Woman Brentnall, Elizabeth (1830 - 1909)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
- Suffragist and Temperance activist
Written by Patricia Grimshaw, The University of Melbourne
Elizabeth Brentnall was a leader in the suffrage movement in Queensland, working from a base in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She was born in 1830 in Nottingham in England. In 1867 when she was headmistress of a Methodist school in Lancashire she migrated to Sydney where she married Frederick Brentnall, a Methodist clergyman. The couple had two daughters. The family shifted to Brisbane where Frederick Brentnall became a member of the Legislative Council in 1886; unlike his wife, he supported the women's vote only with a limited franchise.
Elizabeth Brentnall became president of the WCTU in Queensland in 1886 and served in that capacity till 1899; afterwards she was an honorary life president. Her leadership was marked by a 'high tone of spirituality ... Sympathy ... Wisdom ... [and] cheerfulness' (Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), 1 May 1909). She first called for women's suffrage in her presidential address to the WCTU annual convention in 1888 and three years later the WCTU formed a separate suffrage department and engaged in a vigorous campaign until the vote was passed in 1905. Her daughter, Flora Harris, was also a suffragist and organiser for the 'youth' section of the WCTU. Brentnall died in Brisbane 1909.
- McCulloch, John, From Suffragists to Legislators, Central Queensland University (CQU) Press, Rockhampton, Queensland, 2005. Details
- 'Brentnall, Elizabeth (1830 - 1909)', The Australian Women's Register, National Foundation for Australian Women, http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/PR00177b.htm. Details
- 'Death of Mrs F. T. Brentnall', The Brisbane Courier (Brisbane, Queensland), 1 May 1909, p. 7, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19580741. Details
- Lawson, Ronald, 'Brentnall, Frederick Thomas (1834-1925)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (ANU), c.2006, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/brentnall-frederick-thomas-3050/text4487. Details