Sep 172014

1894 and 1897 Women’s Suffrage Petitions

In 1894 the Women’s Equal Franchise Association (WEFA) initiated a double petition – one for women to sign and the other for men. This was an important step in publicising and gaining support for the woman’s suffrage across Queensland.

There were branches of the Women’s Equal Franchise Association across Queensland and the report in the Warwick Examiner and Times 28 July 1894 showed the process. 

The Committee sent out petition forms across the state at least 150 copies of them per the article, then each area could determine if they wanted to submit their petition as a Queensland one or separately. Gympie along with the rest decided to submit as a Queensland submission. There were two petitions one signed by women and one signed by men.

The petition was presented to the Queensland Parliament on the 6th September.

The Warwick Argus (11 September 1894) reported the presenting of the petition, saying “the ladies gallery of in the Assembly was taken possession of early on Thursday afternoon by an eager throng of female suffragists, wearing white favours and looking as happy as if the hour of emancipation was at hand”

The petiton from 7781 women was bound and otherwise garnished with a profsuin of ribbons of a hue suggestive of temperance crusaders and the blue-stocking brigade” There was also presented a second petition signed by 3500 men.

A second group of women through the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union canvassed support again in 1897.

Through a project organised in a partnership between the late Dr John McCulloch, Dr Deborah Jordan and the Queensland Parliament, and with the contribution of the Queensland Family History Society, these two petitions have been digitally transcribed and developed into a database that is available to the public for free and is available on the Queensland Parliament website..

The ABC has written a nice article on the work involved in indexing the petitions. The well known Rosemary Kopittke and team were the prime forces in this indexing work.

Searching is easy. You can choose to search across all three petitions at once or in each separately. You can search and see if your ancestor signed any of these petitions and you can see their signature. There is a signature and an address so hopefully you will be able to distinguish your person.

You are able to download the image and on seeing the image you can understand some of the traumas undergone by the indexing team. Thank you Team.

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