5 December 1889. Page 20.
THE Boston Woman's Journal remarks re-garding the opposition to the employment of women in Sydney.

"In Australia women now occupy about the same position in labor matters that they did in America twelve or fifteen years ago.....

History repeats itself. The printer girls in Australia will hold their own, and in due time labor organisations there will learn, as they have already learned in America that to treat working women as equals is a "policy of self-protection."

published in The Dawn (Sydney, NSW : 1888 - 1905) , Sunday 1 January 1905, page 29

Was this written by Louisa Lawson herself?

Mrs Lawson had an unfortunate association with Manly, however. In 1900 she was at Circular Quay, intending to catch the Manly ferry. The electric tram she was travelling on gave an unexpected lurch, and she was thrown onto the roadway. “Being an exceptionally big and heavy woman, she was much shaken and injured,” reported the Herald. (“And why shouldn’t a woman be tall and strong?” she retorted to such remarks.)

Louisa Lawson at Manly

Katie Hansord has published a doctoral thesis entitled "‘Spirit-music’ Unbound: Romanticism and Print Politics in Australian Women’s Poetry 1830-1905" which features a whole chapter on Louisa's poetry called "LOUISA LAWSON: Transnational Poetics and Feminism in The Dawn".

In 1903 Louisa Lawson wrote an editorial advising women how to use their new found right to vote. Seemed timely given recent newspaper proprietors exhortations on how we ought wield our pencils at the ballot box.

This article was published in the Western Star and Roma Advertiser on 13 August 1890.

Miss Hill speaks about her application to join the New South Wales Typographical Association and says there are many women working as compositors in Sydney, some in the office of The Dawn.

The Dawn was not the only publication produced by, or aimed at women in the late 19th Century and early 20th century. It may not even be the most significant. There are many other sources available to the curious researcher wishing to delve into the past.

Here's a few links that may be of interest. Please leave a comment if you have others to recommend.

The Australian Women's Archives Project has an online exhibition on women journalists.

Louisa Lawson appeared on a stamp designed by Des and Jackie O'Brien, and was one in a series of six stamps released on 6 August 1975 to commemorate the International Year of Women.

Louisa Lawson and 'The Dawn' is the subject of a free public talk at the SMSA on Tuesday 5th June

Louisa Lawson convinced the board of the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts to admit women to the Debating Club and and became the first female committee member. The Lawson Room is named in recognition of her contribution to the SMSA.


Monday 28th of May saw Donna Benjamin speaking at a summit organised by the South Australian Office for Women.

It was well tweeted and trended nationally.

Check out the storify summary

Jessie Street National Women's Library is a specialist library, collecting material about women and women's issues. It is self-funding and dependent largely on membership subscriptions, donations and fundraising events to meet its running expenses. It is staffed by volunteers, many of whom are professional librarians, who willingly give personal attention to users and their needs. The library is housed at the Ultimo Community Centre, 523-525 Harris St Ultimo in New South Wales.

Today "The Dawn" is available to all through the National Library of Australia's Trove search tool.

You can download whole PDFs of each issue, but you can also browse article by article. You can copy and paste citations in a range of formats, including one for wikipedia!

And you can help improve the text!

The Australian Town and Country Journal was published in Sydney by Frank and Christopher Bennett between 1870 and 1919. On 2 June, 1888 it published the following introductory announcement in a section titled "Our Bookshelf."


The February number of "Dawn," a journal for the household, published in Sydney, has come to hand. It contains much of interest to the owner of the "hand that rocks the cradle," and controls the domestic affairs of the community. The magazine contains articles on hygiene, gardening, fashion, letter writing, the household, etc. The printer, however, might take a little more care with his work.

Research into the history of women in technology prepared the soil for the Digitise The Dawn campaign. I was looking for women who worked in technology before the rise of modern computing. Discovering the basic story and achievements of Louisa Dunkley, I turned to Trove to see if I could find out more. I thought there might be a reference to Ms Dunkley in Louisa Lawson's publication. Discovering that The Dawn was not yet online was the seed.


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