Saturday, September 15, 2018

Thames (NZ): Women's Suffrage 125th Commemorations

While my time at present doesn't allow for an in depth look at the Suffrage Movement in Thames, a few old articles will refresh the reader's memories of items previously covered.

First, a reminder that the women on the Thames Goldfield were I believe were real pioneers, and leaders in many social changes and advances. Our female teachers for instance held important appointments, alongside their male counterparts. Our Nurses and Matrons in particular equal to anywhere in New Zealand, in terms of leadership and innovation. We had women undertaking any occupation they chose, with leading stockbrokers being just one of them. And who can forget the powerful women who managed and ran many of the hotels around the town.

Let us not forget the claim that Thames, yes Thames gave women the first vote in New Zealand!

Soon after the goldfield opened, a Thames woman was allowed to vote, because she held a miner's right. Then in 1875: At the Annual Elections for the Thames Borough Council women were able to vote. The names included: Mesdames DAVY, BULL, SAWYER, FERGUSON, ZEIGLER and COOLAHAN. The paper noting that no one objected and that, "in so far as the Thames is concerned, female suffrage may be introduced successfully, not only in municipal elections, but in every other election where property gives the title to vote." THAMES ADVERTISER dated 10 Sept 1875.

Then in 1892 and 1893, our Thamesite women, rallied, attended meetings and most importantly signed the petitions that were circulating supporting the case for Female Franchise.

In 1892 at least 61 women signed the petition - you can search the names at NZ History online.
BABE, ELIZABETH, BERRIMAN, E; BROWN, EMILY; BUTT, LAURA; CHAPPELL, A; DAVIES, MARY; DAVIS, E E; DONOVAN, M S; DRIVER, ANN; DUNCAN, AGNES; FLEMING, LIZZIE A; FLEMING, EMILY; FRATER, Mrs; GARRETT, FLORENCE; GARRETT, EMILY; GLEESON, J; GRIBBLE, E L; GRUBB, E; HAMERTON, A; HAMMOND, M A; HAMMOND, MARY; HART, ISABELLA; HASELDEN, F; JAMIESON, SUSAN; JARVIS, JANE; JONES, ELIZA K; KERR, GRACE; KERR, JANET; KNEEBONE, HANNAH; LANGDON, L; LAWLOR, A E; MARTIN, BARBARA; MOYLE, MAGGIE; MOYLE, MARGARET J; NARBURY, M; NEIL, L; NODDER, EVA; NODDER, MARY; PAUL, A; PAUL, KATE; POWER, MARY; RABE, ELIZABETH; RICKARD, M A; RUSSELL, ADA; SAWYER, AGNES; SCOTT, ELIZA; SHEPPARD, EMILY; SNAITH, KATIE M; TAYLOR, CHARLOTTE; TAYLOR, J; THORBURN, A M; TOWERS, E A; TWOHILL, M; TWOHILL, NELLIE; VIVIAN, MARY; WALKER, A; Mrs WELLS; WEST, JESSIE; WHITEHEAD, H M; WILCOX, M A; WOOLLEY, MINNIE R.

Then in 1893, the women again stepped up to sign one of the thirteen petitions known to have been distributed around the country. Rosemary Killip's book "To Find A Fortune" has at least 114 names of those who signed for change!


 

Note there are other Thames women who signed in other districts.
Search for names HERE

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