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An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    Portrait of Bessie Rischbieth, 1938
    Details

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Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874 - 1967)

OBE

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
Co-founder of the British Commonwealth League of Women, becoming foundation vice-president
1925
Inaugural secretary of the Western Australian Women Justices' Association
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

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 Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110404b.htm; National Library of Australia. Manuscript Section [compiled by], Bessie Rischbieth : a guide to her papers in the National Library of Australia, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 1972, 38 pp.

Related entries

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Archival resources

JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia

  • Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel, 1875-1967 Papers, ACC 2552A, 3855A, 4828A; Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874 - 1967); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia Records, 1909 - 1992, ACC 2530A, 4343A-4347A; Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia (1909 - 1997); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia Records, 1896 - 1959, ACC 1949A; Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia (1909 - 1997); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details

National Library of Australia

  • Portrait of Bessie Rischbieth, 1938, PIC P194 LOC C1; National Library of Australia. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • [Badges of women's suffrage groups, worn by Bessie Rischbieth], c. 1913, A40006859, A40006867; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • [Collar with inscription: Votes for women], c. 1913, A40006875; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Greenwood, Irene Papers, 1912 - 1981, MS 7737; Greenwood, Irene Adelaide (1898 - 1992); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • [Order of the British Empire medal awarded to Bessie Rischbieth], c. 1935, A40006840; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Jessie Street, 1914 - 1968, MS 2683; Street, Jessie Mary Grey (1889 - 1970); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Ruby Rich, 1906 - 1984, MS 7493; Rich, Ruby (1888 - 1988); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Ruby Rich, 1943 - 1948, MS 2260; Rich, Ruby (1888 - 1988); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of various Australian women, MS 842; Rapke, Julia; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel Papers and objects, 1900 - 1967, MS 2004; Rischbieth, Bessie Mabel (1874 - 1967); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • [Saucer and plate belonging to Mrs. Pankhurst, presented to Bessie Rischbieth by the Suffragette Fellowship London], c. 1900, A40006891; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room

  • [Biographical cuttings on Bessie Mabel Rischbieth, benefactor]; National Library of Australia Newspaper Microcopy Reading Room. Details

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • Eva Pethybridge Papers, 1943 - 1963, 87/172; 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

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0142b.htm

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