March for Justice against Domestic Violence

Women's March4Justice
Demonstrators holding placards at the Women's March4Justice rally, Treasury Gardens, Melbourne, 15 March 2021, 1 / Leigh Henningham, nla.obj-2937256575.

The March4Justice rally saw thousands of people across Australia protest the abuse and sexual violence faced by women. These rallies were held in major cities across Australia and has become one of the most well-known protests of 2021.

The National Library has acquired a large collection of photos from this recent protest, with works from photographers Leigh Henningham and Claire Williams. Both individuals are noted for their documentation of social issues and protest in Australia.

Here are some search terms that you might use in our Catalogue or Trove: 

  • #March4Justice
  • Claire Williams March4Justice
  • Leigh Henningham March4Justice

Further Reading

Interested in learning more about LGBTQ+ community protests? Visit the Australian Queer Archives.

Want to learn more about the Say Yes to Marriage Equality movement? See our Digital Classroom module on Dissent in Society.

The long and ongoing fight for rights and equality for women and LGBTQ+ communities is increasingly well-documented within the National Library’s collections. While the nature of gender and sexuality protests often see great diversity, this section will focus on what the Library has material to provide information on. Below you will find information about Women’s Suffrage, Equal Pay for Women protest, March4Justice protests, the Mardi Gras protest, the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality and the Say Yes to Marriage Equality movement.

Women's Suffrage

Education : journal of the N.S.W. Public School Teachers Federation
Education : journal of the N.S.W. Public School Teachers Federation, Vol. 75 No. 01, p. 10 (7 Feb 1994), nla.obj-525471579

In 1894, the women of South Australia won the right to vote in South Australian elections (which was still a colonial state at the time). The right to vote, which became known as the enfranchisement of women, would be given to all non-Indigenous, non-migrant women of Australia in 1902. The National Library has a large collection of contemporary print material from the Women’s Suffrage movement, including newsletters, journals and a strong collection of manuscript material.

For example, the Papers and Objects of Bessie Rischbieth hold broaches, pins, and documents relating to the Women’s Suffrage movement in Australia. Her collection is one of the largest on this topic at the National Library. Other manuscripts of interest are the Papers of Ruby Rich, Jessica Street and the Records of the Australian Federation of Women Voters.

Here are some search terms that you might use in our Catalogue or Trove:

  • Women’s Suffrage
  • Women's Votes Australia
  • Enfranchisement Women Australia
  • Bessie Rischbieth
  • Jessica Street
  • Ruby Rich

Equal Pay for Women Protest

Following the Second World War, the fight for equal rights for women in the workplace quickly took centre stage. However, it wasn’t until 1969 that women were first rewarded with equal pay - but only for certain roles.

The National Library collections substantially document this part of Australia’s history, including some interesting and unique collections and material. For example, the Equal pay for women: ephemera material in the Riley Collection has a range of brochures, pamphlets, flyers and other everyday material produced for the union-organised protests from the fifties and sixties.

Another fascinating collection item is the audio recording of Jean Arnot interviewed by Amy McGrath. Jean was an activist during the Equal Pay for Equal Work protest, who applied her knowledge and activism to the Library space in New South Wales.

The language used to describe the issue has varied greatly over the years, which can make it difficult to search for material using only keywords. Here are some subject headings that you might use in our Catalogue:

Mardi Gras Protest 1978

Mardi Gras June 28 1978
Mardi Gras ends in violence (1978, June 28). Tribune (Sydney, NSW : 1939 - 1991), p. 11,

The first Sydney Mardi Gras was held in 1978, to commemorate the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969 and support the lesbian and gay community in San Francisco (who were at the time fighting the Brigg Initiative). During the 1978 Sydney Mardi Gras, participants were met with strong opposition and violence from police, with many being jailed for their participation.

The National Library holds unique collection material about the 1978 Mardi Gras protest, with material that cannot be found anywhere else. One such collection is the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras oral history project. This collection hold audio recordings of participants of the Mardi Gras parade in 1978, such as Ron Smith, Julie McCrossin and many more. There is also a large collection of digitised newspapers, magazines and journals available on Trove.

Here are some search terms that you might use in our Catalogue or Trove:

  • Mardi Gras 1978
  • First Sydney Mardi Gras 1978
  • Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 1978
  • 78’ers Mardi Gras

It is important to keep in mind the historical nature of the material in question, which may include terms and language that may be seen as offensive.

Decriminalisation of Homosexuality

The 1970s and early '80s were a time of powerful political protest. The decriminalisation of homosexuality happened over a period of twenty-two years, with South Australia becoming the first state to decriminalise homosexuality in 1975. The rest of Australia’s states and territories followed over the years, with Tasmania decriminalising homosexuality in 1997.

The National Library of Australia holds unique collection material on the decriminalisation of homosexuality, particularly within our oral history collection. The LGBTIQ pioneers oral history project includes a suite of interviews with activists, pioneers and experts who were at the coalface of the movement. Some of these are available online, such as the recordings of Robyn Plaister and Ian Black. The Australian response to AIDS oral history project also captures discussion relating to the decriminalisation of homosexuality as part of Australia’s response to AIDS, along with other social and political issues at the time.

The Library also holds some unique manuscript collections from figures such as John Trigg. His papers include correspondence and unpublished writings recording his experience of growing up in the farming region of South Australia, his travels and religious upbringing, his sexuality and experience as a gay rights activist, and living with HIV after his diagnosis in 1985. 

Within the catalogue there are also some search terms which may be helpful. Please keep in mind that some of the search phrases for this material will often relate to historical wording and language that was used in the period that the material was created. This means terms that we would consider highly offensive may appear in your search or subject headings.

Here are some search terms that you might use in our Catalogue or Trove:

  • Discrimination and homosexuality
  • Decriminalisation of homosexuality
  • Gay liberation or Gay liberation movement

Here are some specific subject headings that you might use in our Catalogue or Trove.

Subject headings that are unique to Australia may have a number of variations or state-based equivalents, such as Gay liberation movement -- AustraliaGay liberation movement -- Australia -- HistoryGay liberation movement -- Australia -- History -- 20th century or Gay liberation movement -- New South Wales. It can be helpful to use the 'Subject' limit when you are looking at search results to identify similar subject headings.

Say Yes to Marriage Equality Protest

Crowd of people, celebrating the passing of the Australian marriage equality bill
Magda Szubanski, surrounded by a crowd of people, celebrating the passing of the Australian marriage equality bill on the lawn of Parliament House, Canberra, 7 December 2017 / Sean Davey, nla.obj-735215730.

In 2017, the Australia Government received a 61.6% ‘Yes’ vote to the voluntary postal vote for Marriage Equality. This result came after many weeks of protest from the ‘Say Yes’ campaigners, with the National Library holding a large collection of material from the movement.

For example, the ‘Yes: to Equality’ website can be found on the Australian Web Archive on Trove, providing context to the lead up to the campaign and events which took place throughout. Additionally, the Library holds the Marriage Equality oral history project, which contains a total of twenty-five interviews with Australians in relation to marriage equality.

Alongside the material from the ‘Say Yes’ campaign, the Library also holds ephemera material of the ‘Say No’ campaign. This collection contains badges, brochures, stickers, t-shirts, small objects and miscellaneous material like wedding invitations.

Here are some search terms that you might use in our Catalogue or Trove

  • Say Yes to marriage equality
  • Say Yes marriage equality campaign Australia
  • Voluntary Postal Vote 2017
  • Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey
Enfranchised! [picture] / H. Cotton 1902, nla.obj-135491691

Women's Suffrage Resources

Want to learn more about Women’s Suffrage in Australia? See our Digital Classroom module Women’s Suffrage.

The State Library of South Australia’s Women’s Suffrage research guide is another great resource.

The case for equal pay
The case for equal pay / Sydney : Council of Action for Equal Pay, [1941], nla.obj-84641624