Bella Lavender - Brunswick Campaigner
Brunswick school teacher Bella Lavender was an active and important campaigner throughout both conscription referendums.
Born Julia Margaret Guerin, Bella rose to prominence as the first female graduate of the University of Melbourne in 1883. (There had been female students previously, but they had not been allowed to graduate.) After graduation she became a teacher at schools in Ballarat.
In 1909, Bella took over as principal of the private High School for Girls in Brunswick. Around the same time she remarried, to George Lavender. This second marriage was not a success and the couple soon separated. George Lavender would enlist in the Australian Army and serve overseas during World War One; Bella Lavender would occasionally note that she was the wife of a volunteer soldier in her anti-conscription campaigning.
Lavender was a leading member of the Women’s Political Association after her return to Melbourne. She was Vice-President of the Association from 1912-14 and was a major organiser for Vida Goldstein’s Campaign in 1913. Shortly after the campaign she left the WPA in order to concentrate on Labour politics. However she remained highly complimentary of Goldstein in public – in 1916 she wrote an influential opinion piece that argued that women were being excluded within the Labour movement, and that Goldstein was in that sense correct to focus on women’s politics.
During the anti-conscription campaign Lavender spoke widely, both in Melbourne, where she was a frequent speaker at the Yarra Bank, and, just before the 1917 referendum, on a tour through regional areas of Victoria.
Shortly after World War One ended, Lavender moved to Adelaide to live with her son, who was practising as a doctor. Lavender died in 1923, aged 65.
Australia and World War One
Photograph - Send-off to the Brunswick Soldiers
Photograph - Brunswick Town Hall Honour Board
Memorial Plaque - Leonard William Telford
Poster - 'Australia has Promised Britain 50,000 More Men'
Labour Activists of Brunswick and Coburg
Photograph - Frank Anstey
Photograph - John Curtin
Photograph - Frank Hyett
Photograph - Maurice Blackburn
The Trade Unions' Anti-conscription Campaign
Handbill - 'The Blood Vote'
Cartoon - 'The Charge of the Would to God Brigade'
Handbill - Slave Conspiracy
The Women's Movement During the War
Photograph - Vida Goldstein
Photograph - Adela Pankhurst
Handbill - Conscription and Woman's Loyalty
Photograph - 'Women's No Conscription Demonstration'
Bella Lavender - Brunswick Campaigner
Photograph - Bella Lavender
Cartoon - Bella Lavender
Letter - Bella Lavender to Education Department
Photograph - Labor Women's Anti-conscription Committee
Religious Perspectives on Conscription
Handbill - Conscription and Christianity
Handbill - Conscription Questions for Voters
Handbill - How Would Christ Vote?
The Catholic Church and Conscription
Photograph - Daniel Mannix
Article - Cause of the War
Article - Revolt Victims
Cartoon - Australian Workman's Burden
Brunswick and Coburg During the Campaigns
Article - No Anti-conscription Meetings in Brunswick
Handbill - Public Meeting Against Conscription
Advertisement - Recruitment Meeting
Article - Remarkably Quiet Day
The Two Referendums
Handbill - Vote Thus Against Conscription
Article - Military Service Referendum Poll
Article - Conscription. Mr Hughes in Queensland
Article - 'Bourke'
The Soldiers' Votes
Diary - Claude Ewart
Photograph - Jack and Bert Grinton
Handbill - Returned Soldiers' No Conscription League Manifesto
Photograph - Soldiers Voting
Consequences for the Campaigners
Inscription - Police Just Raided
Article - 'Failure to Enrol'
Letter - Adela Pankhurst to Sallie Walsh
Article - 'Serenading Miss Pankhurst'
Story education resources
Education Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Education Resource
The Against The Odds Education Resource provides a stimulating range of activities for students undertaking the compulsory Victorian History Curriculum Level 9/10 unit Australia at war (1914 – 1945). It helps students reflect on the complexities of the conscription debate through a range of analytical, creative and research tasks.
Education Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Walking Map
The Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Walking Map is a map of some of the sites described in the digital story or related to individuals therein. Download the map to use it for a self-guided tour in the area.