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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The courage of their convictions

Despite ruling class convictions of superior civil advancement in the ‘mother country’, women in Australia and New Zealand got voting rights years before British women did – in large part due to Vida Goldstein and her colleagues.

‘We deserve a better standard than this.’ So Prime Minister Julia Gillard concluded her famous 2012 speech, dismantling her opposite number – a man known to say things like: ‘If it’s true ... that men have more power, generally speaking, than women, is that a bad thing?’ Such unmitigated sexism came more than a century after another Victorian feminist had become the first woman in the British Empire to run for parliament. Vida Goldstein joined the suffragette cause in 1891 and was at its forefront when Australian women won the vote under the Commonwealth Franchise Act of 1902. But Victoria repeatedly rejected state legislation on women’s suffrage, prompting Goldstein to stand for the senate in the 1903 federal election. She stood again multiple times, but never gained a seat. In London, however, she was feted as ‘one of the foremost leaders of the Australian women‘s movement … now helping her sisters in England to win their freedom’.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

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The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

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Visiting the Gallery
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© National Portrait Gallery 2022
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency