HEAR Beechworth and Stanley women in the arts, education and community advocacy bring to life the works of Ada Cambridge – Australia’s first significant colonial-era woman poet and Beechworth resident – in the town’s Anglican Christ Church on July 6.
Teacher Lesley Milne, teacher and artist Valerie Crosse, former Beechworth Secondary College teachers Jean Memery and Helen McIntyre, printmaker and former Indigo arts officer Chris Dormer, historian Jacqui Durrant, Indigo mayor Jenny O’Connor and poet Jill Keith will read poems they’ve selected from Cambridge’s literature: some of them in the very place where they were penned.
The English-born writer, poet and keen social observer lived in Beechworth between 1885 and 1893 during her husband’s tenure as vicar of Christ Church. She was in her 40s at the time and was considered avant-garde by some of her peers for her views on a woman’s role in marriage, sex, gender equality and suffrage.
Cambridge was one of many women in the North East who signed the 1891 ‘Great Petition’ to Victoria’s parliament in which almost 30,000 throughout Victoria sought the right to vote “on equal terms with men”.
Chris Dormer said Cambridge’s writing was widely read in Australia, England and the United States. “Her work was extremely modern in addressing the conditions of women and the social issues of her time,” she said.
Williamstown Literary Festival annually awards prizes named in Ada Cambridge’s honour for biographical prose, poetry and young writers’ work. She moved with her husband from Beechworth to Williamstown in 1893 when he was appointed rector in the bayside western port. She died in 1926. More information about her life and works can be found in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
Where: Christ Church, 27 Ford Street, Beechworth Victoria 3747
Date: Friday July 6, 2018
Ticket: $10 includes refreshments: book now