This week’s Sepia Saturday blogging theme is on Peace as 21 September is International Day of Peace.

Just the other day I posted a piece about my 1st cousin, three times removed, Vida Goldstein (1869 – 1949), a noted suffragette and campaigner for Peace.  She was the first woman in Australia to stand for Federal Parliament.

I haven’t found a picture of Vida campaigning for peace or political purposes.  The photograph below is in the collection of the National Library of Australia.

Portrait of Vida Goldstein sometime after 1900.  From the collection of the National Library of Australia retrieved from 20 September 2013

As a suffragette Vida travelled the world.

She met President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 at the time of the first International Women’s Suffrage Alliance conference convened in Washington.  She also addressed committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives on the suffrage question. She was elected secretary of the Conference.

“PERSONAL ITEMS.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 9 Aug 1902: 18. Web. 20 Sep 2013 <>.

 In 1911 Vida was in London for the Great suffragette demonstration.

“11.950 Great suffragette demonstration in London, Mrs Fisher, Mrs McGowan and Miss Vida Goldstein from Australia, copyright 1911 by Geo. Rose” –Caption below stereograph. “The Rose Stereographs, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington & London” (No longer in copyright according to Australian law). Retrieved from “Great Suffragette Demonstration in London.” Culture Victoria – Women’s Suffrage. Arts Victoria (State Government of Victoria), 2010. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <>. Vida is on the right in the white dress.

The Women’s Peace Army was formed in Melbourne in July 1915 with Vida Goldstein presiding.

“WOMEN’S PEACE ARMY FORMED.” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 10 Jul 1915: 49 Edition: WEEKLY. Web. 20 Sep 2013 <>.
Vida Goldstein never married. This gave the Mirror of Australia an opportunity for a cheap jibe when reporting meetings of the peace movement.
“MELBOURNE IN THE MIRROR.” The Mirror of Australia (Sydney, NSW : 1915 – 1917) 18 Dec 1915: 6. Web. 20 Sep 2013 <>.

Peace was generally not a popular subject in 1917 when Vida was seeking election to Federal Parliament.

“IDEALISM AND REALITY.” Maryborough & Dunolly Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 30 Apr 1917: 4. Web. 20 Sep 2013 <>. This article was widely syndicated, the Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser just one of many carrying it..

Apart from the arguments in the above article it was suggested that there could be peace tomorrow if we surrendered. This was not a position viewed favourably by Mr Rodgers, the retiring member for Wannon in the House of Representatives. (“National Politics.” Koroit Sentinel and Tower Hill Advocate (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) 28 Apr 1917: 3. Web. 20 Sep 2013 <>.)

There was opposition to her standing as a candidate for election

“DETERMINED WOMAN CANDIDATE.” The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929) 10 Apr 1917: 4. Web. 20 Sep 2013 <>.

Vida polled extremely poorly attracting only 4,446 votes and all other candidates polled significantly better.  In 1903 her Senate candidature attracted more than 51,000 votes.  Vida had also stood in 1910, 1913,  and 1914. She stood for the last time in 1917.

“AUSTRALIA’S ANSWER.” The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931) 7 May 1917: 5. Web. 20 Sep 2013 <>.

In 1919 Vida accepted an invitation to represent Australian women at a Women’s Peace Conference in Zurich. She was away from Australia for three years and this period was the end of her involvement in Australia politics. (Janice N. Brownfoot, ‘Goldstein, Vida Jane (1869–1949)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 September 2013.)

She is remembered and honoured by the Division of Goldstein in Victoria being named after her in 1984. The electorate is in the south-east of Melbourne. (“Goldstein Results.” Federal Election 2013 – Live Results. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2013. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <>.)  

Vida’s birthplace of Portland in Victoria has erected a bench in her honour which has, among other words, the word PEACE incorporated into the design. (Gervasoni, Lisa. “Vida Goldstein Chair_5268.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <>.)