Maybanke Susannah Anderson (1845-1927), feminist and educationist, was born on 16 February 1845 at Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, England, daughter of Henry Selfe, plumber, and his wife Elizabeth, née Smith....
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Australian Dictionary of Biography
Author and committee member Maybanke Anderson was a vociferous advocate for women. She founded and edited the fortnightly paper, .
Maybanke Susannah Selfe, as she was born, married Edmund Kay Wolstenholme in 1867. They lived in Balmain, then Marrickville, before Wolstenholme deserted his wife in 1884. Maybanke established her own school, Maybanke College, and built up a solid reputation based upon the success of her pupils. She formally divorced Wolstenholme in 1892.
From 1891, Maybanke Wolstenholme was a foundation vice-president of the Womanhood Suffrage League of New South Wales, becoming president in 1893. She was also a member of the Women's Literary Society. From 1894 she began publishing and editing her own fortnightly paper, . She was connected with both the Playgrounds Association and the Kindergarten Union of New South Wales.
In March 1899, Maybanke Wolstenholme married (Sir) Francis Anderson, professor of philosophy at the University of Sydney. She became active in the National Council of Women of New South Wales, and heavily involved with the activities of the University Women's Society.
Maybanke Anderson published in 1919, a handbook on the education of young children. The following year she wrote a chapter on the position of women for M. Atkinson's book, . From her travels in Europe, accompanied by her husband, Maybanke sent a series of articles to the . She died in Paris, predeceased by four children, but survived by two sons from her first marriage.
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Australian Women's Register
Maybanke Anderson was one of a group of forward-thinking, reformist women who worked to achieve women's suffrage in New South Wales and then all of Australia. Around the time of Federation, she wrote a collection of songs for children as an expression of the new spirit of Australian nationalism.
In the early 1880s she and her first husband Edmund Wolstenholme built "Maybanke", a large home in spacious grounds in Marrickville. However, her husband's business failures meant that she became the breadwinner for the family. After he deserted her in 1884 she took boarders into her home, and in 1885 established a girls' school there - Maybanke School, later known as Maybanke College. Her school gained a reputation for its progressive teaching methods and its success in preparing students for university entrance examinations.
In 1891 she was a foundation vice-president of the Womanhood Suffrage League of New South Wales, and president 1893-96. She was also a member of the Women's Literary Society, a group with serious intellectual and feminist aspirations. In 1894 she started her own women's newspaper, the Woman's Voice. Moved by the plight of the children of working mothers, she was instrumental in setting up free kindergartens and schools in Sydney.
In 1899 she married Francis Anderson, professor of philosophy at the University of Sydney.
In 1902, Anderson's Australian Songs for Australian Children was published. The songs express a deep love of Australia and its bush, and were written and compiled to give children an opportunity to sing about their own country, with its unique flora, fauna and seasons. Anderson was aware of the lack of such material, and these songs were her expression of the new spirit of Australian nationalism.
Anderson continued advocating the causes of women and children for the rest of her life, and published numerous books on a range of subjects including the education of young children, the position of women, and local history. She died after an operation near Paris in 1927 while on a trip overseas.