Suffrage Petition


Do you have suffragist in your family tree?

Did any of your ancestors sign the 'Monster Petition'?

Merrill O'Donnell and Stephen Brooks members of the Colac & District Family History Group collected their stories and published a book  we would like to do the same.

We have started to collect information on local women. To add your story or read about a few of the women collected so far please click here

Tabled in the Victorian Parliament in September, 1891, the Women's Suffrage Petition, supported by the Premier, James Munro, contained nearly 30,000 signatures. The petition asking for women to be giving the right to vote on equal terms with men, contained signatures collected in Victorian cities and town and small settlements by women who went from door to door asking other women to sign, The original petition is 260 metres long and 200 millimetres wide and is made of paper pasted to cotton or linen fabric backing rolled on to a cardboard spindle which rests on a stand. The petition was most significant in the campaign for women's rights and, although women were not granted the right to vote in State elections until 1980, they received both the right to vote in Federal elections and to stand for Federal Parliament in 1901, the first country in the world to give these rights. (New Zealand was the firs country in the world to give women the right to vote in government elections).

Suffragist is a more general term for members of the suffrage movement. The term 'suffragette' is particularly associated with activists in the British WSPU, led by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, who were influenced by Russian methods of protest such as hunger strikes.

Read the State Library of Victoria Blog here

To download a list of names for women from Warrnambool and district who signed the Women's Suffrage Petition in 1891, please click here.

To see a copy of the origin signatures on the Parliament of Victoria web page click here