The VWT and 100 years of Suffrage
The Victorian Women's Trust and 100 years of the Vote for Women:
an interview with Mary Crooks
Video by Sophie Boord
Arts Victoria and the Victorian Women's Trust
In this video Mary Crooks, Director of the Victorian Women's Trust reflects on the centenary year of Victorian Women's suffrage - focusing on projects and research undertaken by the Trust, including the creation of the Women's Anthem sung by Kavisha Mazzella.
Mary Crooks (Victorian Women’s Trust): What we decided to do here at the Women’s Trust was to try and celebrate suffrage in a range of really interesting ways, and so we determined to have three public forums throughout the year, and…and on top of that, we determined to come up with something really, really special and memorable.
Let me give you Kavisha Mazella, for the first public airing of Love and Justice.
[Applause; Kavisha Mazella singing]
Mary Crooks: We commissioned Kavisha Mazella, who is a much loved Melbourne-based singer, to compose a women’s anthem.
[Kavisha Mazella singing]
Mary Crooks: It’s a very poetic and powerful statement about what women did back in the suffrage era and where we’ve come from and where we’re still to go.
[Kavisha Mazella singing]
Mary Crooks: It was very important for us to ground ourselves quite a bit at the beginning of the Suffrage Celebration Year, so that we…we actually had a good strong feel for what had happened back in the suffrage movement…who its leaders were, what they did, and so on. So we undertook a fair bit of research, and I suppose one of the things that happened through that is…you can’t help but gain this enormous respect for the big players…the big female players…at that time, and the thousands of ‘little women’, we might say, who worked to secure the vote for…for us.
I think through doing the research and grounding ourselves…in the past, it makes me realise how much more work we need to do to put this kind of history on the public record, because, really, there were women, like Vida Goldstein, for example, who had enormous reputations internationally, and yet, apart from the fact that there’s a Federal seat named after Vida, there’s very little really public evidence about the huge role that she played, and what an iconic figure! I think if Vida had have been a bloke, her name would be on peoples’ lips in terms of having a really important place in Australian history.
So I’ve found, I think, that the Suffrage Year has…has been a tremendous affirmation and a consolidation, in terms of women’s politics and their activism.
Mary Crooks: It invigorates women. I think it actually says to women “strength to our bows, let’s continue and let’s even push harder to achieve what we think makes for a better society”.
[Kavisha Mazella and women singing; applause]