• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0097

Pankhurst, Adela Constantia Mary

(1885 – 1961)
  • Born 19 June, 1885, Chorlton upon Medlock Lancashire England
  • Died 23 May, 1961, Wahroonga Sydney New South Wales Australia
  • Occupation Feminist, Pacifist, Political activist, Suffragist


Adela Pankhurst was a feminist and pacifist whose political affiliations shifted from communism to strong anti-communism over her lifetime of activism. Born in England, the daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, Adela was involved with the British suffrage movement from her teenage years and then the Women’s Social and Political Union which was founded by her mother and sisters in 1904. She later became estranged from her family and moved to Melbourne in 1914 partly for health reasons. Once there she worked with Vida Goldstein and the Women’s Political Association and campaigned against conscription particularly with the Women’s Peace Army. She also joined the Victorian Socialist Party. She married Tom Walsh, a fellow anti-conscriptionist, in 1917. After the war they moved to Sydney and had five children. They were foundation members of the Communist Party of Australia, but soon withdrew. Adela’s evolving anti-communism became starkly apparent when, in 1928, she founded the Australian Women’s Guild of Empire. Pankhurst used this conservative patriotic organisation as a platform to advocate the need for industrial cooperation, and she frequently spoke out against strikes. She ended her public life in 1943 with her husband’s death.


Adela Pankhurst toured Australia in 1915 with Vida Goldstein and Cecilia John to set up branches of the Women’s Peace Army in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.


Published resources

  • Resource
  • Resource Section
  • Book
    • Adela Pankhurst: The wayward suffragette 1885-1961, Coleman, Verna, 1996
    • After the war what?: Being papers on The Duties of labor, and, The Unity and morality of the nation, Pankhurst, Adela, 1917
    • Australia and the Empire, Walsh, Adela Pankhurst
  • Book Section
    • Feminists, food and the fair price: The cost of living demonstrations in Melbourne, August/ September 1917, Smart, Judith, 1995
    • Brazen hussies and God's police fighting back in the depression years. [Revised version of article published in Hecate, v.8, no.1, 1982], Stone, Janey, 1998
    • The Australian Women's Guild of Empire, Castle, Josie, 1980
    • The unwritten history of Adela Pankhurst Walsh, Summers, Anne, 1980
  • Newspaper
    • The voice of the people: The people's welfare is the nation's strength, 1940
    • The Empire Gazette, 1929-1940
  • Pamphlet
    • Conditions in Japan: Lecture, Walsh, Adela Pankhurst, 1940
    • Industrial co-operation: Policy speech of the Australian Women's Guild of Empire, Walsh, Adela Pankhurst, 1931
    • Is communism possible in Australia?: Special to " Advance! Australia", Walsh, Adela Pankhurst, 1929?
  • Journal Article
    • The Enthusiasms of Adela Pankhurst Walsh, Damousi, Joy, 1993
  • Edited Book
    • 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Radi, Heather, 1988
  • Site Exhibition

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Thomas Walsh and Adela Pankhurst Walsh papers, 1905-1961 [manuscript]
    • Thomas Walsh and Adela Pankhurst Walsh papers, 1905-1961 [microform]
  • National Library of Australia
    • [Biographical cuttings on Adela Constantia Mary Pankhurst Walsh, leader of suffragette movement, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]

Related entries

  • Associate
    • Goldstein, Vida (1869 - 1949)
    • John, Cecilia Annie (1877 - 1955)
  • Member
    • Women's Political Association of Victoria (1903 - 1919)
    • Labor Women's Anti-Conscription Committee (1916 - 1917)
  • Related Organisations
    • Women's Peace Army (1915 - 1919)
    • The United Associations of Women (1929 - )
  • Founder
    • Australian Women's Guild of Empire (1928 - 1940)
  • Colleague
    • Todd, Ellen Joy (1860 - 1948)