General Biographical Accounts of Muriel Matters Life:
- The Australian Dictionary of Biography online:
- The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online:
- The Wikipedia entry on her life:
- David Brooks, ‘Muriel Matters: South Australian Suffragist,1877-1969’, South Australian Parliament Research Library, research paper # 4784, July 2008. (Available through The Society)
- Steven Anderson, ‘The Born Agitator: A Study Into the Life of Muriel Matters’, unpublished research paper, The University of Adelaide, 2009. (Available through The Society).
Information from the above resources can only be used with prior written consent of The Muriel Matters Society and appropriate attribution.
Hear Muriel’s Voice!
This is the only known voice recording of Muriel Matters. Recorded in 1939, it is a portion of a speech she gave to BBC Radio. Containing a detailed description of her journey in the ‘Votes For Women’ airship, she briefly mentions public speaking, the Grille Incident and her commitment to the cause of women.
Many thanks to the BBC Online Archive for providing the Society with the audio – click here for a link to the recording.
For images of Muriel Matters don’t forget to visit the Gallery!
The Grille Incident Depicted in the 1935 Film ‘Royal Cavalcade’
Muriel Matters’ involvement in the Grille Protest was dramatized in the ‘Royal Cavalcade’ – a British black and white film from 1935. The drama is a pastiche of notable events from the previous twenty-five years that was commissioned to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Actual newsreel footage appears alongside scenes re-enacted by actors (like the one showing the Grille Protest). In addition to the Grille Protest, the film alludes to the militant agitation of Christabel Pankhurst and the WSPU, the infamous death of Emily Davidson at the Epson Derby as well as Nancy Astor taking her seat in British Parliament. Many thanks to Eileen Luscombe for unearthing this material and notifying the Muriel Matters Society that the scene existed!!
Useful Resources on the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain
Atkinson, Diane, Women in History: Votes For Women, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Crawford, Elizabeth, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928, New York: Routledge, 2001.
Strachey, Ray,The Cause: A Short History of the Women’s Movement in Britain, London: Virago, 1928.
Useful Resources on the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Australia
Scott, Myra, ‘How Australia Led the Way: Dora Meeson Coates and British Suffrage, a report prepared for the Commonwealth Office of the Status of Women’, Canberra, 2003, https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/women/publications-articles/general/how-australia-led-the-way-dora-meeson-coates-and-british-suffrage
South Australian Suffragettes e-Resource
An excellent free e-resource provided by the Parliament of South Australia for teachers and students looking to find out more about the history of suffrage. It offers some historical background on the women’s movement in South Australia, questions to further student discussion, and interactive resources for students to use in class. Muriel’s story is frequently mentioned to highlight how women had to fight to gain the right to vote and how the South Australian story connects with people and places elsewhere. Follow this link to view the site: http://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/education/Pages/Welcome.aspx
Extending the Franchise to South Australian Women – Primary Documents for Teachers and Students
In 1894 the Parliament of South Australia passed a bill that granted women in the colony the dual right to stand and vote at parliamentary elections. Though women were able to vote in New Zealand elections as early as 1893, the right for women to stand at an election was a world first. Below are some key primary source documents to help get a sense of the suffrage debate in South Australia.
Document 1: Mary Lee, ‘Letter to Women’, The South Australian Register, 14 April 1890, p.5.
Mary Lee (1821-1909) was a prominent member of an influential set of South Australian suffrage campaigners. Known for her passion, humour, and intelligence while advocating for the cause, her ‘Letter to Women’ is an example of why she thought women should get the vote.
This ‘monster’ petition was signed by 11,600 South Australians who wanted women to be granted the franchise on the same terms as it was then granted to men. George Hawker MP, presented it to the Parliament in August 1894 on behalf of the women’s movement in the colony.
Document 3: Constitutional Amendment Act 1894
This Act granted women the right to vote and stand at South Australian elections. It was passed both Houses of Parliament in December 1894 while Charles Kingston was Premier of the colony.
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