26June2017

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QLD - Brisbane Women Peacemakers 1915-39

MargaretThorp

Some important Brisbane women spoke for peace during World War One.

WILPF has received a grant from the Brisbane City Council History Grants Program to undertake historical research and write the story of these women who formed and participated in the peace organisations in Brisbane from 1915 to 1939. It will form the basis for online and print publication. Our historian, Dr Deb Jordan, has begun a blog with details of the research.

The Brisbane branch of the Women’s Peace Army (WPA) was formed in November 1915. The Brisbane minute books and other records such as correspondence and copies of speeches do not seem to have survived. Newspaper reports are available through TROVE. We believe that there is an as yet untapped source of material in other institutions such as the National Archives.

The Brisbane community, at this time, was divided on the issue of conscription. In 1917 when Adela Pankhurst from the national WPA toured Queensland, she caused a sensation when she spoke against conscription to crowds in Brisbane. Many other significant women were involved in peace activism up until 1939; including those deeply concerned about child victims of war and active internationally through Save the Children. A further group of prominent women, such as Brisbane woman Margaret Thorpe, became involved in international relations and the League of Nations.

When these women are included in our histories, we will have the basis for creative ways of sharing our history, and increasing public awareness of local history and heritage.

This project is proudly funded by the Brisbane History Grants Program 2016-17 from Brisbane City Council.

Brisbane City Council Centre Colour 

WILPF logo
 "There is no way to peace; peace is the way."  
Edith Greene Balch, founding member of WILPF and Nobel Peace Prize winner, 1946.

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