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A little Australian history lesson! Around the time my little press 'Mavis' was manufactured

A little history lesson!

'Mavis' my Golding Pearl Old Style #3 was manufactured in 1893, Boston, USA. It was shipped to Sydney where it remained until I dragged her over to Perth. I thought it would be nice to research the events that were shaping Australia during the 1890's, when my little press would have been 'brand new' and in full operation!

'An Australian Native' By Tom Roberts, 1888

The 1890's

The British had only been colonised in Australia for just over 100 years! 1890 - 6 April - Banjo Patterson's The Man from Snowy River is published. 1891 - 5 January - The 1891 Australian shearers' strike begins, which leads to the formation of the Australian Labor Party. 1893 - 14 June - Gold discovered at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia by Paddy Hannan and two others. 1894 - 18 December - South Australia is the first colony to give women equal franchise with men. 1895 - 6 April - The song Waltzing Matilda is first performed at the North Gregory Hotel, Winton, Queensland.

The printing industry and its role in Australia's women's suffrage movement

Wouldn't it be awesome if my Golding Pearl (Mavis) was a press during the women's suffrage movement and it had a hand in printing 'The Dawn"? It's easy to imagine this elegant press (pictured left) being operated by suffragettes! The Dawn: A Journal for Australian Women was an early feminist journal published monthly in Sydney, Australia between 1888 and 1905.

In the first edition, Louisa Lawson, writing under the name of Dora Falconer, wrote:

"Every eccentricity of belief, and every variety of bias in mankind allies itself with a printing machine, and gets its singularities bruited about in type, but where is the printing-ink champion of mankind's better half? There has hitherto been no trumpet through which the concentrated voice of womankind could publish their grievances and their opinions ... Here then is Dawn, the Australian Woman's Journal and mouthpiece." —Dora Falconer, (Louisa Lawson) 15 May 1888 "The Dawn"

The whole journal was printed by an all female team of journalists, editors and printers. The unionists in the New South Wales Typographical Association, dis-allowed the Dawn printers membership into their all male union, in part because the women were paid substantially less than men. The association argued that the discrepancies in pay were such that men would be unable to compete, as well as arguing that the work was too dangerous for women to engage in. At one stage a member visited their offices to "harangue the staff" – only to be removed after having had a bucket of water thrown on them by Lawson. [http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/The_Dawn_%28feminist_magazine%29]

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