George, Denise: Mary Lee: The Life and Times of a “Turbulent Anarchist” and Her Battle for Women’s Rights

Denise George

Mary Lee: The Life and Times of a “Turbulent Anarchist” and Her Battle for Women’s Rights, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 2018

Suffragist and social justice advocate Mary Lee was determined to leave the world a better place than she found it. The feisty 59-year-old widow, of limited means and with few family and friends, settled in Adelaide in 1879 and immediately set to work.

Undaunted by the opposition of antagonistic politicians and a conservative public, Mary thrust herself into high profile campaigns in support of female refuge, improving women’s working conditions and gaining women’s suffrage. In 1894, South Australia became the first place in the world to pass legislation giving women the right to vote and be elected members of parliament, thanks in no small part to Mary Lee’s energy and committed determination. (blurb)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by Pamela Burton. Reviews by Lisa Hill on ANZ LitLovers, Nic Klaassen on Flinders Ranges Research, Evelyn Conlon in the Irish Times. Background piece by the author. Australian Dictionary of Biography entry by Helen Jones (1986). Mary Lee featured in a podcast.

For more on woman radicals of this era, see Clare Wright’s You Daughters of Freedom. Our review is by Diane Bell.

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