Mary Lee isn’t quite a household name in South Australia, but in the 125th year since women fought for and won the right to vote and stand for State Parliament, perhaps it’s time she was.
The Irish-born Lee was small but possessed a steely determination, her activism earning her the “turbulent anarchist” tag from Adelaide critics who disapproved of her cause and methods.
Author Denise George is in no doubt about the importance of Lee to the rights enjoyed, often unknowingly, by today’s South Australian women.
“She was the individual who led the women’s suffrage campaign after the motion was first put up in parliament by Edward Sterling in 1885,” George said.
“Mary was the secretary of the Women’s Suffrage League of South Australia and she was responsible for doing a lot of speaking engagements, speaking to the Premiere, dealing with politicians, educating the public.