Photograph - Adela Pankhurst
Photograph - Adela Pankhurst in Pankhurst, Adela, Put Up the Sword,
State Library of Victoria,
Rare Books MC 940.31 W16PContributors
Adela Pankhurst was one of the most dedicated campaigners for the Women’s Peace Army. In 1917 she was jailed for her anti-conscription activities.
Adela Pankhurst was born in 1885, the youngest daughter of the suffragist Emmaline Pankhurst, and sister of Christabel and Sylvia. Although all of them were involved in suffragist campaigning, both Adela and Sylvia were more radical than the other two. In 1914, estranged from her mother and eldest sister, Adela moved to Melbourne. She immediately threw herself into political organising, and fell in with Vida Goldstein’s Women’s Political Association (and later Women’s Peace Army). She also joined the Victorian Socialist Party.
Pankhurst was an enthusiastic campaigner against conscription. She spoke at numerous meetings and demonstrations. She also wrote several books and pamphlets, such as ‘Put Up the Sword’, which outlined the case for pacifism and internationalism. This image is taken from that work.
In 1917 Pankhurst was jailed in Pentridge Prison, initially for a month and then later for nearly two months. In the period in between these two stints she resigned from the WPA – in order to pursue socialist politics more fully – and married Tom Walsh, the Secretary of the Seaman’s Union. In January 1918, Pentridge was visited by 200 socialist campaigners who ‘serenaded’ Adela from outside the walls of the prison.
After the war, she and her husband Tom grew increasingly conservative. They were early opponents of the Stalinist regime in Russia, perceiving that many atrocities were being carried out in the name of communism. This, and her conviction that it was women and children who suffered most during strike action, led Pankhurst to become opposed to socialism and in favour of industrial co-operation between workers and employers. In 1928, Adela founded the Australian Women's Guild of Empire, a patriotic organisation. Around the same time, Tom was expelled from the Seaman’s Union.
In 1940, Adela and Tom undertook a ‘friendship tour’ of Japan. As a result, Adela was asked to leave the Guild, and after Pearl Harbour she was interned. She was released just in time to see Tom before he died. Pankhurst lived for another eighteen years, dying in 1961.
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.