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Calendar of events

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Discovering Sir Edward C Stirling: The Polymath Joy O'hazy

30 April 2019 (Part of the 2019 History Festival)

Sir Edward C Stirling was born in South Australia in 1848. After some years in England obtaining degrees in the natural sciences and medicine, he returned to  Adelaide and contributed to many areas of the colony. As a politician he placed the first motion for women's suffrage in Parliament, was on the University of Adelaide Council, helped form and steer the Adelaide Medical School and was Chair, and then Director, of the South Australian Museum. We'll explore these and many other facets of E C Stirling, in this, the centenary of his death.

FREE EVENT Bookings essential


Yesterday's Daughters: A History Exhibition Celebrating Women City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters

Monday to Friday throughout May (part of the 2019 History Festival)

This beautiful exhibition tells the story of our city's remarkable association with women who campaigned for political reform, social justice and a more egalitarian and compassionate society in the nineteenth century. These courageous women include Lady Mary Colton, Catherine Helen Spence, Mary MacKillop, Annie Montgomery Martin, Muriel Matters and others. They were activists, preachers, writers, teachers, performers, artists and wives, mothers and daughters. Featuring memorabilia and photographs from an important time past.

FREE EVENT Bookings not required

Women's Suffrage Behind the Scenes Women's Christian Temperance Union

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during May (part of the 2019 History Festival)

Women's suffrage according to those directly involved at the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. See the events leading up to the Suffrage Bill, those involved, and the effect that the Bill had on women after its success. See handwritten letters, personal accounts, and amazing insights, perhaps never viewed before. Our suffrage-themed tea room will be open for refreshments.

FREE EVENT Bookings required for groups only

‘I am a Feminist’ Lecture Series Centre of Democracy

Every Wednesday in May (part of the 2019 History Festival)

Join us every Wednesday in May at the Centre of Democracy to hear the histories and experiences of women in South Australia. The floor talks will explore the achievements of contemporary women today, while also reflecting on significant histories including the Women’s Liberation Movement. All welcome.

FREE EVENT Bookings not required

Local Women’s Suffrage Petitioners: The Law Brothers and Edward Baxter Yankalilla and District Historical Society

3 May 2019 (part of the 2019 History Festival)

The August 1894 petition of 11,600 signatures influenced parliamentarians with the result that legislation granting SA women the vote and the right to stand for election was passed. Dr Margaret Macilwain outlines conceivable motives of the Law brothers of Torrens Vale and Edward Baxter, Myponga, for signing the petition.

FREE EVENT Bookings essential

Talk on the Social Reformer Mary Lee by Denise George Historical Society of SA

3 May 2019 (part of the 2019 History Festival)

Denise George will talk on the Irish-born Mary Lee: the life and times of a 'turbulent anarchist', her women's suffrage and other social reform activism, such as equal pay for equal work, and especially Lee's proposal in Adelaide for women's trades unions in her fight against labour sweating. What were the achievements of Mary Lee (1821-1909)?

Cost: $5 Bookings required for groups only

Women's Suffrage in SA: The Men and Women Involved Joy O'hazy

6 May 2019 (part of the 2019 History Festival)

SA was the first place in the world to enable women to become members of parliament as a result of their struggle to obtain the vote. Come along to Old Parliament House to hear about Reverend Kirby, Sir Edward C Stirling, Mary Lee and Lady Mary Colton, among others.

FREE EVENT Bookings essential

How Muriel Matters Became a Suffragist Muriel Matters Society

7 May and 20 May 2019 (part of the 2019 History Festival)

An illustrated interlude on how South Australia becoming the first place in the world to grant women dual suffrage in 1894 led to an Adelaide girl being the first woman to 'speak' in the House of Commons and take flight as the first aeronautical protester. The life of Muriel Matters, whose family were closely involved in the formation of the Women's Suffrage League, could never have evolved had she not spent her formative years in Adelaide. Learn how everything was connected and why her use of a leather belt and chains was pivotal in winning the vote for UK women.

FREE EVENT Bookings essential

Noble & Notorious: Forgotten women from Proclamation to WWI State Library of South Australia

10 May 2019 (part of the 2019 History Festival)

Discover historical photographs, menus, diaries, letters, newspapers, maps, posters and films as well as books and magazines. You will have the unique opportunity to see some original materials close up.

FREE EVENT Book here

Women's Suffrage in SA: The Men and Women Involved Joy O'hazy

11 May 2019 (part of the 2019 History Festival)

SA was the first place in the world to enable women to become members of parliament as a result of their struggle to obtain the vote. We'll explore the context, the men, women and organisations involved, their aims and challenges and the flow on effects of this significant social reform. You'll hear about local activists as well as prominent suffrage leaders such as Reverend Kirby, Sir Edward C Stirling, Mary Lee and Lady Mary Colton.

FREE EVENT Bookings essential

Consuming Passions: Why Muriel Matters City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters and Muriel Matters Society

11 May 2019 (part of the 2019 History Festival)

The inspirational Muriel Matters has been restored to her rightful place in history because of a single woman's all-consuming passion and that woman is Frances Bedford, Independent MP. Come and hear Frances talk not only about Muriel’s significance and association with Norwood, but of her own personal journey along the way. Like Muriel, Frances Bedford has demonstrated that all women have a right and a need to participate in parliamentary decision-making. Come and enjoy what promises to be a wonderful afternoon and have a rare look at the historical items that are part of the Muriel Matters Society Collection.

FREE EVENT Bookings essential

Talking History – Mary Lee: In search of a turbulent anarchist History Trust of South Australia and the Centre of Democracy

14 May 2019 (part of the 2019 History Festival)

The disappearance of Mary Lee’s journals and most of her letters, along with a dearth of recorded women’s history, kept her contribution to history hidden for more than 125 years. Undeterred, author Denise George travelled to Ireland and her painstaking examination of local records both there and in Adelaide revealed the compelling story of a woman who took on the Establishment, and won.

FREE EVENT Book here

Reflections: Lincoln through the Looking Glass Port Lincoln History Group

21 May 2019 (part of the SA History Festival)

A set of four presentations about topics of local interest: women's suffrage, Port Lincoln's maritime history and oyster industry, and the story of some historic homes and buildings. Twenty-minute talks by local identities, accompanied by a display of seldom seen pictures and paintings of early Port Lincoln and district. Afternoon tea included.

Bookings essential

HerStory: Celebrate 125 years of women's achievement since winning the vote HerStory South Australia

25 May 2019 (part of the History Festival)

HerStory SA starts on the steps of Parliament House. Hear Frances Bedford MP as Muriel Matters sharing how women achieved their vote. Then take an easy seven-minute stroll with other passionate women past ‘live statues’ representing significant past and present women in SA to arrive at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens. Enjoy a BYO picnic with more storytelling. Wear white if you like. #SAsuffrage125 #HerStorySA

FREE EVENT - No Booking required

All Year

Her Story: Inspiring Women in Science South Australian Museum

16 November 2018 to 15 November 2019

Women have made significant contributions to science throughout history. Her Story: Inspiring Women in Science will celebrate four amazing women who are blazing their own trails and encouraging others to follow in their footsteps. By sharing their stories, these role models inspire the next generation of young women to follow their dreams and careers in science and humanities.

FREE EVENT - No Booking required

Ceiling Smashers

The Advertiser has put together a series of pieces celebrating 125 women they call 'ceiling smashers' - women who broke down barriers in a range of fields. Click here to have a look at the 'ceiling smashers' series!

Coming Up...

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24 Apr 2019
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