Australia in the 1890s

Women's suffrage

In 1891, the NSW Womanhood Suffrage League (WSL) was formed by Rose Scott, Margaret Windeyer, Dora Montefiore and Maybanke Wolstenholme.

In 1893, South Australia granted women the right to vote, but the act did not include Indigenous women.

In 1890, the first registered woman doctor in the colony of Victoria, Dr Constance Stone, began to practise in Melbourne. Dr Stone had gone overseas to study at Toronto University in Canada as women were not allowed to enrol in the medical course at the University of Melbourne. In 1896, the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital for Women and Children was established in Melbourne. Dr Constance Stone and her sister Clara and cousin Mary were among the first honorary medical officers. In 1899, the Australasian Trained Nurses' Association was founded in Sydney by a group of doctors and nurses.

A snapshot of 1898

  • April
    • The Eighth Intercolonial Trades Union Congress is held in Adelaide.

  • June
    • A referendum is held in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria to approve the draft Constitution of Australia.
    • The constitution is accepted by the required majority in South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, but not in New South Wales.

  • October
    • The Perth Zoo opens with two lions and a tiger in its collection.
    • The Queen Victoria Building in Sydney is completed.
    • Hobart is lit by electricity.


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