Brettena Smyth is associated with Errol Street, North Melbourne, Victoria located at these coordinates -37.8009998, 144.9500791
|australian women's suffrage society, feminism, north melbourne, birth control, women's suffrage petition, petition|
| In 1873 Brettena Smyth, a recently - widowed mother of four children, closed the family greengrocery in Errol Street in North Melbourne. Instead she opened a drapery and druggist's shop, which became a landmark in the struggle for womens's rights. The shop was the venue for meetings of the Australian Women's Suffrage Society in the 1880s and 1890s and more controversially, the source of birth control advice and 'preventatives' for Melbourne women.
Smyth became one of Melbourne's most prominent activists in the feminist cause. At almost six feet0.00114 Miles
Smyth recognised that access to artificial contraception, which could be 'used without the knowledge of the husband', was as liberating as the power of the vote.
Smyth died in 1898 and her organisation did not long survive her. Other organisations such as the Victorian Women's Franchise League (backed by the Women's Christian Temperance Union) and the United Council for Women's Suffrage, led by Vida Goldstein, took the suffrage campaign into the twentieth century.
(Images courtesy of Melbourne Library Service Local History Collection)
Addressing the crowd on Yarra Bank labour day 1897