Henrietta Dugdale[14 May 1827 - 17 June 1918]
Suffragist and feminist
Some there are who say “If we permit woman to go beyond her sphere, domestic duties will be neglected.” In plainer language, “If we acknowledge woman is human, we shall not get so much work out of her”.’ Henrietta Dugdale, A Few Hours in a Far-Off Age (1883).
Henrietta Augusta Dugdale was born in 1827, in London. At the age of 21 she married a Mr Davies, and they moved to Melbourne in 1852. After Davies' death in 1853 she married William Dugdale and they had three sons, before they separated in 1868. In 1903 she married Fredrick Johnson. Henrietta made all of her own clothes, grew her own vegetables and was adept in carpentry. She was also an excellent chess player.
Henrietta was first involved in women’s rights, from 1869, when she wrote a letter to the Argus, under the pseudonym of Ada, commenting on the Married Women's Property Bill. In it she pleaded for equal justice for all women , but did not specifically mention sufferage. In 1884 she was chairwoman of the Executive Committee of the first Victorian Woman’s Suffrage Society in its first very active year. She was also a member of the Victorian group of radical, free-thinking women who believed in temperance, birth control, and “applying the surgeons knife to rapists”. Henrietta believed that only through the use of reason, and equality of the sexes, could mankind accomplish perfection.
She fought for women’s right to have a place in politics, and urged women to fight to achieve equal social, legal and political privileges. In her fight she attacked Christianity and the monarchy, causing opposition from conservatives. All Henrietta’s beliefs were embodied in her publication, A Few Hours in a Far Off Age, published in 1883. Henrietta died in 1918, at the age of ninety-one.