Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Suffragettes at History Alive

To round out History Alive, we fast forward around 100 years overnight to the Australian 1890s to debut our new period and display - Suffragettes. Australia was the first country in the world to give women the vote AND the right to run for parliament in 1902. This pegged our timeline to 1894 - 1897 when the women of Queensland first organised the Women's Equal Franchise Association and collected over 11,000 signatures over the whole of our state to present to parliament. We chose to present to the public a market stall selling "votes for women" pins, home baking and giving out information flyers while collecting signatures. 

I spent a lot of time trying to recreate the petitions for the public visitors to sign should they choose, and we were really surprised by the number of signatures that we got. I also made banners and a flag to set up our site and help give the atmosphere. Not to mention the mass amounts of printed material that I had on hand to give out.

We also made time for a protest march around the grounds where we managed to ruffle a few feathers, despite the fact that women were given the vote in Australia over a 100 years ago. And thanks to facebook, I have a few photos to share of our march. 

 But doing a new period meant a whole new outfit to wear. I decided to use a few inspiration images and aim for a more tailored look that a lot of suffragettes decided to wear - blouse, skirt, vest, jacket and hat. I was lucky enough that I had enough brown suiting fabric that I could make a skirt and jacket, while my vest was made from scraps and my blouse came from stash. I even managed to dig out some fabric for a new corset and petticoat. It felt great to be able to make a costume without having a huge amount of expense. I think the only purchase that I made towards it was purchasing a spoon busk for my new period corset (which I will put up in another post).

All in all, it was a successful day and I'm glad that we finally got to be suffragettes. And Queensland ones at that. It made our display just that much more relatable. And I am really looking forward to doing it again next year. We are even starting to plan a few more elements that we can add to our interaction with the public.


  1. Your outfit looks spot on and the historical sufragettes are a very interesting topic indeed!

    1. Thanks. It was so interesting learning all about the suffragettes. And the ones in my home state in Australia too. It makes it all a little more relatable.