Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Louisa Lawson Day!

If you know a woman anywhere in the world who has the right to vote, light a birthday candle today for Aussie poet Henry Lawson's mother. http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/henry_and_louisa_lawson.html

1848 Louisa Lawson (d. August 12, 1920), Australian feminist, inventor, poet, founder/editor of the Republican and (for 17 years) founder/publisher/editor of Dawn: A Journal for Australian Women; mother of Australian poet, Henry Lawson (1867 - 1922).

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

When female Australian British subjects won the vote with the Uniform Franchise Act (June 16, 1902), Louisa Lawson was hailed by her political sisters as "The Mother of Womanhood Suffrage". (Women in South Australia were the first in the world to win the right to vote and stand for election.)

Lawson was a poor, Mudgee-born bush battler, forced by marital breakdown, economic depression and drought to move with her four surviving children to the city. She was an idiosyncratic but indomitable woman, a prodigious worker, powerful writer and fine poet, a spiritualist, farmer, inventor, postmistress and shopkeeper.

Lawson spent thirty-five years of her hard life fighting for women’s rights. She founded the Association of Women, and with Henry, in 1887 - 88 she published the journal, The Republican. Louisa Lawson then became founder, owner, publisher and editor of The Dawn, the new nation’s foremost women’s political magazine, announcing that it would battle for women’s rights, and the vote. "Why should one half of the world govern the other half?" was Lawson’s rallying cry.

While she supported her children in a little house at 138 Phillip Street near Sydney's docks, she had to teach herself the difficult trade of setting lead type, because of a black-ban by the New South Wales Typographical Association. The Postmaster-General’s Department refused to register The Dawn for sending through the post. In 1891, Lawson helped launch (with Maybanke Anderson, Rose Scott, and Dora Montefiore) the Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW. She also founded the Dawn Club, which met in various locations in Sydney, including the tea rooms of the remarkable Quong Tart ...

"She struggled to get women the vote. Her son was Australia's most famous writer. They drove each other crazy." Novel about Henry and Louisa Lawson.

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