You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vot

Shortlist year: 2019

Shortlist category: Australian history

Published by: Text Publishing


When Australia's suffrage campaigners won the vote for white women, the world looked to this trailblazing young democracy for inspiration. Clare Wright's epic new historical work tells the story of that victory—and of Australia's role in the subsequent international struggle—through the eyes of five remarkable players: the redoubtable Vida Goldstein, the flamboyant Nellie Martel, indomitable Dora Montefiore, daring Muriel Matters, and artist Dora Meeson Coates. An award-winning author brings to life a time when Australian democracy was the envy of the world—and the standard bearer for progress in a shining new century.

About the author

 Clare Wright

Clare Wright

Dr Clare Wright is an award-winning historian and author who has worked as an academic, political speechwriter, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster. Her most recent book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, won the 2014 Stella Prize and the 2014 Mark and Evette Nib Award for Literature and was shortlisted for many other awards.

Judges’ comments

The role of Australian women at the forefront of the women's suffrage movement is deftly explored in this timely offering by Clare Wright. New Zealand is frequently cited as the first site where women were enfranchised; however, Wright makes an important distinction between the vote which both New Zealand and Australia allowed and the right to run for government, which was only possible in Australia. Through the mechanism of five individual personal stories, You Daughters of Freedom explores the intersection of the political and the personal. With an absorbing writing style, and narrative flourish Clare Wright has brought the forgotten women activists of Australia and world history to the fore. As these interwoven stories unfold, the audience is reminded that in the era leading to the emergence of the Gallipoli legend, Australian women were directing their energies to change both Australian and world political culture. The stories of the women in this book provide a deeper understanding of the politics and society of our own times and reveal an unknown aspect of Australian history.