Sunday, October 23, 2011

Henrietta Augusta Dugdale: an activist 1827-1918

Susan Priestley has written a well researched book on the life of Henrietta Dugdale, a pioneer member of the women's suffrage movement in Victoria and generally a campaigner for women's rights. Born in London in 1827 she came to Australia with her first husband, Junius Augustus Davies, in the early 1850s. No record of the death of her husband has been located but it is assumed that he died in 1852. In  March 1853 Henrietta married William Dugdale, they had three sons and  lived and farmed in Queenscliff for many years.  From 1869 Henrietta began writing letters to the papers, initially anonymously, on women's issues. By 1870 the marriage had dissolved and Henrietta moved to Camberwell from where, until 1887, she continued her campaigning on women's issues including the formation of suffrage societies. Her sons had moved to New Zealand with their father and when her husband died in 1903 Henrietta married Frederick Johnson. After Johnson's death in 1913 she moved to Point Lonsdale where she died in 1918.

As well as describing the life of Henrietta and her family the book provides a picture of  life in the developing colony in the nineteenth century as well as issues affecting women that were important towards the end of that century and early twentieth century. The politics of the suffrage movements are also examined.

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