Suffrage Petition 1891

The introduction on the petition website gives the background to the petition:

In an extraordinary effort to gain the right to vote for all Victorian women, a handful of dedicated women took to the streets in 1891 to collect signatures for a petition to present to the Parliament of Victoria. The result was an impressive collection of close to 30,000 signatures from women from all walks of life.

Tabled in Parliament in September 1891, with the support of then Premier James Munro, the petition sought that ‘Women should Vote on Equal terms with Men’.

Now one of the State’s archival treasures, the Women’s Suffrage Petition (1891) reflects the dedicated work of those women, who went from door to door across Victoria to collect the signatures. Its tremendous length earned it the name of the ‘Monster Petition’.

The original petition is approximately 260 metres long and 200mm wide and is made of paper pasted to cotton or linen fabric backing, rolled onto a cardboard spindle which rests on a Perspex stand. It takes three people three hours to unroll the petition from one spool to another – a slow and careful process. The approximate 30,000 signatures vary in quality and colour inks, even pencil.

Local women

As our contribution, the society is now compiling a list of all the women who signed the petition in Lilydale and surrounding area.

The petition is also a valuable resource for historians as it is the first time the women of the district have been officially recorded and now their contribution can be recognised. Where ever possible, we have included links to any other information we have about these women.

Anyone with further information is welcome to email it to us for inclusion on this website.

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