Friday, September 16, 2011

Thames Women & the Suffrage petition

"On 19 September 1893 the governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant all women the right to vote in parliamentary elections." NZ History


In "To Find a Fortune" by R Killip, there is a section on the Right to Vote. Thames women were vocal on the need for women to have the right to vote and this was witnessed at meetings held by groups such as "The Thames Literary and Debating Society" where the speakers were mainly men, but women attended in great numbers. Women such as KATE CAUSLEY, who was a teacher at Thames High school vocally affirmed her support for women's franchise.

Thames women signed the 1892 and 1893 petitions for women's suffrage, a cross-section of society signed the petition, from single to married women, to those involved in domestic duties to those who were employed outside the home. There were 13 petitions, most details lost.

What an exciting time it must have been for women, when the right to enrol came in force September 1893. All persons over the age of 21 years who had resided in the colony 12 months and in the Thames District for three months were entitled to vote. Mrs PURNELL made a statement at a local meeting that was reported in the Thames Star 8/11/1893, detailing the 12 reasons why women should vote.

You can search the names of women who signed the 1893 suffrage petition at New Zealand History online. Refine your search by town if ddesired to get all the THAMES names.The 1892 names can be downloaded as an excel file. (see bottom of this page)

Below is a sample of the signatures that appear in the book: "To Find a Fortune" by R Killip

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