• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: PR00177

Brentnall, Elizabeth

(1830 – 1909)
  • Born 18 September, 1830, Mansfield Nottinghamshire England
  • Died 30 April, 1909, Brisbane Queensland Australia
  • Occupation Political activist


Elizabeth Brentnall was state president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in Queensland from 1886 to 1899 and afterwards an honorary life president until her death in 1909. She first called for women’s suffrage in her presidential address to the WCTU annual convention in 1888. The WCTU formed a separate suffrage department in 1891.


Forceful, eminently capable and with fine organisational ability, Elizabeth Brentnall had been mistress of a large girl’s school before her marriage. She was the daughter of a storekeeper in Mansfield, Nottingham. In 1867 she left her position as headmistress of the Wesleyan day school for girls at Bacup, Lancashire, and followed Frederick Thomas Brentnall to Sydney where they married.

Frederick Brentnall, a moral extremist, opposed votes for women, except with the property qualification, which placed him in direct opposition to his wife’s political ideology. Elizabeth and Frederick had two daughters; Flora, who in 1893 married Edgar Bridal Harris, a well established shipping agent, and Charlotte Amelia. Like her mother, Flora, was a confirmed suffragist and ‘Y’ organiser for the WCTU.


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Related entries

  • President
    • The Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Queensland (1885 - )