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    Portrait of Bessie Rischbieth, 1938
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Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874 - 1967)

OBE, 2001 Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Born
16 October 1874
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Died
16 March 1967
Bethesda Hospital, Claremont, Western Australia, Australia
Occupation
Women's rights activist and Feminist
Alternative Names
  • Earle, Bessie (maiden name, 16 October 1874 - 22 October 1898)

Summary

Bessie Rischbieth's interest in woman's suffrage was aroused when she attended a suffrage meeting in London in 1908. A co-founder of the Women's Service Guild of Western Australia in 1909, she was also co-founder and President of the Australian Federation of Women Voters (1921-1942). Rischbieth editored The Dawn, a women's paper issued in Perth from 1914 to 1939. A talented craftswoman her art embroidery, beaten copperwork and word carvings were exhibited with the West Australian Society of Arts. In the later years of her life Rischbieth clashed with Jessie Street, whom she labelled a communist. Bessie Rischbieth was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her work with women's movements.

Details

Events

22 October 1898
Married wool merchant, Henry Wills Rischbieth (deceased 1925)
1906
Founding member of the Children's Protection Society
25 March 1909
Foundation member of the Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia
1911 - 1922
President of the Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia
1915
Appointed, in an honorary capacity, to the Children's Court
1920
Appointed as a justice of the peace to the Perth Court
1921 - 1942
Foundation president of the Australian Federation of Women's Societies (later Voters)
1925
Inaugural secretary of the Western Australian Women Justices' Association
1925
Co-founder of the British Commonwealth League of Women, becoming foundation vice-president
1926
Joined the board of the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship
1928
Leader of the Australian delegation to the Pan-Pacific Women's Conference in Honolulu
3 June 1935
Appointed Officer to the Order of the British Emipre for her service with the women's movements
1939 - 1945
World for Australian servicemen at the Boomerang Club, Australia House, England
1946 - 1950
President of the Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia
1955
Life member of the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship
1964
Published March of Australian women
2001
Inducted onto Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Sources used to compile this entry: Alexander, Joseph A (ed.), Who's Who in Australia 1962, 17 edn, Colorgravure Publications, Melbourne, 1962, 960 pp; Lutton, Nancy, 'Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874-1967)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110404b.htm; National Library of Australia, Guide to the Papers of Bessie Rischbieth, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-250831564/findingaid.

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Archival resources

National Library of Australia

  • Badges of women's suffrage groups worn by Bessie Rischbieth, circa 1913 [realia], c. 1913, PIC CZ Object Drawer 2 #A40006859; National Library of Australia. Details
  • [Biographical cuttings on Bessie Mabel Rischbieth, benefactor, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals], Bib ID 484148; National Library of Australia. Details
  • [Order of the British Empire medal awarded to Bessie Rischbieth] [realia], c. 1935, PIC CZ Object Drawer 2 #A40006840; Bessie Rischbieth Collection.; National Library of Australia. Details
  • [Sash with inscription: Votes for women] [realia], c. 1908, PIC CZ 1/3/3 #A40006875/1; National Library of Australia. Details
  • [Saucer and plate belonging to Mrs. Pankhurst, presented to Bessie Rischbieth by the Suffragette Fellowship London] [realia] / [manufactured by] Williamsons, Longton, Eng, c. 1900, PIC CZ Object Drawer 2 #A40006891; Bessie Rischbieth Collection.; National Library of Australia. Details

National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection

  • Papers and objects of Bessie Rischbieth, 1900-1967 [manuscript], 1900 - 1967, MS 2004; Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874 - 1967); National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Irene Greenwood, 1912-1981 [manuscript], 1912 - 1981, MS 7737; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Jessie Street, circa 1914-1968 [manuscript], c. 1914 - 1968, MS 2683; Street, Jessie Mary Grey (1889 - 1970); National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Ruby Rich, 1906-1984 [manuscript], 1906 - 1984, MS 7493; Rich, Ruby (1888 - 1988); National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Ruby Rich, 1943-1948 [manuscript], 1943 - 1948, MS 2260; Rich, Ruby (1888 - 1988); National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers on various Australian women [19--] [manuscript], MS 842; Rapke, Julia; National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection. Details

National Library of Australia, Pictures Collection

  • [Portrait of Bessie Rischbieth] [picture], 1938, PIC Drawer C1 #P194; National Library of Australia, Pictures Collection. Details

State Library of Western Australia, J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History

  • Bessie Mabel Rischbieth papers, MN 634; ACC 2552A plus 4 more; Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874 - 1967); State Library of Western Australia, J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History. Details
  • Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia records, 1909 - 1992, MN 826; ACC 2765A plus 12 more; Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia (1909 - 1997); State Library of Western Australia, J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History. Details

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Pethybridge, Eva, 1943 - 1963, 1987.0172; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Digital resources

Title
Portrait of Bessie Rischbieth
Type
Image
Date
1938

Details

See also

Title
First Women's Pan-Pacific Conference
Type
Image
Date
1928
Creator
Covell, Bert G.

Details

Anne Heywood

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