Writing the war: Vida Goldstein

  • Date recorded: 30 Jun 2014

  • Duration: 05:13

'For the first time in history, the people of a whole nation are being asked whether they shall declare their allegiance to the force of Might or the force of Right.'

– Vida Goldstein

About this video

Watch our series of short films accompanying our Writing the war: personal stories from WWI exhibition, highlighting the individual experiences of Australians who participated in the war. The films also feature in our permanent exhibition, The changing face of Victoria, as part of the State Library's World War I centenary commemoration. The Writing the war touring exhibition will travel to Victorian public libraries from August 2015 to June 2017.

This film features the anti-war writings of Portland-born pacifist Vida Goldstein, who campaigned against WWI conscription as chair of the Australian Women’s Peace Army and in her newspaper, The Woman Voter.

Hear extracts from Vida Goldstein's special appeal to women to vote NO to conscription in 1916. This manifesto of the Women's Peace Army was published in The Woman Voter in October 1916. Conscription was narrowly rejected in the 1916 referendum, with 51% voting against the proposal.

About Vida Goldstein

Vida Jane Mary Goldstein (1869–1949) was born in Portland, Victoria. An early Australian feminist politician, in 1903 she was the first woman in the British Empire to stand for election to a national parliament. Vida was a pioneer of the women’s suffrage movement and a staunch pacifist, forming the Women's Peace Army in 1915 and becoming chair of the Peace Alliance.

Watch the other videos in this series