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Adela Pankhurst

The Home Front: Australia during the First World War

Adela Pankhurst, feminist and activist

Adela Pankhurst
Adela Pankhurst, before 1921. © The March of the Women Collection/Mary Evans Picture Library.

Adela Pankhurst was imprisoned in October 1917 for four months after repeatedly defying the Unlawful Associations Act and speaking at rallies against the government and conscription. When offered release on bond if she promised not to speak again in public, Pankhurst chose jail.

The daughter of British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, Adela had arrived in Melbourne in March 1914. Her early speeches focused on equal pay, working conditions and children’s rights, but as the war progressed she became increasingly anti-war and anti-Empire.

Her arguments were sometimes at odds with those of her political associates but her passionate speeches enthralled the crowds.


Adela Pankhurst in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Adela Pankhurst in the Australian Trade Union Archives

Tom Walsh on the The Home Front website

Labor Party anti-conscription advertisement, 1917.
Labor Party anti-conscription advertisement, 1917. National Library of Australia, vn3697266.