Louisa Lawson. “And why shouldn’t a woman be strong and tall?”


In 1888, Louisa Lawson published the first edition of The Dawn, the response from this writer in the Western Mail (Perth) was a patronising one.

The fair editor is, like her sex, rather inconsistent.

The Dawn was edited, printed and published by women.  The Western Mail went out of print in 1896.  Lawson’s paper’s run lasted until 1905.

The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton) of 27 Oct 1896 made reference to her more famous son (Henry Lawson) in the article’s title.  She was an inventive woman who, while still editing The Dawn, had time to design an improved strap and buckle on the satchels of postmen.  The postal authorities “instantly recognised its ingenuity and adopted it” thus saving time and hundreds of pounds in string and wax.

There are many sources of information to discover more about the life of this amazing woman who added much to the cause of women’s suffrage in Australia. “And why shouldn’t a woman be strong and tall?”  (L L in an interview with The Bulletin).  HT to The Australian Dictionary of Biography. Here’s an entry at the National Library of Australia’s Federation Gateway.  There’s a reference in that link to biographies of Lawson, including Brian Matthews‘  beautifully composed Louisa, published in 1987.

Over here, Lana Brindley is promoting Donna Benjamin‘s project to have Trove Australia digitise “The Dawn”.  Worth our support I reckon.

Postscript 2013 – “The Dawn” is now included in Trove’s collection.