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Smyth, Brettena (c. 1840 - 1898)

Born
c. 1840
Kyneton, Victoria, Australia
Died
15 February 1898
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Advocate and Suffragist
Alternative Names
  • Riordan, Bridgetena (maiden name)

Summary

Brettena was a mature woman of 43 when she became involved in politics - by then a widow, a business owner, and the mother of several children. In 1888 she formed the Australian Women's Suffrage Society, later enveloped by the Victorian Women's Franchise League. A freethinker, Smyth was opposed to orthodox religion and strongly advocated the use of birth control. In 1893 she published The Limitation of Offspring, and she sold rubber pessaries at her grocery shop. Smyth was a competent public speaker and a respected Melbourne identity in the 1890s.

Sources used to compile this entry: Harris, Helen, 'Mrs J B Smyth of Oxley Road', in 1891 Women's Suffrage Petition, Public Record Office Victoria, http://wiki.prov.vic.gov.au/index.php/Smyth; Kelly, Farley, 'Smyth, Bridgetena (Brettena) (1840c -1898)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A120001b.htm.

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