- 6 March 1842
- 16 July 1908
South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
- Feminist, Lecturer and Suffragist
Helen Hart was a feminist preacher and lecturer who actively campaigned for women's rights and suffrage in Britain, New Zealand and Australia. She was the first woman to speak publicly in many regions on the subject of women's rights and, as such, she was subjected to physical assault, practical jokes—such as having fireworks thrown at her—derision and even sexual harassment.
In her childhood, Hart became involved with anti-slavery and temperance movements, and began open-air preaching from the age of 19. She was in London by the 1860s, working as a lecturer and possibly a journalist. In 1876 she was on the executive committee of the National Society for Women's Suffrage and on the provisional executive committee of the Association to Promote Women's Knowledge of the Law. As such she was known to many of the leaders of the women's movement. Although she considered herself a leader of the women's suffrage movement in Australia, others did not acknowledge her as such.
Sources used to compile this entry: Harris, Helen D., 'Hart, Helen (1842-1908)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/AS10208b.htm.