They are the faces we see everyday but know nothing about. Just recently I was staring at my $10 note and had the fleeting thought- “I wonder who that lady is?”, but then quickly passed over my cash and replaced it with a coffee.
So who are these women on our money, and what have they done to deserve the honour of immortality on our cash? (well that is until our cashless society completely takes over).
Looking dashing in purple is the lady who least needs an introduction. Queen Elizabeth II. Being apart of the Commonwealth means that our monarch is featured on our money, and the $5 note is special in the way that it is the only note which features one person and not two.
The lady in blue, is Dame Mary Gilmore (1865-1962). She was known for her campaigning against inequality and deprivation, as well as a known poet, author and journalist. Her work saw her campaign against topics such as the inability of women to vote, the treatment of Indigenous Australians and pushed reforms to old age and disability pensions, child endowment and better treatment of returned servicemen.
One of Australia’s earliest business women, Mary Reibey (1777-1855) arrived as a convict but soon became successful in her own right. After taking over her husband’s enterprises following his death, she gained a high reputation as a business woman and shared her fortune by funding charitable work, church and education interests.
Edith Cowan (1861-1932) was the first female Australian politician. Her work focused on reforms for women, children and migrants and was crucial towards the founding of the Women’s Service Guild and the Children’s Protection Society. In 1921, Cowan was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia.
Dame Nellie Melba (181-1931) rose to international fame due to her soprano voice, which was praised for its even quality over its three-octave range. She is an Australian who never lost her roots, even though she was an international star. She would often participate in a number of charitable causes in Australia.
She Society is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.