DORA MEESON COATES,
THE WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE BANNER

Dora Meeson (1869–1955) The Women’s Suffrage Banner: Trust the women…,1908. Reproduced by permission of Lt Col. Simon Hearder on behalf of the heirs in copyright. Gifts Collection, Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT

This handpainted hessian banner brought the women of a fledgling nation to the world stage. Designed by Dora Meeson Coates, the banner was carried by the Australian contingent in the Women’s Suffrage Coronation Procession in London in 1911. It shows “daughter” Australia urging her “mother” Britannia to grant women the vote as Australia had done nine years earlier in the 1902 Commonwealth Franchise Act. This act also gave Australian women the right to stand for election to the Commonwealth Parliament – the first country in the world to do so. See this work, and the rest of the national collection, in Canberra.