Sunday 19 September is Women’s Suffrage Day – a celebration of New Zealand women getting the vote in 1893. The Kate Sheppard Memorial in Oxford Terrace celebrates some of our pioneering sisterhood.
Another group of leaders are Christchurch’s own Women in the Council Chamber and we have brief political audio biographies on Ada Wells, Elizabeth McCombs, the famed Mabel Howard as well as more recent councillors.
Our collection of Unsung heroines highlights local identities. These women were characters in all senses of the word. Bella Button – famed for her horseriding prowess – trained cats to jump like horses. Lizzie Coker, of Coker’s Hotel fame, was remembered as a ‘fantastic creature in elaborate wigs and huge fur coats’.
Other things to explore:
A brief diary written on board the Tintern Abbey en route from Gravesend to Christchurch, December 1874 – May 1875 by Mary Anne McCrystal, 1849-1929.
Elsie Locke – one of our Canterbury Heroes, her plaque reads ‘Political, social and local community activist, well-loved historian and writer, determined and doughty fighter for the rights of the under-dog, active to the end’.
The statement certainly made me wonder what the outcome for feminism and women in general will be if all of the younger generation think that way. I was looking forward to Your skirt’s too short, one of the events at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival. Unfortunately the Festival was cancelled due to the earthquake. It was going to feature panellists Marilyn Waring, feminist and gender rights expert, and Emily Maguire, journalist and novelist who is widely published with articles and essays on “sex, religion, culture and literature”.
Brush up on your feminism with titles in the library.
Every month on the website we have a different theme. September’s theme is Learning, and in the spirit of ‘sharing the lurn’, here are a few fings wot I have lurned:
Earthquakes (and other natural disasters) are much less exciting when actually lived through, rather than just observed on the telly.
You should never leave on your workdesk on a Friday afternoon: anything important (chocolate bars, urgent messages, cellphones, any books that you have been waiting to read for months); anything perishable; anything you don’t want to have collected by Civil Defence guys in hard hats on Monday morning.
A really good book (clearly not the one I left on my desk on Friday 3rd September) still has the power to take me out of the rather stressful and shaky real world, and transport me to other worlds. And I love this.