Adela Pankhurst

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Adela Walsh
Adela Walsh (taken before 1921)
Personal details
Born Adela Constantia Mary Pankhurst
(1885-06-19)19 June 1885
Chorlton upon Medlock, Lancashire
Died 23 May 1961(1961-05-23) (aged 75)
Wahroonga, Sydney, Australia
Citizenship Australian
Nationality British
Political party Independent Labour Party
Communist Party of Australia
Australia First Movement
Spouse(s) Thomas Walsh
Children 6
Parents Richard Pankhurst
Emmeline Pankhurst (née Goulden)

Adela Constantia Mary Pankhurst Walsh (19 June 1885 – 23 May 1961) was a British-Australian suffragette, political organiser, and co-founder of both the Communist Party of Australia and the Australia First Movement.

Adela was born on 19 June 1885 in Manchester, England, into a politicised family: her father, Richard Pankhurst was a socialist and candidate for Parliament, and her mother Emmeline Pankhurst and sisters Sylvia and Christabel were leaders of the British suffragette movement. Her mother was of Manx descent.[1] Adela attended the all-woman Studley Horticultural College in Warwickshire, and Manchester High School for Girls. As a teenager, Adela became involved in the militant Women's Social and Political Union founded by her mother and sisters.

Following estrangement from her family, Adela emigrated to Australia in 1914. She was recruited during World War I as an organiser for the Women's Peace Army in Melbourne by Vida Goldstein. Pankhurst wrote a book called Put Up the Sword, penned a number of anti-war pamphlets[2] and addressed public meetings on her opposition to the war and conscription. In August 1917, Pankhurst was arrested during a march against rising food prices in Melbourne, which had been part of a series of sometimes violent demonstrations, unusual for the time in that they were spearheaded by women.[3] In September 1917, she married Tom Walsh of the Federated Seamen's Union of Australasia, with whom she had a son and five daughters. In 1920, Pankhurst became a founding member of the Communist Party of Australia, from which she was later expelled.

She became disillusioned with communism and founded the anti-communist Australian Women's Guild of Empire in 1927.[4] In 1941 Adela became one of the founding members of the right wing and nationalistic Australia First Movement. She visited Japan in 1939 and was arrested and interned in 1942 for her advocacy of peace with Japan.

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  1. ^ Bartley, p. 16; Liddington and Norris, p. 74.
  2. ^ Sparrow, Jeff (December 24, 2015). "'Wayward suffragette' Adela Pankhurst and her remarkable Australian Life". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Smart, Judith (May 1986). "Feminists, food and the cost of living demonstrations in Melbourne August-September 1917". Labour History (50): 113–131. doi:10.2307/27508786. 
  4. ^ Sparrow, Jeff (December 24, 2015). "'Wayward suffragette' Adela Pankhurst and her remarkable Australian Life". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  • Verna Coleman Adela Pankhurst: The Wayward Suffragette 1885-1961 Melbourne University Press, 1996
  • Joy Damousi, "The Enthusiasms of Adela Pankhurst Walsh", Australian Historical Studies, April 1993, pp. 442–436
  • Anne Summers, "The Unwritten History of Adela Pankhurst Walsh", in Elizabeth Windschuttle (editor), Women, Class and History, Fontana / Collins, 1980, pp. 388–402

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