Robert Wainwright at the Library
In 1909 a young Australian actress made headlines around the world when she took to the sky over the British Houses of Parliament in an airship emblazoned with the slogan ‘Votes for Women’. When prevailing winds forced her to sail around London instead, she dropped leaflets all over the city. The American media declared it to be the world’s first aerial protest.
A year earlier, Muriel Matters, who became known as ‘that daring Australian girl’, became the first woman to make a speech in Parliament after chaining herself to a brass grille to protest against women being segregated in the Parliament. She was sent to Holloway Prison for her crime, and on her release added prison reform to her list of campaigns. Muriel Matters went on to become one of the most famous suffragists of her day, touring England in a horse-drawn caravan to promote her cause. Her skill as an orator drew crowds in their thousands.
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