• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE1133

Kirk, Maria (Marie) Elizabeth

(1855 – 1928)
  • Born 9 December, 1855, London United Kingdom
  • Died 14 January, 1928, Malvern Victoria Australia
  • Occupation Welfare worker, Women's rights activist


Marie Kirk was a leading figure in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union both in Victoria and nationally and helped to establish the Victorian Union in 1887. She held numerous executive positions in the organisation. She was also a strong supporter of women’s rights, a member of the Victorian Women’s Franchise League, and helped to establish the National Council of Women of Victoria in 1902. She supported equal pay, raising the age of consent for girls, and also took a keen interest in the welfare of women prisoners and in the kindergarten movement.


Kirk (nee Sutton) was born in London in 1855 and married Frank Kirk (an ironmonger and later bootmaker) in 1878. Reared as a Quaker, she worked as a missionary in London’s ‘slums’ and became active in the British Women’s Temperance Association. In 1886 she represented this group at a meeting held in Toronto to organise the World Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. She moved to Victoria that same year.



  • 2001 - 2001

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Published resources

  • Book Section
    • Temperate Feminists: Marie Kirk and the WCTU, Hyslop, Anthea, 1985
  • Newsletter
    • The White Ribbon Signal: Official Organ of the Woman's Temperance Union of Victoria, 1891-1931
  • Resource
  • Edited Book
    • 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Radi, Heather, 1988

Archival resources

  • The University of Melbourne Archives
    • Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Victoria
  • Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre
    • Women's Suffrage Petition 1891

Related entries

  • Secretary
    • The Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Victoria (1885 - )
  • Related Cultural Artefacts
    • Women's Suffrage Petition (Monster Petition) (1891 - 1970)