - Gembrook South. You can read about the Ablethorpe farm at Gembrook here.
ALLEN,Jessie - Pakenham
BRUNTS, J - Cranbourne - this should be BRUNT. Mrs Brunt may have been away on holidays when she signed as the other women who signed the petition above and below her came from Kyabram.
CHURCH, Anna - Pakenham
CIBICK, Elizabeth -  Beaconsfield
CLANCY, Elizabeth - Pakenham
COLVIN, Cassie - Pakenham
COLWELL, Julia - Pakenham
DOWD, Emma -  Pakenham
DWYER, Mary - Pakenham
ELLIS, Emma - Pakenham
EYART, Margaret M.J. - Pakenham
FAHEY, Margaret - Pakenham
FERGUSON, Elizabeth - Pakenham 
GIBSON,  Margaret  - Pakenham
GILLMASTIN, Fanny - Pakenham
GOODALL, Bessie - Pakenham
HALLORAN, Joanna - Pakenham

HICKS, Elizabeth - Officer
HILLMAN, Adeline - Pakenham
HILLMAN,Eliza - Pakenham
HILLMAN, Julia A.- Pakenham
HITCHINS, Annie H. - Gembrook South
LEWIS, Amelia J. H. - Pakenham
LEWIS, Elizabeth - Gembrook South
MACKIE, Helen A. - Harkaway, Berwick. I am not sure if the Mackie property was called Harkawaybut I think more likely that they lived at Harkaway and she added Berwick to help identify her location. Helen was amongst women from Malvern and Armadale on the petition, so was presumably 
visiting. 
MARGENGARK, Lizzie - Pakenham
MARTIN, Nye - Pakenham
MASON, Elizabeth - Pakenham
McGOWAN, Annie - Gembrook South
McGOWAN,  Henrietta C. - Gembrook South
McRAE, Mary - Pakenham
MURPHY, Ellen Agnes - Officer.
NEILSEN, Margaret - Pakenham

NUGENT , E - Pakenham
PATERNOSTER, Maisie - Pakenham; PEARSON, Agnes - Pakenham
REECE, Ellen Elizabeth - Officer
ROBERTS, Mary - Pakenham; ROBERTSON, Mary - Pakenham
SASKER, Mrs - Nar Nar Goon. Mrs Sasker was in Maryborough when she signed the petition.
SHORT, Margaret - Eumemmerring. Margaret was amongst women from Malvern and Windsor 
on the petition, so once again she must have been visiting. SMARTT, Bertha E - Gembrook South
SMITH, Elizabeth - Pakenham
SMITH, Ellen - Gembrook South
SMITH, Margaret - Pakenham
SMITH, Minnie - Gembrook South
STANFORD, Jessie -  Pakenham
SWANSON, Maria - Pakenham
UNWIN, Jane - Pakenham
URE, Jane,  Mrs  -  Gembrook South. You can read about the Ure family of Gembrook, here.
WADSWORTH, Constance - Gembrook South

WADSWORTH, Flora - Gembrook South
WADSWORTH, J.L. - Gembrook South
WALTON,  Lily - Pakenham;
WARNER, Sarah -Gembrook South
WATERS, Jane - Pakenham
WATSON, A. M., Mrs - Pakenham
WATSON, Cecily E. - Pakenham
WATSON, Mary E. - Pakenham
WHUSTONE, Eugenie - Pakenham
WILSON, Emily - Pakenham.



This is page 368 from the petition and has some Pakenham and Gembrook South names.

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