Catherine Helen Spence

This is the original plaster bust for the life size bronze statue of Catherine Helen Spence by Adelaide sculptor Ieva Pocius. Pocius was born in Lithuania in 1923, and worked in Adelaide as both an art teacher and sculptor.

Catherine Helen Spence was Australia’s first professional female journalist and first female political candidate to stand for election. She was a dedicated social and political reformer. Spence’s influence on the suffrage movement culminated in South Australia being the first Australian colony where women won the right to vote, and the first in the world to give women the right to stand for Parliament.

Spence stood for election in the 1897 South Australian election, but was unsuccessful. A woman was not elected to State Parliament until 1959 when Joyce Steele and Jessie Cooper were elected.

State Library of South Australia, D 7788