HerStory Archive

ANDERSON, Maybanke

Also known as: Maybanke Wolstoneholme (the name from her first marriage). Maybanke wrote regularly as 'Lois' in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Born: 1845

Died: April 15, 1927

Special Achievements:

Worked with Rose Scott, Louisa Lawson, the Windeyer family and others on the struggle for women's suffrage and other legal, political and educational reforms.  Helped found the Womanhood Suffrage League of New South Wales in 1891.  In 1894, she started her own newspaper, The Woman's Voice to spread these reforming ideas.  In 1895, Maybanke helped found the Kindergarten Union of New South Wales and helped open the first Free Kindergarten, in Charles Street, Woolloomoolo Sydney, in 1896.  Other free kindergartens followed, all in inner-city slum areas where Maybanke felt the need was greatest.  The WSL's attempts to have suffrage implemented by the New South Wales government were not fruitful; however, in 1897, Maybanke decided to petition the 1897 Federal Convention in Adelaide. She reasoned that this would have the women's vote written into the Federal agenda. Thus, the women from South and Western Australia who already had the vote could not have it taken from them, and if there was suffrage at the federal level, it would flow down to the states. At this time, she also became involved in the pro-federation movement.  Maybanke also worked as a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald.  In 1908, she started the Playgrounds Association which eventually gave inner-city children safe recreational parks.  In 1917, she published an influential pamphlet on the problems of wartime venereal diseases which were causing untold suffering to many women, especially mothers and their babies.

Maybanke had to wait for the passage of the Divorce Amendment and Extension Act in 1892 before she could divorce Edmund Wolstoneholme on the grounds of "three years of desertion." The divorce was finalised in 1893.