• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: IMP0141

Young, Jeanne Forster

(1876 – 1955)
  • Born 1 January, 1876, Unley South Australia Australia
  • Died 31 December, 1955
  • Occupation Author, Journalist, Political activist, Welfare worker


A novelist, biographer and political candidate, Jeanne Forster Young passionately advocated proportional representation for women in parliament. She became president of the Democratic Women’s Association of South Australia.


Jeanne Young was born Sarah Jane Forster, one of eight children of John Goodman and Sarah Jane Forster. She became a freelance journalist with the Register and joined Catherine Helen Spence in 1896 in campaigning for proportional representation in parliament. On 23 January 1889, she married the Foreign Editor of the South Australian Advertiser, Alfred Howard Young. They were to have three sons and one daughter.

Jeanne Young was the first and only woman on the Board of Governors of the South Australian Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery (1916-1928). She was appointed to the Magistracy in 1917 and stood for parliament on a non-party ticket in 1918. During the First World War, Young was a member of the Central Red Cross and later became an administrator of the South Australian Soldiers’ Fund. She stood for the Senate in 1937 and was elected president of the Democratic Women’s Association of South Australia.

After the death of Catherine Helen Spence in 1910, Young completed Spence’s autobiography. She founded the C H Spence Scholarship for Women, and in 1937 wrote Catherine Helen Spence: a study and an appreciation.

Young produced several pamphlets on proportional representation, and wrote variously under the pen names of Jeanne F. Young, Sarah Jane Forster and Goodman Forster. On 9 June 1938, Jeanne Young was appointed to The Order of the British Empire – Officer (Civil) (OBE) for her services to social welfare. She died at Rose Park, South Australia in 1955.

In 1994, as part of celebrations for the South Australian Women’s Suffrage Centenary, the centenary committee published Jeanne Forster Young’s novel, Jenifer.


Published resources

  • Edited Book
    • Who's Who in Australia 1944, Alexander, Joseph A, 1944
  • Book
    • An autobiography, Spence, Catherine Helen [edited and introduced by Jeanne F. Young], 1975
    • Catherine Helen Spence : a study and an appreciation, Young, Jeanne F, 1937
    • Jenifer : a novel / by Goodman Forster (Jeanne Forster Young 1876-1955), Young, Jeanne Forster, [1994]
    • Proportional representation in a nutshell, Young, Jeanne F, [1945]
    • Proportional representation : what it means and how it would work, Young, Jeanne F, 1931
    • Preferential voting in single electorates not a reform, Young, Jeanne F, [1920]
    • The Senate - as it is and as it should be : a plea for proportional representation, Young, Jeanne F, 1917
    • Effective voting : an explanation of Hare's single transferable vote, Young, Jeanne F, [1917]
    • Effective voting; how to vote, how to count votes! : diagrams showing inequalities and injustice of single electorates and block votes, Young, Jeanne F, 1911
    • Proportional representation, Young, Jeanne F, [1911]
  • Site Exhibition
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • State Library of South Australia
    • Jenifer (literary manuscript)
    • The Grand Old Woman of Australia (literary manuscript)

Related entries

  • Related Women
    • Spence, Catherine Helen (1825 - 1910)