“There is no power in the world like that of women ... this most potent constituency we seek to represent, and for their suffrages we sue.” This is a quote by Louisa Lawson, an independent and resourceful suffragist who fought for women’s rights during the late 19th and early 20th century and whose feminist journal, The Dawn and whose meeting place, The Dawn Club, were the epicenters of the suffrage movement in Sydney. Also, The Dawn allowed the New South Wales Women’s Suffrage League to print pamphlets free of charge and frequently addressing many issues like women’s right to vote, earning her the name The Mother of Suffrage in New South Wales.
Louisa was an Australian poet, writer, publisher and suffragist born on February 17, 1848 in Edwin Rouse's station, Guntawang, near Mudgee, New South Wales. She was the second of twelve children in a struggling family. Her parents were Henry Albury and his wife Harriet. She was educated at Mudgee National School until she was 13 and at 18 married Peter Lawson, a sailor trying his hand at gold mining. Louisa and Peter had five children, one of which died in infancy in 1877. Louisa often had to care for the children by herself as Peter was often gone gold mining or working with his father-in-law. In 1883 Louisa left Eurunderee and her husband, taking her children to live in Sydney where she had to do sewing, washing, and take in boarders to support them. In 1887 Louisa used the money saved while running her boarding houses to buy shares in the radical pro-federation newspaper, The Republican.
One of the main reasons Louisa is known as a suffragist is because of The Dawn which she opened in May 1888, using her earnings and experience from working on the Republican. It wasn’t just because The Dawn was Australia’s first journal produced solely by women that earned her the title of suffragist, but also all of the amazing work she did at the Dawn. This ranged from allowing the New South Wales Women’s Suffrage League to print pamphlets and literature for free, to covering women’s suffrage and many other important topics. On top of her work at The Dawn, she also founded the Dawn Club which was the hub of the suffrage movement to agitate for women's suffrage, frequently speaking at meetings and public lectures. Lawson most likely did all of this, and was the person she was because of all the suffering she had in her life. Events such as being born into a struggling family, losing a child in infancy, and having to raise four children on her own.
In conclusion, Louisa Lawson founded The Dawn and The Dawn club, and used them to fight for women’s right to vote as well as covering numerous other important topics. All of Lawson’s hard work and determination created a better future and created a stepping stone for the rights of all the generations of women that came after her. It was because of these actions that cemented Lawson’s legacy as a strong independent woman and suffragist.