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Women and Politics in South Australia

Timeline for Women gaining the vote

1857

The start of parliamentary government in South Australia.

  All adult men (including Aboriginal men) except criminals or the insane, gain the right to vote for the House of Assembly and to stand as candidates. Men owning or leasing property gain the vote for the Legislative Council.

1861

Women property owners gain the right to vote in Municipal Council elections.

Women ratepayers are granted the right to vote in municipal and local council elections - the first in Australia. But they are not allowed to stand as candidates.

1870s

State education develops in South Australia.

The Advanced Secondary School for Girls and the University of Adelaide give women access to education. The South Australian Government insisted that women who studied at the University must also be allowed to take their degrees.
   

1885

 

Dr Edward Stirling moved a resolution in the House of Assembly in favour of women's suffrage for property-owning widows and single women. The resolution is adopted, but no further action takes place.

1880s

 

Organised campaigns for women's suffrage begin.

1886

 

Women's Christian Temperance Union is formed. It actively campaigns for women's suffrage. A Women's Suffrage Bill is introduced into Parliament, but it fails.

1888

 

Women's Suffrage League is formed to campaign for votes for women. An unsuccessful Women's Suffrage Bill is introduced.

1889

 

An unsuccessful Women's Suffrage Bill is introduced.

1890

 

Working Women's Trades Union formed. It supports the women's suffrage campaign. An unsuccessful Women's Suffrage Bill is introduced.
The United Trades and Labor Council and the Labor Party both formally support women's suffrage.

1891-1893

 

Two more Women's Suffrage Bills are introduced. They both fail

1894

 

The Constitution Amendment Bill (to change the Constitution to allow women to vote) is introduced and passed by Parliament. WOMEN GAIN THE VOTE.

1896

 

Women vote in the Legislative Council elections, for the first time in Australia