MS 2683

Papers of Jessie Street (1889 - 1970)



Scope and Content Note

Creator: Jessie Street

Title: Papers

Date range: 1914-68

Extent: 4.18 metres (31 boxes + 5 folios)

Administrative Information

Reference number: MS 2683

Provenance

Jessie Street’s husband, Sir Kenneth Street, donated the papers to the National Library in 1970. Her son, Sir Laurence Street, made a substantial addition in 1972. Further small additions were made to the collection between 1973 and 2001.

Related material

Other Street Family papers are held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

Other collections held in the Manuscript Section which contain material relating to Jessie Street are the papers of Bessie Rischbieth (MS 2004), Dame Mary Gilmore (MS 727) and Peter Sekuless (MS 5365).

Recordings received with this donation have been transferred to ScreenSound Australia. The catalogue for their collection can be searched on the web at http://www.screensound.gov.au.

The Oral History Section holds a De Berg tape-recording and transcript made by Jessie Street available (ORAL DeB 197,198).

The Pictorial Section also holds Jessie Street photographs.

The papers document Street’s involvement in the major feminist organisation at the time: the United Associations of Women (U.A.W). She was President of this organisation for many years, from its inception in 1929. The records relating to the struggle for Aboriginal rights are extensive and include petitions to the Holt Government calling for a referendum.

Jessie Street actively campaigned for the peaceful settlement of international and national issues causing conflict and the banning of nuclear weapons. Papers relating to these activities can be found in Series 4: Peace Movement Activities and Series 5: United Nations, which is the largest series of the collection. Street attended United Nations Conferences as a delegate on various occasions and many session papers from 1945 were collected. She worked for the introduction of National Social Insurance and stood as a Labor candidate, but was unsuccessful in gaining a seat. Street also actively encouraged friendship with the U.S.S.R.

The collection includes correspondence, speeches, broadcasts, printed material, maps, minutes of meetings, financial records, diaries, passports, photographs, sound recordings and papers relating to her writings on a diverse range of issues, including accounts of her many overseas travels.

Although Street’s contemporary, Bessie Rischbieth, worked on similar feminist issues, their efforts on an issue such as “equal pay for women”, were not united. The Rischbieth collection (MS 2004) shows a gap in the correspondence in the Street Collection, despite Jessie Street’s apparently meticulous habit of keeping correspondence received and carbon duplicates of business letters sent. Only one of the eleven letters sent by Bessie Rischbieth appear in Jessie Street’s correspondence. This inconsistency is unusual; one explanation is given in a letter written by Jessie Street in April 1967. It refers to Muriel Tribe, (Jessie Street’s assistant) “destroying eight waste paper baskets full” of her papers, so it possible that these missing letters could have been destroyed (Letter located in Series 1, Folder 34).

Name index to correspondence - A name index is available in card form.


Biographical Note

1889 Born Jessie Mary Grey Lillingston at Chota Nagpur, India (now Biahar Province)

1892 Family moved to Darjeeling, India

1899 Family moved to Australia and settled at “Yulgilbar,” on the banks of the Clarence River, N.S.W.

1910 Graduated from Sydney University, with a Bachelor of Arts

1911 Attended the Conference of the International Council of Women, in Rome

1912 Travelled to Women’s International Conference in Rome and studied social conditions in Europe

1915 Trained in social work in the U.S.A.

1915 Founded the N.S.W. Social Hygiene Association

1916 Married Kenneth Street, later Sir Kenneth Street. He was Lieutenant Governor of N.S.W. and Chief Justice of N.S.W., 1950-60

1918 Established the Women Sports Union at Sydney University as a foundation member

1920 Foundation member of the Australian League of Nations

1924 Established Home Training Institute

1929 Elected first President of the United Association of Women

1930 Attended the League of Nations at Geneva and again in 1938

1930 Travelled to England, Geneva and U.S.A to study National Social Insurance

1938 Revisited U.S.A, England Europe and U.S.S.R. to observe social and economic changes

1941 Chairman of the Women’s Forum for Social and Economic Reconstruction

1941-5 Chairman of the Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee in N.S.W.

1942 Chairman of the All-Australian Women’s Conference

1943 Re-elected President of the United Association of Women

1943 Unsuccessfully contested the Australian Labor Party Federal preselection in the Eden Monaro and Wentworth electorates

1943 Chairman of the Australian Women’s Charter Committee

1944 Founded the feminist publication Australian Women’s Digest

1945 Delegate to the United Nations Conference at San Francisco

1946 Unsuccessfully stood as a Labor candidate again in the Wentworth electorate

1946 Delegate in the Status of Women Commission held by the U.N.

1946 President of the Australian-Russian Society, later to become the Australian-Soviet Society

1947 Delegate to 1st Session, Status of Women Commission

1948 1948 Delegate to the 2nd Session of the Status of Women Commission

1949 Unsuccessfully stood as Independent Labor candidate in the Wentworth electorate

1950 Left Australia to remain abroad for the next six years

1950 Delegate to the second World Peace Conference, Warsaw

1953 Guest to attend Stalin’s funeral at Moscow

1955 Delegate at the World Assembly for Peace, Helsinki

1956 Returned to Australia

1956 Commenced work with the Aboriginal Rights Movement

1958 Attended International Committee of Mother’s Conference in Sofia

1958 Attended Executive Committee of World Peace Council, New Delhi

1958 Visited Chinese Peace Committee, Peking, China

1961 Commenced writing Truth or repose, her autobiography

196624 Truth or repose published

1970 Died in Sydney

Children

(1) Belinda Jessie Whistler Street
Born 15 February 1918
Married 11 Oct. 1939 to Donald Gordon Farquhar Mackay

(2) Philippa Lillingston Whistler Street
Born 7 Nov. 1919
Married 17 Jan. 1942 to John Henry (Jack) Fingleton

(3) Roger Kenneth Whistler Street
Born 18 August 1921

(4) Laurence Lillingston Whistler Street (now Sir Laurence)
Born 3 Jul. 1926
Married 7 Mar. 1952 to Susan Watt

Sources

Farwell, George Squatters’ castle Landsdowne, 1973

Radi, Heather Jessie Street, documents and essays. Sydney Women’s Redress Press, c.1990

Sekuless, Peter Jessie Street. A rewarding but unrewarded life University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1978

Street, Jessie Truth or repose, Australasian Book Society, Sydney, 1966

Street, Kenneth Annals of the Street family of Birtley (n.p), 1941


Series List

Series/Title

1 Personal items, 1914-67

2 Writings, 1961-83

3 Feminist activities, 1927-68

4 Peace Movement activities, 1931-68

5 United Nations, 1945-65

6 Australia Labor Party, 1940-69

7 Australian-Soviet Friendship Society, 1938-68

8 Social Reconstruction and Immigration Advisory Committees, 1930-45

9 National Social Insurance, 1933-52

10 Aboriginal Rights Movement and Race Relations, 1947-68

11 Photographs, 1904-62

12 Miscellaneous


Series Descriptions

Series 1 Personal Items, 1914-67

The first series begins with personal and family correspondence ranging from 1914 to 1967 (Folders 1-34).

The early letters from 1914 are mainly written by Jessie Street to Kenneth Street before their marriage. Later there are numerous letters from her sons Roger and Laurence written during their naval service in World War II and from her daughter Philippa and son-in-law, Jack Fingleton.

There are also sympathy cards sent to her husband after her death (Folders 35-38) and other cards and invitations (Folder 39).

There are two British passports and one Australian passport held in Folder 40. During the years 1934 to 1967 Jessie Street kept annual diaries. All diaries are held in Folders 41-48. There are eight notebooks containing rough notes (Folder 49), twelve address books and one autograph book (Folders 50-52) and loose names and addresses are held in Folder 53.

Finally there are biographical notes and newspaper clippings (Folder 55), and the final subseries consists of old children’s books (Folder 54), church publications (Folder 56) and other items such as receipts, legal documents, concert programs and newspaper clippings and rough notebook (Folders 57-60).

Folder/Item

1 Personal and family correspondence, March, 1914-November, 1915

2 Personal and family correspondence, January-October, 1915

3 Personal and family correspondence, February, 1917-November, 1918

4 Personal and family correspondence, July, 1918-November, 1919

5 Personal and family correspondence, April, 1920-December, 1929

6 Personal and family correspondence, March-August, 1930

7 Personal and family correspondence, September, 1930-October, 1915

8 Personal and family correspondence, November, 1930-November, 1931

9 Personal and family correspondence, January-December, 1931

10 Personal and family correspondence, January, 1932-December, 1934

11 Personal and family correspondence, February, 1935-October, 1937

12 Personal and family correspondence, March-April, 1938

13 Personal and family correspondence, May-June, 1938

14 Personal and family correspondence, February-June, 1938

15 Personal and family correspondence, August-September, 1938

16 Personal and family correspondence, October-November, 1938

17 Personal and family correspondence, March, 1939-December, 1942

18 Personal and family correspondence, January, 1941-December, 1942

19 Personal and family correspondence, March-October, 1943

20 Personal and family correspondence, January-June, 1945

21 Personal and family correspondence, June-July, 1945

22 Personal and family correspondence, August-September, 1945

23 Personal and family correspondence, September-December, 1945

24 Personal and family correspondence, January-December, 1946

25 Personal and family correspondence, January-February, 1947

26 Personal and family correspondence, March-December, 1947

27 Personal and family correspondence, February-December 1948

28 Personal and family correspondence, May-December, 1949

29 Personal and family correspondence, January, 1950-May, 1952

30 Personal and family correspondence, November, 1954-July, 1961

31 Personal and family correspondence, June, 1960-December, 1961

32 Personal and family correspondence, January, 1962-December, 1963

33 Personal and family correspondence, January-December, 1964

34 Personal and family correspondence, January, 1965-August, 1970

35 Sympathy cards written after the death of Jessie Street, 2nd to 6th July 1970

36 Sympathy cards written after the death of Jessie Street, 6th to 15th July 1970

37 Sympathy cards written after the death of Jessie Street, 16th July to 21st August 1970

38 Sympathy cards written after the death of Jessie Street, undated.

39 Christmas cards and various other types of cards and invitations, 1935-48

40 Street’s Australian and British passports, 1948-49, 1949-51, 1950-51

41 Annual diaries of Jessie Street, 1931-39

42 Annual diaries of Jessie Street, 1940-43

43 Annual diaries of Jessie Street, 1944-47

44 Annual diaries of Jessie Street, 1948-51

45 Annual diaries of Jessie Street, 1952-55

46 Annual diaries of Jessie Street, 1956-59

47 Annual diaries of Jessie Street, 1960-62

48 Annual diaries of Jessie Street, 1964-67

49 Eight notebooks containing rough notes,

50-2 Twelve address books and a autograph book,

53 Loose addresses

54 Old children’s books

55 Biographical notes and newspaper clippings, 1956-50

56 Church publications, 1930-34

57 Miscellaneous, 1914-32

58 Miscellaneous, including a rough notebook, 1956-71

59 Miscellaneous newspaper cuttings and documents, 1915-57

60 Miscellaneous, newspaper cuttings and pamphlets, 1889-31

61 Tie

Series 2 Writings, 1961-83

This series consists of the drafts of Street’s autobiography entitled Truth or repose (1966) and poems, mainly written by her.

The correspondence relating to her autobiography ranges from 1961 to 1967. The letters are mainly to and from her publisher David Higham (Folder 1). Correspondence concerned with the Centenary Song Competition dates from June 1934 to August 1935 (Folder 2).

The manuscript Truth or repose is in two parts. The first draft consists of 24 chapters with an index (Folders 3-6). The second draft consists of 24 chapters without an index (Folders 3-6). The second draft consists of 24 chapters without an index (Folders 7-12). Newspaper reviews of the published work are included with the second draft (Folder 13).

Street’s poetry was written between 1915 and 1941 (Folder 14). Of her published poems, Australia, Happy Isle is perhaps the best known, since it won the 1934 Centenary Song Competition. Allan and Co. published this poem in 1934 and Lindley Evans wrote the music for the song. Included with her prize-winning poem are the conditions of entry, entry form and newspaper clippings relating to the poem (Folder 15). Other published poems are Woman to man, a poem with greetings (n.d), Dream or memory (n.d), To the War Memorial, - Sydney 1934. This last poem appeared in the Sunday Sun and Guardian on 25th November 1934.

Other poems are located in Folder 16 and include some poems written by various other writers (mostly anonymous).

Folder/Item

1 Correspondence concerning Truth or repose, September, 1961-April 1967.

2 Correspondence concerning Poetry.

3 1st drafts of Truth or repose, chapters 1-7.

4 1st drafts of Truth or repose, chapters 8-15.

5 1st drafts of Truth or repose, chapters 16-22.

6 1st drafts of Truth or repose, chapters 23-24, plus index.

7 Truth or repose, chapters 1-4.

8 Truth or repose, chapters 5-8.

9 Truth or repose, chapters 9-12.

10 Truth or repose, chapters 13-16.

11 Truth or repose, chapters 17-20.

12 Truth or repose, chapters 21-24.

13 Reviews of Truth or repose

14 Poetry written by Jessie Street, 1915-41

15 Newspaper cuttings and documents concerning the Centenary Song, 1934

16 Undated Poems by Jessie Street and various other poems. Also sheet music of “Australia, Happy Isle’, words by Jessie Street

17 Letter from Philippa Jockle to Peter Sekuless concerning Jessie Street, 1983

18 ‘Anthony & Cleopatra: a scenario’

Series 3 Feminist activities, 1927-68

Series 3 contains correspondence, broadcasts, printed and published material, papers written by Jessie Street on various issues, newspaper clippings and conference papers, ranging from 1927 to 1968. This series is predominantly concerned with the battle to establish and secure legal and economic equality for women in Australia.

Street’s feminist work started in 1915 when she founded the N.S.W. Social Hygiene Association, which attempted to inform married women on such topics as birth control and sex education. There were organised efforts to control prostitution (Folder 14). In 1918 she established the Women’s Sports Union at Sydney University as a foundation member. Previously, only a Men’s club had existed, with no facilities being available to women. Papers include the Annual report for 1959-60 and the Union recorder for July 1960 (Folder 29).

The Home Training Institute was a business developed by Jessie Street in 1924, when there was a shortage of trained domestic staff, suitable for hiring to private homes. She aimed to fill the need by designing a course of training for domestic staff and issuing certificates of competency and efficiency at the completion of the course. Her business was successful, since she regulated hours of duty and rates of pay for the domestic workers (Folder 30).

In 1929 Jessie Street was elected the first President of the United Associations of Women (Folder 23). This amalgamation of four smaller feminist groups in Sydney, was an effective organisation for promoting women’s interests. The U.A.W. was responsible for the organisation of many feminist meetings and deputations to Parliament. The Australian Women’s Digest was a magazine published the Women’s Publicity Agency, a branch of the U.A.W. Papers of this Agency include account books (Folders 24-26), receipts (Folder 27) and taxation forms (Folder 28).

In 1943 she was re-elected as president. Papers on the struggle for equal pay and equal opportunity for women at work, range from 1929-1960 (Folders 7-9). Included is a copy of the Equal Pay Committee’s Plan of Campaign, which consisted of the issuing of leaflets, radio talks, deputations, contact with the press, circulars and meetings (Folder 8). This plan was formulated in about 1951 (no date given), by the Trade Union Equal Pay Committee at the Trades Hall in Melbourne.

The U.A.W. fought for legal civil and political rights of women (Folder 11) and for the right of women to participate in jury service (Folder 12). Other issues the U.A.W. campaigned for include divorce and marriage reform (Folder 15), child welfare (16), women’s domicile (Folder 17) and women and war work (Folder 10).

Feminist broadcasts made by Jessie Street are held at Folder 6. Feminist publications are held at Folder 31 and Folder 32 (newspaper clippings). The suffragette newspapers Votes for Woman produced by F&E Laurence, in Britain from 1907 to 1911, consist of 3 bound volumes (Folio items).

Correspondence consists mainly of letters written by the U.A.W. Among the many correspondents are Linda Littlejohn, Bessie Rischbieth, Irene Greenwood, Harold Holt, Sir Robert Menzies and Edith How-Martyn (Folders 1-5).

Conference papers range from 1916 to 1966 and include: the All-Australian Women’s Conference (1942); Australian Women’s Charter Movement (1943); the Report of the International Women’s Conference held in Paris (1945), the All India Women’s Conference in India 1944-45; Council of Women’s International Democratic Federation held in Moscow (1949) and International Committee of Mother’s Conference held in Sofia (1958). Jessie Street attended many of these conferences as a delegate.

The Status of Women Commission conferences held by the United Nations, are described in Series 5. These papers range from 1946 to 1965.

Papers relating to the status of women in overseas countries such as Britain, Japan, U.S.S.R, U.S.A and China are located at Folder 18. Papers of the World Women’s Party, ranging from 1952-53 are located at Folder 20.

Note: Related series are series 5 (Status of Women Commission), Series 9 (National Social Insurance) for papers on Child Endowment and Unemployment Benefits.

Folder

1 Feminist correspondence, July 1927-April 1938.

2 Feminist correspondence, January 1940-December 1940.

3 Feminist correspondence, March 1941-June 1946.

4 Feminist correspondence, August 1946-February 1950.

5 Feminist correspondence, April 1951-May 1968.

6 Feminist broadcasts and conference speeches by Jessie Street.

7 Equal pay and equal opportunity for women at work, 1929-49.

8 Equal pay and equal opportunity for women at work, 1950-60.

9 Equal pay and equal opportunity for women at work, undated.

10 Women, the Workforce and World War II.

11 Legal, civil and political rights of women including women on juries on women and education.

12 Notes on women and juries.

13 Notes on Suffragette Movement including recordings of suffragettes made in London, 1960.

14 Notes on birth control, venereal disease, prostitution and the population problem.

15 Notes on divorce and marriage reform.

16 Notes on child welfare.

17 Notes on women’s domicile.

18 Notes on women in Britain, Japan, U.S.S.R, U.S.A and China.

19 Australian Women’s Charter Conference, 1943-67.

20 Papers of the World Woman’s Party for Equal Rights 1952-53.

21 Notes on the Australian Status of Women Council.

22(i) Notes on feminist conferences, 1916-56.

22(ii) Notes on feminist conferences, 1916-56.

23 Notes on the United Association of Women and invitation to the 1979 Golden Jubilee Dinner of the Association.

24 United Association of Women: account book.

25 Australian Women’s Digest Account books.

26 Accounting Books for Women’s Publicity Agency Committee.

27 Receipts and invoices of the United Association of Women.

28 Taxation forms for the Australian women’s Digest and Women’s Publicity Agency.

29 Notes on Sydney University.

30 Notes on the Home Training Institute.
Feminist Publications, 1932-59 and correspondence concerning feminism.

31 Newspaper clippings on Feminism, 1941-59.

32 Volume I of the suffragette newspaper, Votes for Woman, F&E Laurence, 1907-8

33 Volume II of the suffragette newspaper, Votes for Woman, F&E Laurence, 1908-9

34 Volume IV of the suffragette newspaper, Votes for Woman, F&E Laurence, 1910-1

Series 4 Peace Movement Activities, 1931-68

Jessie Street campaigned for the settlement of all international disputes by conciliation and arbitration without resorting to war. She believed that Governments should ban nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The Government should only have the sole responsibility of the manufacture and sale of armaments and not private enterprise, so as to avoid profits being made from their sale.

This series ranges from 1931 to 1968 and consists of correspondence (Folders 1-5), papers written by her including speeches and broadcasts (Folders 6-14), conference papers and printed material (Folders 16-29), reports of overseas visits (Folder 15) and newspaper clippings (Folders 30-32).

Jessie Street attended many United Nations Peace conferences and these are described in the Series 5. She attended the World Peace Conference in Warsaw (1950) and the World Assembly for Peace in Helsinki (1955). Papers of the World Congress of Peace (1949) held in Paris are included. In 1958 she attended the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council, New Delhi and also visited the Chinese Peace Committee in Peking.

Broadcasts were made on the Anglo-Soviet Pact (1942); visit to Berlin (1945); visit to Budapest (1948); impressions of Japan (1954) and impressions of Paris (1952).

Some of Street’s 16 written reports of her travels overseas include impressions of Stalin’s death and funeral (1953) and an interview with the victims of Hiroshima and Bikini (1945).

Note: Newspaper clippings range from 1938 to 1967. A related series is Series 5 (United Nations) and Series 12 (Miscellaneous). Series 12 contains an interview with Hewlett Johnson, the Dean of Canterbury on his visit to Australia. There is also an interview with Professor Fletcher, which appears to have been a radio broadcast made sometime during the 1950s and/or 1960s (no dates are given). Both interviews concentrate on dispelling the myths of the cold war tactics practiced at the time, between Western nations and the Soviet Union (Folder 3).

Folder

1 Correspondence concerning the peace movement, 1939-51.

2 Correspondence concerning the peace movement, 1951-53.

3 Correspondence concerning the peace movement, 1953-55.

4 Correspondence concerning the peace movement, 1955-60.

5 Correspondence concerning the peace movement, 1960-66.

6 Papers by Street concerning the cold war and peace, 1934-49.

7 Papers by Street concerning issues, such as, the United Nations and the World Peace council, 1950-52.

8 Papers by Street concerning disarmament proposals, 1954-56.

9 Papers by Street concerning disarmament and world conflicts, 1957-8.

10 Papers by Street concerning conflicts in Asia, Africa and the Middle east, 1959-63.

11 Undated Papers by Street concerning a variety of issues, such as, the tasks of the peace movement and Space and the cold war.

12 Undated Papers by Street concerning a variety of issues, such as, contentious objectors in the U.S.S.R, the conflict in Congo, Space and the Cold War, Communism and the Cold war.

13 Undated Papers by Street concerning a variety of issues, such as, the regional conflicts, the Cold war and the functions of the peace movement.

14 Undated Papers by Street concerning a variety of issues, such as, Australia’s relations with countries like U.S.A and Indonesia.

15 Notes on Street’s overseas visits, 1938-64.

16 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1931-49.

17 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1950-51.

18 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1952-54.

19 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1955.

20 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1956.

21 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1957.

22 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1958.

23 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1959.

24 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1960-65.

25 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1966.

26 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1967-68.

27 Printed material concerning the peace movement, undated.

28 Printed material concerning the peace movement, undated.

29 Printed material concerning the peace movement, undated.

30 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1938-51.

31 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1952-59.

32 Printed material concerning the peace movement, 1960-67.

Series 5 United Nations, 1945-65

Jessie Street was a member of the Australian Delegation to the United Nations Organisation Conference held in San Francisco in 1945. The U.N. later established the Status of Women Commission in June 1946. Its role was to make recommendations and reports to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, on promoting women’s rights and to develop proposals designed to give effect to the principle that men and women should have equal rights. Jessie Street was Australia’s delegate for the first three sessions from 1946 to 1948.

This is the largest series of the collection since U.N Session papers from 1945 to 1966 have been kept. Session papers of the General Assembly are located at (Folders 12-57). From 1950 Security Council papers are included in the General Assembly papers. The Status of Women Commission Session papers is located at (Folder 4-7) and papers including speeches, broadcasts and various U.N journals are held at (Folder 7-8). The papers include a few published items one being, What the United Nations is doing for the Status of Women, published in 1948 by the U.N

Series 5 also includes correspondence, ranging from 1945-65 (Folders 1-3), identification passes and travel receipts (Folder 8), delegate handbook and instructions belonging to Jessie Street (Folder 10) and speeches, broadcasts and press releases made by Dr Evatt, the Australian External Affairs Minister, who led the delegation (Folder 11). There is a speech by F.M. Forde, the Deputy Prime Ministers of Australia, located at Folder 11.

Publications included in this series by the United Nations are: the United Nations Bulletin, vol. IV, no. 1, 1st January 1948 and no. 6, 15th March 1948 and Insignia, published in 1945. Other U.N. publications range from 1944 to 1958.

Newspaper items include clippings and a folio item, Special United Nations Supplement, printed by the New York Times in San Francisco in 1945.

Note: Related series are Series 4 (Peace Movement Series) for the Warsaw Peace Conference and Series 7 (Australian-Soviet Friendship Society).

Folder

1 Correspondence concerning the United Nations, 1945-47

2 Correspondence concerning the United Nations, 1948-November, 1949

3 Correspondence concerning the United Nations, October, 1949-March, 1965

4 Papers concerning the United Nations Status of Women Commission, 1945-47

5 Papers concerning the United Nations Status of Women Commission, 1948-49

6 Papers concerning the United Nations Status of Women Commission, 1951-59

7 Papers concerning the United Nations Status of Women Commission, 1960-65

8 United Nations identification passes and travel receipts, 1947-49

9 Broadcasts and speeches concerning the United Nations by H.V. Evatt.

10 Delegates handbook for the United Nations Conference held at San Francisco, 1945

11 Speech at the United Nations by F.M. Forde, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

12 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 4-9 May, 1945

13 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 10-14 May, 1945

14 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 14-19 May, 1945

15 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 21-24 May, 1945

16 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 24-28 May, 1945

17 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 28-31 May, 1945

18 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 1-3 June, 1945

19 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 4 June-8 June, 1945

20 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 8-10 June, 1945

21 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 11-13 June, 1945

22 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 13-17 June, 1945

23 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 17-19 June, 1945

24 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 20–22 June, 1945

25 United Nations conference at San Francisco, 23-26 June, 1945

26 United Nations Economic and Social Council 10 April–10 May, 1946

27 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 13 May–13 July, 1946

28 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 2–18 December, 1946

29 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 30 January–19 February, 1947

30 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 19 February–24 September, 1947

31 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 5 November–19 December, 1947

32 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 5–19 January, 1948

33 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 26–31 January, 1948

34 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 6 February–26 March, 1948

35 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 6 February–26 March, 1948

36 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 28 September–December, 1948

37 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 18–28 January, 1949

38 United Nations Status of Women Commission, 4th and 7th sessions, 1950 and 1953

39 United Nations Status of Women Commission and press releases, 11th to 19th sessions, 1957-63

40i. Notes and pamphlets on the U.N. General Assembly, 1950

40ii. Notes and pamphlets on the U.N. General Assembly, 1952-58

41 Notes and pamphlets on the U.N. General Assembly, September, 1958-December 1959

42 Notes and pamphlets on the U.N. General Assembly, March-October, 1960

43 Notes and pamphlets on the U.N. General Assembly, 17–25 October, 1960

44 Notes and pamphlets on the U.N. General Assembly, 25 October–December, 1960

45 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations Security Council, October-December, 1960

46 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 20 March–15 April, 1961

47 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 15-19 April, 1961

48 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 19–20 April, 1961

49 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 20 March–15 April, 1961

50 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 1964

51 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 18 January–18 February, 1965

52 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 1 February–4 October, 1965

53 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 18–27 October, 1965

54 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 2–9 November, 1965

55 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 10–11 November, 1965

56 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 12–13 November, 1965

57 Notes and pamphlets on the United Nations General Assembly, 13 November 1965–April, 1966

57a Envelope containing The Charter of the United Nations (including several newspaper clippings) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, March 1949

58 Copies of the United Nations Bulletin, 1 January–15 March, 1948

59 United Nations Insignia, 1945

60 United Nations associated papers, documents and publications, July 1944–September 1958

60a Typescript entitled ‘Precedent established for United Nations recognition of China’s delegates’

61 U.N. non-session associated papers and publications, October 1958–1965

62 Newspaper clippings concerning the U.N., 1945-52

63-7 Newspaper clippings concerning the U.N., 1945

Series 6 Australia Labor Party, 1940-69

Jessie Street first joined the A.L.P. in 1939. In 1943 she unsuccessfully contested the A.L.P. preselection for the federal election in the Eden Monaro electorate, N.S.W., and the preselection in the Wentworth electorate in Sydney. The 1943 election is described and analysed by Peter Sekuless in his Masters thesis ‘Jessie Street and the 1943 election’.

She tried again as a Labor candidate in 1946, in the Wentworth electorate, N.S.W. It was at this time that the anti-communist crusade within the Labor Party was in full swing. Since Jessie Street was the newly appointed President of the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society it is not surprising that she was again unsuccessful in winning a seat.

Jessie Street was to later abandon her membership of the Australia Labor Party, because of her refusal to abandon her pro-Soviet activities. In 1949 she stood as an Independent Labor candidate, again in the federal electorate of Wentworth, and again without success.

Correspondence ranging from 1940 to 1960 is located at folders 1–3. There are Election broadcasts and speeches from 1943 to 1949. Papers relating to the A.L.P include election tracts, a receipt book and election results. Labor and Socialist publications include the Manifesto, objectives and rules of the Progressive Labor Party of Australia, Melbourne, 1950.

A volume of roneoed material of the 1949 Federal Election is held in the Folio section. Newspaper clippings are located in Folder 6.

Folder

1 Correspondence concerning the Australian Labor Party, 1940-60

2 Correspondence concerning the Australian Labor Party, 1940-46

3 Correspondence concerning the Australian Labor Party, election broadcasts and speeches, 1940-49

4 Papers of Labor and socialist publications, 1927-58

5 Australian Labor Party papers, 1943-59

6 Newspaper clippings on the Australian Labor Party, 1943-69

7 A volume of roneoed material on the Federal Election, 1949

Series 7 Australian-Soviet Friendship Society, 1938-68

Series 7 contains the papers of the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society (formerly the Australian-Russian Society) and the Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee. This series contains correspondence, speeches, lectures, broadcasts, maps, publications, newspaper clippings.

Jessie Street visited the U.S.S.R during her extensive travels on several occasions. She appears to have been impressed by the absence of sex discrimination in the Soviet Administration. However, she was to suffer considerable harassment at both the official Government level and at the unofficial level. Permission was refused by the Government, for Jessie Street to attend the Warsaw Peace Conference in 1950. She eventually obtained a visa after great difficulty and this episode is recorded in the correspondence (Folder 1) and newspaper clippings (Folder 2). Among the correspondents are Vladimir Kemenov, Archbishop Norman Gilroy, Lydia Kislova, James Morey, Ian Maisky, Judith Todd, Professor Pavel Chuikov and J. Terry.

From 1941 to 1945, Jessie Street was Chairman of the Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee, which made available medical supplies and warm clothing including sheepskins, to the Russian Soldiers during the Nazi advance. Papers include a broadcast entitled Russian exhibition and special sheepskins appeal, minutes of meetings and published material relating to the Committee (Folder 3). The Committee received considerable public support and this is reflected in the Accounts of finance, kept by the Committee (Folder 3).

In 1946, she became the first President of the Australian-Russian Society (Folder 2). Its aim was to promote friendly relations with the U.S.S.R. The papers include a copy of the constitution, records of meetings and copies of the journal published by Society entitled Russia and us. She left $10, 000 to the Society in her will (1970).

Jessie Street attempted to inform the public on her views of the Soviet Union, which were often contrary to the views of the media. Among the many speeches, lectures and broadcasts given by her on this topic (Folder 4) are: Soviet Russia’s trade unions, wages system, social welfare and economic planning in 1938, World Broadcast from Moscow (1950), Statement of the Communist Party Dissolution Bill (1950) and The position of women and children in the U.S.S.R. (n.d).

Publications are located at Folders 8 and 9 and are entitled: Education in Czechoslovakia (1935), International Conciliation (1937) and the U.S.S.R Information Bulletin (1948). There is also a Russian publication of 1950; The Romania Folk Song and Dance Ensemble of the Bucharest House of Culture (1956), Mother and child welfare in the Romanian People’s Republic (1957 & 1958). Other titles in Folder 8 and 9 are L’Institut clinique de pediatrie Emilia Irsa (1959) and Fundamentals of the Soviet criminal legislation, the judicial system and criminal court procedure (1960).

Maps are located at Folder 10 and are entitled: Ancient States and peoples on the Territory of the U.S.S.R. and neighbouring peoples on the Territory of the U.S.S.R. and neighbouring countries (1000 BC to the 1st Century, AD); Peoples and States on the territory of the U.S.S.R. (9th-10th centuries, AD); Mongol-Tartan conquests in the 13th century; North-Eastern Russia, Late 14th century; Industries of European Russia 1909-13; Formation of the centralised Russian State (second half of the 15th century and first half of 16th century); Russian Empire in the second half of the 18th century; Strike movement in European Russia 1905; Revolution of 1905-07 in Russia; Armed uprising in Petrograd 1917; The Soviet Republic encircled by interventionists and white guards in 1918-20; Administrative map of the U.S.S.R (20th century).

Note: Related series are Series 6 (A.L.P) and Series 12 (Miscellaneous-Folder 3).

Folder

1 Correspondence concerning the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society, 1938-67

2 Newspaper clippings documenting the political activities of Street in the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society, 1942-67

3 Australian-Soviet Friendship Society, Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee, 1941-43

4 Speeches, lectures and broadcasts on the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society, 1943-45

5 Speeches, lectures and broadcasts on the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society, 1950

6 Speeches, lectures and broadcasts on the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society, 1943-66

7 Australian-Soviet Friendship Society: papers and journals concerning “Russia and us,” 1949-68

8 Publications on the USSR and other Communist States, 1935-48

9 Soviet publications, 1950-60

10 Australian-Soviet Friendship Society: strategic and political maps of Russia, 500 BC-1920.

Series 8 Social Reconstruction and Immigration Advisory Committees, 1930-45

Jessie Street was a member of the Wartime Alliance Classification and Advisory Committee, as well as the Post War Immigration Advisory Committee. In addition she chaired meetings of the Women’s Forum for Social and Economic Reconstruction. Information in this series is dated from 1941 onwards.

The correspondence consists of twelve letters and ranges from 1941-45 (Folder 4)

Reports of the two Committees are located in Folder 2 and consist of three reports written by the Aliens Classification and Advisory Committee and the report Australia and the Refugee.

From 1941, Jessie Street chaired meetings of the Women’s Forum for Social and Economic Reconstruction. Reports on four of the meetings are located in Folder 1.

Papers written by Jessie Street are entitled: Bathurst Migrant Reception Centre, Proposal for protection and care of child immigrants and Co-operative immigration from Great Britain (Folder 3).

Other papers held in this series are: Notes for a Statement by Dr H.V. Evatt to the Universities Conference on Reconstruction Research, held in Canberra on 6th June 1941 (Folder 3). Folder 3 also contains notes for discussion concerning suggested Amendment of Constitution, How we can make the Principles and Institutions of Democracy Effective, The Form and Scope of a Ministry of Reconstruction; European refugee, Acceptance in Australia and Removal of Passport restrictions (Folder 1-4).

Finally, there is Picture Post, containing an article on housing reconstruction and a newspaper clipping concerning the Rural Reconstruction Commission (Folder 4).

Note. See also Series 9. The Women’s Forum for Social and Economic Reconstruction campaigned for old age pensions, unemployment benefits and child endowment. Consequently, Series 9 becomes relevant because to contains information about Street’s campaign for National Social Insurance.

Folder

1 Notes on the Women’s Forum for Social and Economic Reconstruction, 1930-34

2 Reports on the Social reconstruction and advisory committees, 1943

3 Papers by Jessie Street and others concerning social welfare, 1941-55

4 Correspondence concerning Social Reconstruction and Immigration, 1941-45

Series 9 National Social Insurance, 1933-52

In 1930, during the Great Depression, Jessie Street travelled to England, Geneva and the U.S.A. to study National Social Insurance. She prepared a scheme for Australia, covering old age, invalid, accident, sickness, unemployment benefits and child endowment. The Lyons Government rejected her proposal, because it could not afford the £6,000,000 to finance it.

This series consists of correspondence, papers written by Jessie Street, reports, publications and newspaper clippings.

The correspondence consists of trade union matters. Among the correspondents was Jim Healy, General Secretary of the Waterside Worker’s Federation of Australia. The correspondence ranges from 1943 to 1952 (Folder 1).

Travel documents signed by the Premier of N.S.W, T.R. Bavin, were used as introductory letters when travelling overseas in 1930-31 (Folder 1).

Publications collected during the Great Depression include: Anthony Horden & Sons 5th report 1930-3; The deadlock in finance, by Major Arthur Pavell, 1931; a newspaper clipping from the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miner’s Advocate, Friday October 9, 1931, and Principles of Taxation, by Clive Teece, 1931 (Folder 3). There is also several Bank of New South Wales’s circulars, The development of Australia, by Sir John Butters, various publications on tariff and trade and Real wealth and financial poverty, by W.H. Rhys, 1931 (Folder 2)

Papers written by Jessie Street include: ‘Conciliation and Industrial Arbitration’, ‘Suggestions for initiating a general social insurance scheme’, ‘General Social Insurance Scheme’, ‘Some problems of Employment’, ‘The standard of living and security for workers’, ‘Contributory Old Age and Invalid pensions’ ‘Suggested system of tariffs and bounties’, ‘The stimulation of employment and family endowment, ‘Child Endowment’, and the ‘Case for Unemployment Insurance’ (Folder 5).

Other papers and publications include: Outline of Scheme for Trade Union Advisory Panels as Adopted by Conference of Unions engaged on War Work, by the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, 1940; a copy of Federal Union World, 1942 and papers relating to repatriation, 1943 and the old age pension (Folder 5).

Reports prepared by the Royal Commission on National Insurance of the Commonwealth of Australia deal with Casual sickness, permanent invalidity, maternity and old age, 1924-5; Dispute allowances’, 1926; Unemployment, 1926; and Child endowment of family allowances, 1929 (Folder 4).

A House of Representatives Bill entitled A Bill for an Act to provide for the Insurance of Employees and the Wives, Children, Widows and Orphans of Employees, against certain contingencies and for other purposes (1926-28) is filed in Folder 6, together with Unemployment Insurance in Australia, by Godrey H. Ince, (1937). Progress Report from the Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly upon the Employment of Youth in Industry, (1940) and a report of the Royal Commission inquiring into the question of the compulsory retirement of employees in coal and shale mines of N.S.W. during (1941).

Folder

1 Correspondence and travel documents concerning trade unions and National insurance, 1943-52

2-3 Notes, newspaper clippings and reports on the Great Depression, 1931-32

4 Reports by the Royal Commission on National Insurance, 1924-29

5 Papers written by Jessie Street and some published material concerning social insurance and pensions, 1933-47

6 Parliamentary Reports concerning unemployment insurance, youth unemployment and compulsory retirement, 1937-41

Series 10 Aboriginal Rights and Race Relations, 1947-68

Jessie Street first became involved in the Aboriginal Rights Movement during the 1950s, through the British Anti-Slavery Society, when visiting England. After returning to Australia in 1956, she commenced work on the question of Aboriginal Rights. She masterminded the formation of the Aboriginal Rights Organisation, which led to the successful Referendum held in 1967.

The series is extensive and includes information on the political, economic, legal and social status of the Natives of New Guinea, the Indians of Canada and America and the Negroids of South Africa and Africa (Folder 18).

The correspondence extends from 1953 to 1967 (Folders 1-9) and includes letters between Civil Rights Official, Dr Brian Fitzpatrick and the Western Australian campaigner Don Macleod, describing the strike of Aboriginal workers in the Port Hedland district, in 1946.

Papers published by Jessie Street are a Report on Aborigines in Australia, May 1957 and Report of visit to Pindar Camps (Folder 16). These reports were based on observations made on her extensive travels to Aboriginal Settlements in Australia. Other accounts of her travels are: ‘Report of visit to West Australia in connection with Aborigines’; ‘Suggestions for Northern Territory’ (Between Camooweal and Darwin); Comments on the ‘Report from the Select Committee of Voting Rights of Aborigines’; and ‘The question of discriminations against Aborigines and the United Nations.’

Draft petitions calling for an Aboriginal Rights Referendum are also held.

Amongst the large volume of printed and published material are papers of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement and affiliated organisations in Australia and the Australian–New Zealand Civil Liberties Society. Affiliated organisations in Australia consist of the Aboriginal-Australia Fellowship (Sydney); Union of Australian Women (Sydney); Aboriginal Rights Council (Moonee Ponds, Vic); Aborigines’ Advancement League (Melbourne, Vic); Methodist Overseas Mission Committee (Melbourne, Vic) Women’s Christian Temperance Union (Melbourne). Other affiliated organisations were the Aborigines Advancement League (A.A); Original Australian Progress Association (Palmyra, W.A); Narrogin and District Native Council (Narrogin, W.A); Narrogin Native Welfare Council (Narrogin, W.A.) and U.A.W. Victorian Section (Melbourne Vic). (Folders, 10-17) They include reports, addresses, speeches, broadcasts and meetings and range from Folder 17 to Folder 24. Newspaper clippings to are found in Folder 25.

Folder

1 Correspondence concerning Aboriginal rights, 1947-56

2 Correspondence concerning Aboriginal rights, 1956

3-4 Correspondence concerning Aboriginal rights, 1957

5 Correspondence concerning Aboriginal rights, 1958

6 Correspondence concerning Aboriginal rights, 1959

7 Correspondence concerning Aboriginal rights, 1960

8 Correspondence concerning Aboriginal rights, 1961

9 Correspondence concerning Aboriginal rights, 1962-67

10 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal rights, 1957-63

11 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal rights, 1951-65

12 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal rights, 1958-66

13 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal rights, 1953-60

14 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal rights, 1957-66

15 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal rights, 1932-37

16 Papers written by Street concerning Aboriginal rights, 1957

17 Reports on Aboriginal rights, 1952-62

18 Notes on the civil rights of African-Americans and Native Indians of North America, 1958-68

19 Notes on Aboriginal rights, 1964

20 Pamphlets and speeches by various authors concerning the rights and position of Aborigines in Australian Society, 1947-57

21 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal rights and education, 1955-62

22 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal culture and education, 1951-57

23 Papers, correspondence and publications concerning Aboriginal rights, 1941-64

24 Papers and publications concerning Aboriginal rights, 1955-68

25 Newspaper clippings concerning Aboriginal rights, 1957-61

Series 11 Photographs, 1904-62

Photographs in this series are largely undated and consist of personal photographs of Jessie Street and her husband Sir Kenneth Street, relatives, friends and the Wycombe Abbey School at Buckinghamshire, which she attended as a student. There are also photographs of various feminist functions, overseas visits and United Nations conferences and photographs taken during Street’s visit to the Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee.

The Pictorial Section of the Library holds Jessie Street photographs.

Folder

1 Jessie Street’s British passport as well as pamphlets and photographs concerning the United Nations,

2 Photographs of Wycombe Abbey School, Bucks, 1904

3 Photographs taken during Street’s overseas visits, 1945

4 Photographs taken during Street’s overseas visits, 1952-65

5 Postcards and photographs of friends, 1915-30

6 Personal photographs of Jessie Street and her family, 1915-43

7 Personal photographs, 1930-59

8 Photographs taken in the USSR, 1930-45

9 Photographs of Jessie Streets relatives, 1915-62

10 Photographs taken at Women’s Conference, functions and meetings, 1945

11 Miscellaneous photographs, mostly annotated, added in May 2001

Series 12 Miscellaneous

Folder/Item

1 List of books in the Yulgilbar Castle Library
2 Certificate of registration of the firm Daily Service Co. registered by Street, Beatrice Bowler and Elsie Philip Asher Smith, 1937
3 Sound recordings of Jessie Streets interviews of the Dean of Canterbury on his visit to Australia and Professor Fletcher, possibly made during the 1950’s and/or 1960’s. Questions concentrate on dispelling myths of the ‘Cold War’ policies practiced.

Box List

Box/folio Series Folder/Item
1 1 1-8
2 1 9-15
3 1 16-23
4 1 24-34
5 1 35-39
6 1 40-50
7 1 51-61
8 2 1-6
9 2 7-18
10 3 1-9
11 3 10-21
12 3 22(i.)-31
Folio 3 32-34
13 4 1-9
14 4 10-15
15 4 16-23
16 4 24-23
17 5 1-11
18 5 12-21
19 5 22-31
20 5 32-39
21 5 40-46
22 5 47-56
23 5 57-65
Folio 5 66-67
24 6 1-6
Folio 6 7
25 7 1-10
26 8 1-4
- 9 1-6
27 10 1-9
28 10 10-19
29 10 20-25
30 11 1-11
31 12 1-3
Updated 2000 and 2001