There are more statues of animals than women in Australia (Guardian Sept 2023) so it was good to stumble on this statue of Louisa Lawson in Mudgee. You’ve probably heard of her son Henry Lawson and learnt about him as you travelled around this country. But his mum, born in 1848 was an absolutely trail blazer and gave the men of her time, a run for their money! 
She was an intelligent child who rebelled against the expectations of women of her time and went on to marry a man who was quite a lot older than her. At the time, a women had no other choice but to get married if she wished to leave her family home. The editorials in her paper reflected her views on marriage. Here is an extract I found at the Henry Lawson museum in Gulgong. 
“I married because it was the only way of getting a living recognised as respectable in the society in which I lived….” 
“The man who talks of women as darling angles offers this exaggerated verbiage which no one believes, in lier of fair recognition, just as he who talks of chivalry offers a temporary homage to hide a permanent robbery of individual liberty, doffing his hat to the sex in general but keeping his wife well under his thumb”
In 1888 she started Dawn, announcing that it would publicise women's wrongs, fight their battles and sue for their suffrage. At the Henry Lawson museum in Gulgong I learnt that at the time Dawn was the only paper in Australia printed and published by women. 
She then founded The Dawn Club, which became the hub of the suffrage movement in Sydney in 1889 although it wasn’t till 1902 that women were finally given the vote in our state. (with the exception of Aboriginal women). It was quite wonderful to learn that she campaigned for so many issues from equality in marriage, public speaking for women, female access to higher education, fairer property and divorce laws, simple fashion for working women, women in employment for financial independence, women’s refuges, childcare...the list goes on. 
Each of the issues she fought for is inscribed in the pile of books that she is sitting on. She was truly a woman who believed that we can question the fate that society bestows on us and fight for our destiny! It is also ironic that some of those issues still remain as sticking points today! 
I had trouble framing this image, but settled with the pillars in the background, reminding us that at a time when only men were considered the pillars of society, Louisa proved everyone wrong!
But she’ll not ever lie down —
 On her head, in the dust, is a crown
Jewelled and bright, under whose light 
She’ll rise alone.

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