Records relating to women's advocacy, or the active support of concepts such as women's suffrage and citizenship, can be difficult to locate.
A simple Collection Search using terms such as suffrage, citizenship, franchise or equal rights brings up only a few results.
The following agencies, however, may contain records of interest:
- Colonial Secretary (Agency 16)
- Anti-Discrimination Board (Agency 32)
- Equal Opportunity Tribunal (Agency 34)
- Administrative Decisions Tribunal (Agency 35)
- Ethnic Affairs Commission (Agency 1068)
- Electoral Office (Agency 1156)
- Office of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment (Agency 2223)
- Government Labour Bureau (Agency 2367)
- Public Employment Office (Agency 3893)
Colonial Secretary's papers
There seem to be only a 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 can be used as a guide for further research.
NRS 922 Indexes to letters received
|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||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|
|1903||[5/2603]||Original||Women's Political and Educational League||16 letters|
|1904||[5/2606]||Original||Women's Progress Association Leagues re Brisbane||11 letters|
|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||Women's Political League||1079, 17711|
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
- NSW Parliamentary Archives Resources - Women in Parliament
- State Library NSW Mitchell & Dixson Libraries and Manuscripts Collections - for records relating to women who were involved in the suffrage movement such as Rose Scott, Louisa Lawson, Edith Fry or Kate Dwyer
- National Foundation for Australian Women - Australian Women's Archives Project - for information on groups such as the Women's Electoral Lobby, The Women's Club or The Dawn - a journal for Australian women and links record collections around Australia.