Catherine Helen Spence

Catherine Helen Spence
Catherine Helen Spence
  • Born: October 31, 1825
  • Died: April 3, 1910
  • Nationality: Australian
  • Profession: Author









Catherine Helen Spence was a Scottish-born Australian author, teacher, journalist, politician, leading suffragist, and Georgist. In 1897 she became Australia's first female political candidate after standing (unsuccessfully) for the Federal Convention held in Adelaide. Called the "Greatest Australian Woman" by Miles Franklin and given the nomenclature of "Grand Old Woman of Australia' on her eightieth birthday, Spence was commemorated on the Australian five-dollar note issued for the Centenary of Federation of Australia.

Quotes About
Author Quote
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A glass of whisky in Scotland in the thirties cost less than a cup of tea.
After the break up of the municipality and the loss of his income my father lost health and spirits. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
As we grew to love South Australia, we felt that we were in an expanding society, still feeling the bond to the motherland, but eager to develop a perfect society, in the land of our adoption. Society ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Drinking habits were very prevalent among men, and were not in any way disgraceful, unless excessive.
Even before the discovery of copper South Australia had turned the corner.
I count myself well educated, for the admirable woman at the head of the school which I attended from the age of four and a half till I was thirteen and a half, was a born teacher in advance of her own times. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I had learned what wealth was, and a great deal about production and exchange for myself in the early history of South Australia - of the value of machinery, of roads and bridges, and of ports for transport and export. History
I had only two offers of marriage in my life, and I refused both. Life ;Families, Children & Parenting
I had seen Adelaide the dearest and the cheapest place to live in.
I look back to a happy childhood.
I think I was well brought up, for my father and mother were of one mind regarding the care of the family. Families, Children & Parenting
My brothers went to the parish school, one of the best in the county.
My pamphlet did not set the Torrens on fire.
My return to London introduced me to a wider range of society. Society
Nothing is insignificant in the history of a young community, and - above all - nothing seems impossible. History
Our South Australian farmers left their holdings in the hands of their wives and children too young to take with them, but almost all of them returned to grow grain and produce to send to Victoria.
Probably my mother's life was prolonged beyond that of a long-lived family by her coming to Australia in middle life; and if I ever had any tendency to consumption, the climate must have helped me. Life ;Families, Children & Parenting
South Australia was the first community to give the secret ballot for political elections.
The first issue of The Register was printed in London, and gave a glowing account of the province that was to be - its climate, its resources, the sound principles on which it was founded.
The Town Clerkship, however, was the means of giving me a lesson in electoral methods.