White linen handkerchief with decorative border woven into the fabric, printed images and text in blue. At the centre top, a portrait of Queen Victoria wearing a crown. She is flanked by portraits of the Duke and Duchess of York, c 1901. In the centre, maps of Australia and New Zealand with State borders defined and labelled. In the bottom left, a portrait of Lord Hopetoun, Australia’s first Governor General, with Lady Hopetoun in the bottom right. Text across the centre.
[Photo courtesy of the National Library of Australia, image number oai.museum.vic.gov.au.247021]

As the 20th Century dawned and the Australian nation was born, Australian women led in democratic reform, making the new nation among the first where women had the same rights as men to vote and to stand for public office.

The theme for the next Women’s History Month Australia in March 2013 is Seeking Founding Mothers’, identifying women involved in shaping Federation and the Australian Constitution in 1901, as well as reviewing how we built on their achievements in the last hundred years – and of our progress towards our own legacy for the dawn of the 22nd Century.

Women’s History Month started in Australia in 2000, and since 2005 Women’s History Month has highlighted a particular area of women’s achievement with a different theme each year. Past themes, such as Racy Women; Musical Belles; and Arm in Arm: Women Working Together, can be explored in the online gallery.

These women, whose work helped turn colonies into states and create our nation, will be the stars of Women’s History Month Australia next March. This project will also contribute to other commemorations in Australia in 2013, including Constitution Day on 9 July and the Centenary of the founding of Canberra, the national capital.

“The pioneering legacy of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers is revealed not only in our museums and history books, but also in the fierce determination and limitless potential of our daughters and granddaughters.”

This was a quote from US President Barak Obama, which may well have been said in relation to the US Women’s History Month, but it could be easily used in the context of our Australian ‘founding mothers’ as well.

Let the Forum know about your own Seeking Founding Mothers Women’s History Month discoveries and events, and check out their website to share in the federation of ideas and happenings in 2013!

More info …
Website: www.womenshistory.net.au
Email: info@womenshistory.com.au
Address: The Australian Women’s History Forum, PO Box 362, Curtin, ACT 2605