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Diary launch to celebrate women's "firsts"

7 October 1993 Media release by Rosemary Cadden

South Australian women have the chance to enter their own "firsts" during 1994 in a diary just released which celebrates the experiences and achievements of scores of women since colonisation. The 1994 diary marks the 100th anniversary of South Australia becoming the world's first democracy to secure the right for women to be elected to Parliament and, at the same time, becoming the first Australian colony to grant women the right to vote.

The diary is just one commemorative event planned by the Women's Suffrage Centenary Steering Committee to celebrate South Australia's leading role last Century in advocating women's rights.

The diary:

  • contains fragments of history missing from official records.

  • acknowledges significant dates including the passing of legislation.

  • recognises women who have shaped and who are still helping to shape South Australia.

  • provides interesting trivia which may come in useful at quiz nights!

The committee deliberately chose photographs which depict politicians as human beings and feature significant women in relaxed and action poses.

Fifty three women are featured in the diary.

One man in the diary is Hubert Opperman, the Minister for Immigration in 1964, pictured on a bicycle built for two on the campaign trail with Dame Nancy Buttfield, who was the first South Australian woman elected to Parliament when she was appointed Senator for South Australia in 1955.

Other "firsts" include the first woman wharfies (Michelle van Rens and Monica Judd), the first woman fork-lift driver (Michele Dougherty) and the first woman Ombudsman (Mary Beasley).

Gillian Rolton, champion equestrienne who won a Gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, is featured in the diary and will officially launch the publication.

The launch will take place in the Queen Adelaide room at the Adelaide Town Hall on Wednesday October 13.

A number of women featured in the diary will attend the function.

The diary was compiled by Pamela Attwood, who urges South Australian women to record their day-to-day lives in "what is a very important year"

Pam said the records to show future generations what life was like in 1994 could be handed down to a daughter -or could be added to the diaries of other women to become part of the State collection in the Mortlock Library of South Australiana.


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