Department of Premier and Cabinet

Alicia O'Shea Peterson

Significant Tasmanian Women icon

(1862-1923)
Political Activist

Alicia PetersonAlicia Peterson spent her childhood in a small rural community in Southern Tasmania. Close contact with her cousin John Earle, a founder of the Workers’ Political League and first Labor Premier of Tasmania (1909) may have influenced her commitment to political reform.

Due to personal experience and awareness of poor working conditions in sweatshops, she became prominent:In the campaign to secure a Royal Commission into conditions in workshops.As a speaker for the Citizens’ Social and Moral Reform League.In the production of a report - later repressed - which drew attention to the need for improved housing for the poor.She expressed her political commitment in a grassroots way:As a founder and life president of the Australian Women’s AssociationBy qualifying for the certificate of sanitationAs a councilor of the Workers’ Education AssociationAs an advocate of free university educationEstablished the Bush Nurses and Child Health AssociationsOrganised the women’s anti-conscription campaign in Tasmania (1917)Led a campaign to have the age of consent raised.She was the first woman in Tasmania to stand as a political candidate, contesting the federal seat of Denison in 1913, partly to represent the interests of women and children.In 1922, when women were first eligible to stand for the Tasmanian House of Assembly, she was again a political candidate in Denison.

References:

Radi, Heather (ed), 200 Australian Women, A Redress Anthology, Broadway: Women’s Redress Press Inc., n.d.

Tasmaniana Collection, State Library of Tasmania


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