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Louisa and Lesley – The power of Women – Then and now

Wed 8 March at 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Gala dinner following public unveiling of statue of Louisa Lawson, Mudgee woman and tireless campaigner for women’s rights

This event is the culmination of more than 2 years of tireless fundraising and campaigning to recognise the life and achievements of Mudgee woman, Louisa Lawson, and to celebrate the unveiling of a magnificent bronze statue in her honour, on this International Women’s Day, 8th March 2023.

Our special guest and keynote speaker for the evening is Professor Emerita Lesley Hughes, who’s 2022 essay in The Monthly about the life and achievements of Louisa, sparked the ambitious project to raise the $120K required to bring Louisa ‘home’.

Apart from being an advocate for the forgotten but hugely influential women in Australia’s history, Professor Hughes is a great representation of an educated woman advancing life for other women, something Louisa fought tirelessly for.

A TEDx Speaker and considered one of Australia’s leading scientific voices for climate change, Professor Hughes has devoted her life’s work to the impacts of climate change and more recently, the role women play in effecting it. In 2019 she was awarded the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI) Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to climate change communication as well as researching the impact on Australian plants and animals. She was described as a “pioneering ecologist’ and a leading figure in international climate change research, for her leadership in climate change and ecological research.

Professor Hughes also has a strong history of advocating for Women in Science, giving talks around the world, participating in Women in Science and Women in Climate Science events, and is actively engaged in the renowned Science and Gender Equity Athena Swan program.

Who was Louisa?

Louisa Lawson was Henry Lawson’s mother, and his first publisher – without her, we may not have had him. But like so many forgotten women of Australia’s history, she was more than just someone’s daughter, wife and mother. She was a force in her own right. Born on Guntawang Station just outside Gulgong, the family moved to Mudgee and Louisa was educated at the Mudgee Public School. From such humble beginnings, Louisa went on to become Australia’s first published feminist and coined the ‘Mother of Suffrage’ by the NSW Parliament in 1902, working to achieve the vote for women in NSW was just one of the many social justice and feminist causes close to her heart.

Louisa is best known for her pioneering feminist publishing success and tireless advocacy for social justice and women’s rights, particularly their right to vote. In 1887 she bought the ailing Republican and started The Dawn, a magazine owned, written, printed and distributed by women for women. It publicized wrongs against women, fought their battles and campaigned for the right for women to vote. The breadth of the publication was ambitious: “nothing concerning women’s life and interest lies outside our scope”. The Dawn was an immediate commercial success, with subscriptions sold around the world. Within a year, Louisa was employing ten women, including female printers.

From a station hand’s daughter to the wife of an absent chaser of gold, she went on to be an inventor, publisher, suffragette and fierce advocate for the rights of women and children before dying at the age of 72. Many of the freedoms we take for granted today were pioneered and championed by Louisa, through her untiring publishing efforts and fearless public advocacy.


The Pavilion at LOWE
Tinja Lane
Eurunderee, NSW 2850 Australia


Bernadette Eichner


Local government area
Mid-Western Region


The What’s On calendar covers arts and heritage events happening across the NSW Central West in the local government areas of Bathurst Region, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid-Western Region, Oberon, Orange, Parkes and Weddin.

Event listings are sourced or supplied from local venues and arts organisations. Many events listed here have been originally shared by the organisers on social media. Whilst all care is taken – and accuracy is our priority – we can take no responsibility for date changes or the content of contributed information. Contact the event organisers listed for more details or to book tickets.

The best way to include your event is to use our SUBMIT HERE form (under the What's On menu at the top of each page). These listings will be manually approved by the Arts OutWest team before publication.  Please allow a couple of days for listings to be published. If you have submitted an event and want to make changes just email us at artsoutwest@csu.edu.au

'Featured events' are those submitted directly online by presenters.

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