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Brothels and lunatic asylums in latest speaker's corner exhibition

March 11, 1994 Media release by Rosemary Cadden

An exhibition that encompasses the famine in Ireland, brothels, factories and lunatic asylums in late 19th Century Adelaide—as well as the struggle for votes for women—will be officially launched at Speakers Corner in Old Parliament House on North Terrace today.

Times are ripe: rotten ripe for change is the story of Mary Lee, a passionate fiery Irishwoman who campaigned 100 years ago for women to have the right to vote-at a time when it was lawful for a man to beat his wife "so long as he does not use a stick thicker than his thumb!"

Mary Lee is just one woman whose name, contribution and achievements have until recently been to a great extent conspicuously absent from historical references. During the Centenary, this exhibition is just one event which will give Mary Lee the credit she deserves.

Officially launching the exhibition is South Australian writer Elizabeth Mansutti, whose booklet on Mary Lee Let her name be honoured is to be distributed to high schools throughout Australia.

Mary Lee will also feature on a special coin to be produced by the Royal Australian Mint; she will feature on stamps produced by Australia Post; and she is featured on a tapestry to be hung in the House of Assembly, which will be the first symbol in State Parliament of South Australia's leading role in equality and democracy for all.

The exhibition, compiled by writer Pam Maitland and designer Kerry Reid, is on display until April 30.


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