State Records Home
Personal tools
You are here :: Home The State Archives Research topics Women in the records Women's advocacy

Women's advocacy

Records relating to women's advocacy, or the active support and espousal of concepts such as universal suffrage and citizenship, can be difficult to locate.

Colonial Secretary's papers | Citizenship | Links to other resources

A simple search on Archives Investigator using terms such as suffrage, citizenship, franchise or equal rights results in only a few record series. Similarly, an advanced search: record item - title search using the above terms, brings up few results.

The following agencies though, may contain records of interest:

Colonial Secretary's papers

There appear to be few records within the collection relating to Women's Suffrage. There are some references to the Christian Woman's Temperance Union and other lobby groups in the Colonial Secretary's correspondence. The following table includes some letter numbers from the Indexes to Letters received and should be used as a guide for further research. No attempt has been made to follow these letter numbers through Letter registers (NRS 922) or to find out if the letters have survived (NRS 905).

Woman's Christian Temperance Union. View larger version Typed transcipt from a CWTU meeting Telegram from the Principal Under Secretary Second page of the Women's Franchise Act

NRS 922 Indexes to letters received

Year Shelf list Copied Group Letter #
1891 [5/2566] Reel 2964 Woman's Temperance Union 5608, 12922
1892 [5/2569] Reel 2965 Womanhood Suffrage League 13132
1894 [5/2575] Reel 2967 Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Asia 8497
1894 [5/2575] Reel 2967 Young Woman's Christian Association (YWCA) 4467
1896 [5/2581] Reel 2969 Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) 16246
1899 [5/2591] Reel 2972 WCTU 11229, 22972
1900 [5/2594] Reel 2973 WCTU 4639, 24772
1900 [5/2594] Reel 2973 Womanhood Suffrage Newton Branch League 18781
1901 [5/2597] Original WCTU 8963
1901 [5/2597] Original Womanhood Suffrage League 1662
1902 [5/2600] Original Women's Social and Political League (Educational) 19701,19751, 20189, 21106
1902 [5/2600] Original Womanhood Suffrage League 15407, 17306, 18354
1902 [5/2600] Original YWCA 11182
1903 [5/2603] Original Women's Political and Educational League 16 letters
1904 [5/2606] Original WCTU 5518
1904 [5/2606] Original Women's Progress Association Leagues re Brisbane 11 letters
1905 [5/2609] Original WCTU 3594
1905 [5/2609] Original Women's Progress Association 6347
1905 [5/2609] Original Women's Political League 15160,15782, 17268, 17732, 20084,
1906 [5/2612] Original WCTU 16146
1906 [5/2612] Original Women's Political League 1079, 17711


Royal assent to the Women's Franchise Act. View larger image Second page of the Royal assent to the Women's Franchise Act. View larger image Copy of the Women's Franchise Act. View larger image Proclamation of the Women's Franchise Act of 1902. View larger image

The same or similar search phrases might be useful to locate more correspondence in the Colonial Secretary continuing on from 1907 or in the Letters received in the Premier's Department ( NRS 12062).

We have also identified a Colonial Secretary's Special Bundle ( NRS 905), which is described as a Proclamation by the Governor of NSW concerning an act to extend the parliamentary franchise to women, 3 July 1903, M6785/B in [5/6769].

There is also an Attorney General and Justice Special Bundle ( NRS 333), which is described as Papers including Women's Legal Status Bill, 1905-39 in [3/3165].


The Naturalization records, which can be named searched, are a good starting point for further research into non-British immigrant women in NSW up to 1903. The Colonial Secretary's Papers may also provide further details on applications for naturalization.

Links to other resources