Great Petition sculpture

 Great Petition sculpture, Susan Hewitt, Penelope Lee, public art

Public Art : Great Petition sculpture

Sculptors: © Susan Hewitt and Penelope Lee


Date Unveiled: 2008

Location: The Great Petition is located in Burton Reserve, Melbourne, Australia.


Burston Reserve

Susan Hewwitt and Penelope Lee, 2008

When suffagists campaigned for the vote in the late nineteenth century, critics said that women had no interest in political rights. Leading activist Marie Kirk, Vida Goldstein and Annette Bear-Crawford, working with such organisations such as the Women's Christian Temperance union and the Victorian Women's Suffrage Society sought support from both men and women throughout Victoria. A giant petition with 30,000 signatires , later to be known as the Monster Petition, was offered up to parliament in 1891 as evidence of the widespread support for equal voting rights for women.

The bulky document carried into the legislature by several attendants, was claimed to be the largest petition presented to the Victorian parliament to that date.

Yet the continuing oppostion of the parliament , which knock back numerous Bills, meant that women had to wait another seventeen years before they were given voting rights in Victoria with the passage of the Adult Suffrage Act in 1908.

Victoria was the last Australian State to grant women the suffage, and evn then most Indigenous women would be denied rights until 1962.

Professor Marilyn Lake


Commissioned by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria, the Community Support Fund and the Office of Women's Policy in collaboration with the City of Melbourne.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of Dulux and the Victorian Women's Trust.


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