Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Weeks, Clara (1852 - 1937)

Victoria, Australia
Suffrage activist, Teacher and Women's rights activist


Clara Weeks was born in England in 1852 and came to Victoria with her family at the age of six. Described as a 'born teacher', she began her career at sixteen, working in many rural and urban schools. She retired in 1913 as the Infant Mistress at Carlton Primary School, one of the highest positions then attainable for women, at one of Melbourne's largest government schools.

Weeks' professional experience radicalised her, particularly when it came to fighting for equal pay for women. Salaray and superannuation scheme for men assumed they needed to care for dependents whereas no such assumption was made for women. However, as Weeks observed, 'hardly any women she knew ... not one … did not have a dependant'.

Weeks was active in was active in many women's organizations and worked alongside Vida Goldstein on the Victorian Women's Suffrage Executive Committee.

Weeks died in 1937 having influenced hundreds of teachers, thousands of pupils and thousands more women with her advocacy for their rights.

Sources used to compile this entry: Towns, Deborah, 'C M Weeks of Mooroolbark', in 1891 Women's Suffrage Petition, Public Record Office Victoria,

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