Lee, Mary (1821-1909)

Also known as
Walsh, Mary (1821-1909)
Field of activity
Welfare Worker; Suffragist; Union Activist
NLA Persistent Identifier
http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-722057

Biographies

Mary Lee (1821-1909), suffragist, was born on 14 February 1821 in Monaghan, Ireland, daughter of John Walsh. In 1844 she married George(?) Lee, organist and vicar-choral of Armagh Cathedral; they had...

View the full record at Australian Dictionary of Biography

Mary Lee became secretary of the Women's Suffrage League of South Australia in 1888. She served with the Female Refuge ladies' committee, the Distressed Women's and Children's Committee and the Adelaide Sick Poor Fund, and was secretary of the Working Women's Trades Union.

Born in Ireland, Mary Walsh married George Lee in 1844 and they had seven children. By 1879 Lee was widowed. She sailed with her daughter to Adelaide that year to nurse her sick son, who later died. In 1883 she became foundation secretary of the ladies' division of the Social Purity Society, working to improve conditions for women by campaigning to raise the age of consent to sixteen. The Society soon recognised that women's suffrage was essential to their aims. Accordingly the Women's Suffrage League was inaugurated in 1888 with Lee as secretary. It was mainly due to the combined efforts of Lee and close friend Mary Colton, who was President of the League from 1892 onwards, that suffrage was won in South Australia in 1894.

Lee was a vigorous campaigner albeit sometimes abrasive, and she traversed South Australia to speak at meetings while also organising petitions, deputations and corresponding with women in the other colonies on how to organise suffrage leagues. In 1892 she visited Broken Hill in outback New South Wales to report for the Adelaide Sick Poor Fund upon the condition of women and children there after a major industrial strike. Lee took the opportunity to deliver an address on women's suffrage at the Theatre Royal in Broken Hill, though the local paper reported only a moderate attendance. Prior to her visit Lee had written to the and her letter was published on 1 September 1892:

'I congratulate my working brothers on their respect for law - their avoidance of all which might provoke to fund, or sew the seeds of an after-crop of bitterness - on their patience under misrepresentation and provocation… But Sir, this strike has one feature which renders it more profoundly interesting than any of its predecessors here, or elsewhere as far as I know, and which must secure it a prominent and distinguished page when the history of these colonies shall come to be written. It is the fact that the women of Broken Hill are the first great body of working women who have raised their voices in united protest against the glaring injustice that "the present Constitution will not allow them a voice in the framing of the laws under which they are compelled to live."… May the memory of those woes and distresses which have awakened in the women of Broken Hill the spirit of liberty kindle that spirit to such a glow that the hearts of the "fathers, brothers, husbands and sweethearts" shall burn with the determination that the liberty which they prize so dearly shall be shared by those most dear to them; that the sons of freed men shall have freed mothers; that they shall bequeath to their daughters that grandest of human heritages -freedom!'

In 1889 Lee proposed the formation of a trade union for women and became secretary of the Working Women's Trades Union when it was inaugurated the following year. She was a delegate to the Trades and Labor Council and committee member of the Female Refuge ladies' committee as well as the Distressed Women's and Children's Committee. In 1896 she was appointed by the government as first female official visitor to the lunatic asylums, a position that she held for the next twelve years. Despite her work for social reform, she was not financially rewarded and her last years were spent in poverty. She died in her home in North Adelaide in 1909.

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

Related people and organisations

Australian Women's Register

Resources for Mary Lee

Selected resources (12)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Lee, Mary
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia
    Smart, Judith and Swain, Shurlee (eds)
    [2014]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  3. Lee, Mary (1821-1909)
    Jones, Helen
    [2006]
    Published: Australian National University
    Series: IspartOf Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
  4. Mary Lee, 1821-1909 : Let Her Name be Honoured
    Mansutti, Elizabeth
    [[Kensington, S. A.]]
    Published: E. Ho in association with Women's Suffrage Centenary History Sub-committee
  5. Mary Lee
    Jones, Helen
    [Broadway, N.S.W.]
    Published: Women's Redress Press Inc
    Series: IspartOf 200 Australian women : a Redress anthologyRadi, Heather
  6. Unbroken Spirit: Women in Broken Hill
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2009]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  7. Fresh evidence, new witnesses : finding women's history
    Allen, Margaret (Margaret Ellen), 1947- ; Hutchison, Mary and Mackinnon, Alison, 1942-
    [Netley, SA]
    Published: South Australian Government Printer
  8. In her own name : women in South Australian history
    Jones, Helen, 1926-
    [Netley, SA]
    Published: Wakefield Press
  9. S.A.'s greats: the men and women of the North Terrace plaques
    Healey, John
    [Adelaide]
    Published: Historical Society of South Australia
  10. 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology
    Radi, Heather
    [Sydney]
    Published: Women's Redress Press
  11. Letters from Mary Lee
    [0.05 m : 1890 - 1897]
    Series: State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana
    The records comprise three original letters written by Mary Lee, three proofs of letters published by Mary Lee in the S.A. Register, a photograph of Mary Lee in the front of the Davies House at North Adelaide and a newspaper clipping re the sale of the house.
    D 7178(L)
  12. Lee, Mary
    Series: Outback Archives, Broken Hill City Library
    Folder containing a collection of transcribed letters to newspapers written by Mary Lee during her visit to Broken Hill in 1892 (compiled by Elizabeth Mansutti in 1994).
    Filing system by name

Resources about Mary Lee (12)

  1. Mary Lee 1821-1909 : let her name be honoured / by Elizabeth Mansutti
    Mansutti, Elizabeth
    [ Book : 1994 ]
    At 19 libraries
    Mary Lee 1821-1909 : let her name be honoured / by Elizabeth Mansutti
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 30.591)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 30.591)

  2. [Biographical cuttings on Mary Lee, women's suffrage lobbyist, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
    [ Published : 1900-1990 ]
    At National Library
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 18.572)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 18.572)

  3. Mary Lee
    [ Photograph : 1880 ]
    View online
    At State Library S Aust
    Mary Lee
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 11.712)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 11.712)

  4. Virtual facts - vital fictions : exploring the formation of female identity/ies and intertextuality in the life writing of Mary Lee - 1821-1909 / Denise George
    George, Denise
    [ Thesis : 2002 ]
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 7.866)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 7.866)

  5. Mary Lee
    [ Photograph : 1895 ]
    View online
    At State Library S Aust
    Mary Lee
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 7.221)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 7.221)

  6. Mary Lee, South Australian suffragist
    [ Photograph : 1880 ]
    View online
    At State Library S Aust
    Mary Lee, South Australian suffragist
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 7.192)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 7.192)

  7. Bust of Mary Lee
    [ Photograph : 2012 ]
    View online
    At State Library S Aust
    Bust of Mary Lee
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 6.923)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 6.923)

  8. Mary Lee outside a North Adelaide home
    [ Photograph : 1880 ]
    View online
    At State Library S Aust
    Mary Lee outside a North Adelaide home
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 5.845)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 5.845)

  9. Votes for women / written by Ann Brookman ; produced & directed by Paul Worthington
    South Australia. Department for Education and Children's Services
    [ Video : 1994 ]
    At 3 libraries
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 5.665)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 5.665)

  10. Women in politics and law / Gloria Rolton
    Rolton, Gloria
    [ Book : 1997 ]
    At 39 libraries
    Women in politics and law / Gloria Rolton
    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 5.647)

    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 5.647)

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  1. Website: AC Web Journals
    webjournals.ac.edu.au
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  2. Website: The Australian Women's Register
    www.womenaustralia.info
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    adb.anu.edu.au
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  1. Holmes à Court, Janet (1943-)
    Company director; Company Chairman; Philanthropist
    ... Janet Holmes a Court is chairman of Heytesbury Pty Limited and is also chairman of all the companies ...
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  2. DeGaris, M. C., (Mary Clementina) (1881-1963)
    Physician; Obstetrician; Medical Practitioner; Feminist; Child Welfare Advocate; Campaigner
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  3. Bundy, Mary Lee (1927-)
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  1. MRS. MARY LEE.
    The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) Monday 7 April 1902 p 4 Article
    ... MRS. MARY LEE. The name of Mrs. Mary Lee is honorably identified with the cause of woman's suf ... , on be-half of Mrs. Mary Lee. I myself subscribe one guinea, and ask the help of others, to be sent ... 1228 words
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  2. LETTER TO WOMEN. [BY MARY LEE.]
    South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Friday 21 March 1890 p 7 Article
    ... LETTER TO WOMEN. [By MARY LEE.] Wherever a noble deed is done, 'tis the pulse of a hero's heart is ... 1064 words
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    This resource is likely to be relevant to your query (score: 2.772)

  3. TO MARY LEE.
    Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904) Saturday 14 September 1895 p 11 Article
    ... TO MARY LEE. Ah! Mary Lee, smart Mary Lee, I've read your modest letter. And really think, dear ... Mary Lee To change your mind you'd better. You're conscientious, Mary Lee, In your self-estimation, And ... 116 words
    This resource is likely to be relevant to your query (score: 2.767)

    This resource is likely to be relevant to your query (score: 2.767)

  1. To kill a mockingbird / Harper Lee
    Lee, Harper, 1926-
    [ Book, Audio book : 1900-2016 ]
    Languages: English;Spanish;Vietnamese;Chinese, [13 others]
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    At 197 libraries
    To kill a mockingbird / Harper Lee
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  2. Cider with Rosie / Laurie Lee
    Lee, Laurie
    [ Book, Audio book : 1900-2014 ]
    Languages: English;Chinese;French, [2 others]
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    At 94 libraries
    Cider with Rosie / Laurie Lee
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  3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Mary Ann Shaffer
    Shaffer, Mary Ann, 1934-2008
    [ Book, Audio book, Map : 2008-2013 ]
    Languages: English;French;Chinese;Slovenian, [10 others]
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    At 132 libraries
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Mary Ann Shaffer
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  4. 61 hours / Lee Child
    Child, Lee
    [ Book, Audio book : 2000-2014 ]
    Languages: English;Polish;Italian;Russian, [8 others]
    Read online at Open Library/Internet Archive
    View online
    At 105 libraries
    61 hours / Lee Child
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    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.272)

  1. Mary Lee
    [ Photograph : 1880 ]
    Mary Lee
  2. Mary Lee
    [ Photograph : 1895 ]
    Mary Lee
  3. Mary Lee, South Australian suffragi...
    [ Photograph : 1880 ]
    Mary Lee, South Australian suffragist
  4. Mary Lee outside a North Adelaide h...
    [ Photograph : 1880 ]
    Mary Lee outside a North Adelaide home
  5. Bust of Mary Lee
    [ Photograph : 2012 ]
    Bust of Mary Lee
  6. [Mary H. Lee, half-length portrait,...
    McClees & Germo...
    [ Photograph : 1850-1855 ]
  1. Mary Ann Farrance (nee Lee)
    Mary Ann Farrance (nee Lee)
    Created by Shansutton, 2 items.

    Gx4 Grandmother - wife of Robert Farrance, mother of Sarah Ann Lee (S.A. Lee was the wife of Henry Darlow Sutton)

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.076)

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.076)

  2. mary lee
    mary lee
    Created by odriscp, 1 item.

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.075)

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.075)

  3. Family Tree of Robert LEE-BROWN and Ada Mary LEE-BROWN (nee KINGSBURY)
    Family Tree of Robert LEE-BROWN and Ada Mary LEE-BROWN (nee KINGSBURY)
    Created by andrewhawthorneast, 41 items.

    Documents that relate to this family.

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.043)

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.043)

  1. Mary Greenhow Lee diaries
    Lee, Mary Greenhow, 1819-
    [ Published ]
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.165)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.165)

  2. [Biographical cuttings on Mary Winifred Lee, Sister, music teacher, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
    [ Published : 1900-1990 ]
    At National Library
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.165)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.165)

  3. A guide to To kill a mockingbird / Mary Hartley with Tony Buzan
    Hartley, Mary
    [ Book, Published : 1998-1999 ]
    At 21 libraries
    A guide to To kill a mockingbird / Mary Hartley with Tony Buzan
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.164)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.164)

  1. To kill a mockingbird / Harper Lee
    Lee, Harper, 1926-
    [ Book, Audio book : 1900-2016 ]
    Languages: English;Spanish;Vietnamese;Chinese, [13 others]
    Read online at Open Library/Internet Archive
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    At 197 libraries
    To kill a mockingbird / Harper Lee
    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.653)

    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.653)

  2. The bus to the zoo / written by Mary Murphy ; illustrated by Josh Lee
    Murphy, Mary, 1961-
    [ Book : 2009 ]
    Possibly online
    At 65 libraries
    The bus to the zoo / written by Mary Murphy ; illustrated by Josh Lee
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.451)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.451)

  3. Ophthalmic nursing / Rosalind Stollery, Mary E. Shaw, Agnes Lee
    Stollery, Rosalind
    [ Book : 1987-2017 ]
    Read online at Open Library/Internet Archive
    View online
    At 51 libraries
    Ophthalmic nursing / Rosalind Stollery, Mary E. Shaw, Agnes Lee
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.421)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.421)

  4. Back roads Spain / contributors, Mary-Ann Gallagher [and seven others]
    Gallagher, Mary-Ann
    [ Book, Map, Periodical : 2010-2017 ]
    At 52 libraries
    Back roads Spain / contributors, Mary-Ann Gallagher [and seven others]
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.416)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.416)

  1. Back roads Spain / contributors, Mary-Ann Gallagher [and seven others]
    Gallagher, Mary-Ann
    [ Book, Map, Periodical : 2010-2017 ]
    At 52 libraries
    Back roads Spain / contributors, Mary-Ann Gallagher [and seven others]
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.416)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.416)

  2. Woman war doctor : the life of Mary De Garis / Ruth L. Lee
    Lee, Ruth L.
    [ Book, Map : 2014 ]
    At 30 libraries
    Woman war doctor : the life of Mary De Garis / Ruth L. Lee
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    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.33)

  3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Mary Ann Shaffer
    Shaffer, Mary Ann, 1934-2008
    [ Book, Audio book, Map : 2008-2013 ]
    Languages: English;French;Chinese;Slovenian, [10 others]
    Read online at Open Library/Internet Archive
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    At 132 libraries
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Mary Ann Shaffer
    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.275)

    This resource may be of limited relevance to your query (score: 0.275)

  1. Lee, Mary (1821 - 1909)
    [ Periodical : 1900-2016 ]
    Possibly online
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    This resource is very relevant to your query (score: 1.759)

  2. Back roads Spain / contributors, Mary-Ann Gallagher [and seven others]
    Gallagher, Mary-Ann
    [ Book, Map, Periodical : 2010-2017 ]
    At 52 libraries
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    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.404)

  3. Macbeth / William Shakespeare
    Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616
    [ Book, Audio book, Microform : 1597-2015 ]
    Languages: English;Chinese;Japanese;Italian, [27 others]
    Read online at Open Library/Internet Archive
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    At 227 libraries
    Macbeth / William Shakespeare
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  4. Dear Mary.(Your Problems Solved)
    Killen, Mary
    Spectator
    [ Article : 2003-2017 ]
    View online (conditions apply)
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  1. RE will of MARY MATILDA LEE, late of Goolmangar, in
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Friday 30 May 1947 [Issue No.66] p 1312

    Government Gazette Private Notices

    ... KB will of MARY MATILDA LEE, late of Goolmangrar. in the State of New South Wales, spinster ... will of the said Mary Matilda Lee, who died 011 1st March, 1947, hereby gives notice that creditors and ... 184 words
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  2. IN the Supreme Court of New South Wales.—Probate Jurisdiction.—In the will of MARY LEE (also known as Mary
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Friday 4 March 1966 [Issue No.25] p 1087

    Government Gazette Private Notices

    ... IN the Supreme Court of New South Wales.—Probate Jurisdiction.—In the will of MARY LEE (also known ... of the said Mary Lee, who died on 3rd November, 1965, hereby gives notice that creditors and others ... 177 words
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  3. RE will of MARY EDNA LEE, late of Goolmangar, in the
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Friday 8 September 1950 [Issue No.145] p 2792

    Government Gazette Private Notices

    ... I BE will of MARY EDNA LEE, late of Goolmansrar, in the State of New South Wales, married woman ... the will of the said Mary Edna Lee, hereby give notice that creditors and others having any claim ... 165 words
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