In 1894 legislation was passed in South Australia providing women with the right to vote. In 1994 the Royal Australian Mint commemorated a century since this event with the release of this five dollar piece. The
The Australian suffragettes during the 19th century and the eventual women's enfranchisement in 1894 has heavily influenced and moulded the society in which we live today. The work and campaigning that was done by the suffragettes and certain women's groups including the Social Purity Society and the Women's Trade Union set an example not only to the whole of Australia but also to the rest of the world. Mary Lee, born Mary Walsh in 1821, was heavily involved in a number of the women's groups and was one of the founding members of the South Australian Women's Suffrage League. Mary Lee was a smart woman who used her wit and logic in her correspondence and public speaking, quickly rallying supporters for the campaign. Attempts to pass the bills to grant Women's Suffrage all failed between the years of 1889 and 1893 but encouraged by the granting of Women's Suffrage in New Zealand, Mary Lee, joined by a number of determined women travelled throughout Southern Australia compiling a list of 30,000 signatures. The papers, taped together to create a roll 122 metres long helped women to secure the right to not only vote but also to stand for parliament as the grant was passed on the 18th December 1894. 2 This was the first time ever in the world that women were entitled to stand for parliament and it set a precedent for the rest of the world.