Guide to the Papers of Jessie Street
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Street, Jessie
- Papers of Jessie Street
- Date Range
- c. 1914-1968
- Collection Number
- MS 2683
- 6 metres (31 archives boxes + 1 small folio box + 3 packets + 1 volume + 1 sound/av carrier)
- Language of Materials
- Special Collections (Manuscripts)
- The digitisation of a selection of Jessie Street's papers was made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the National Library of Australia Inc. to mark the service of Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich AM as Director-General of the National Library 2012 – 2017. The National Library gratefully acknowledges this support.
Scope and Contents
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 Papers (MS 2004) shows a gap in the correspondence in the Street Papers, 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, File 34).
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1507836).
Conditions Governing Use
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Jessie Street, National Library of Australia, MS 2683, [series and file/item number]'.
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.
Other Street family papers are held at the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.
Other manuscript collections held by the Library 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 Oral History Collection holds a De Berg tape-recording and transcript made by Jessie Street available (ORAL DeB 197,198).
The Pictorial Collection also holds Jessie Street photographs.
A name index to correspondence in the collection is available in card form, please consult with Library staff.
|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|
|1966||24 Truth or repose published|
|1970||Died in Sydney|
This series comprises 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 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).
This series consists of the drafts of Jessie Street's autobiography entitled Truth or repose (1966) and poems, mainly written by her.
The correspondence relating to Street's 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).
Contained in this series is 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 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 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 by 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 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.
Papers include: correspondence and forms relating to The Home Training Institute which was established by Street in 1924; correspondence with The Feminist Club, Sydney, of which Street was President, including a proposal to amalgamate with the Women's League of NSW, the NSW Women Voters' Association and the Women's Service Club to form the 'United Associations of Women'; and letters of invitation from a number of English organisations to meet with members during Street's visit in 1930. Correspondence with various organisations and government officials regarding issues such as contraception, requirement for a medical certificate before marriage, domicile for women in the case of divorce, and married women teachers.
Correspondents include Phyllis Cilento, Dr Ralph Worrall, Maurice Blackburn MP, Dr Karen Helms, Dr Katie Ardill-Brice, and Robert Menzies (Attorney-General),
Papers include: correspondence of the United Associations of Women of which Street was then President. Correspondence with various organsations and individuals about issues including the employment of women; the reason of insanity as a grounds for divorce; equal pay for women; and employment of women radio announcers by the ABC.
Correspondents include: Cardinal Gilroy, St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney; Irene Greenwood
Papers include : correspondence of the United Associations of Women; correspondence and reports relating to the Child Care Conference, 1994; correspondence of the Council for Women in War Work. Correspondence with various organsations and individuals about issues including equal pay for women, the employment of women in industry, the eligibility of women for jury service, child care, sexually transmitted disease.
Correspondents include: Eleanor Roosevelt, Edith How-Martyn, A.P Elkin, Monica Whatley
Papers include: correspondence and papers relating to the Status of Women Council (SWC) of which Street was Vice-Chairman, including minutes of the inaugural meeting of SWC in Tasmania held in Hobart in August 1947 and minutes of a meeting held in November 1947, a copy of the Constitution, a copy of proposed amendments to the International Bill of Human Rights submitted by Street on behalf of the SWC; and an invitation to Street to take part in a project to record 26 outstanding women of the world discussing the SWC; correspondence relating to activities of the United Associations of Women and those of the Australian Woman's Charter, of which Street was Chairman and a copy of a letter from Prime Minister, Ben Chifley, regarding the issue of equal pay for equal work. Correspondence with various organsations and individuals.
Correspondents include: Edith How-Martyn,
Papers include: correspondence relating to activities of the Australian Woman's Charter; correspondence with members of the World Woman's Party, Washington, USA; of which Street was Vice-Chairman representing Australia; and typescripts of several letters to editors, often in response to articles in their publication. Correspondence with various organsations and individuals about issues including children of women in prison, working mothers, prostitution and trafficking of women in Africa, equal pay.
Correspondents include: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gough Whitlam, Alice Paul, Lucy Woodcock
Papers include: typescripts of broadcasts and speeches by Street. Topics include 'Allowances for Wives' (1936), 'After the war then what about equality for women – is it back to the kitchen?' (1944), 'Population unlimited' (1944), 'International Women's Day' (1946), 'Australian Woman's Charter Conference', 'The Status of Women Commission', 'Equal pay for men and women' (1948), declining birthrate, and 'A new deal in Jugo-Slavia' (1949).
Papers include: a small number of typescripts by Street relating to 'The Trade Union Equal Pay Committee'. There is also a collection of pamphlets on various issues relating to women's rights from organisations that include The six point group, London, The Open Door International for the economic emancipation of the woman worker, London, United States Department of Labor; The British Federation of Business and Professional Women; and the Council of Action for Equal Pay, Sydney.
Papers include: typescripts of writings by Street entitled 'Married Women' and 'Housewives must act' together with a number of pamphlets on various issues relating to women's rights from organisations that include Trades and Labour Council of QLD; The Open Door International for the economic emancipation of the woman worker, London; National Union of Women Teachers, London; the Equal Pay Committee, Melbourne; and the International Labour Organisation, Geneva. There is also a booklet entitled 'Combined Equal Pay Committee of Western Australia' which was prepared for a deputation to the WA Premier (1960).
Papers comprise a series of typescripts of writings by Street on subjects relating to women's rights titles of which include 'The right of married women to economic independence', 'Woman as a homemaker', The remuneration of women', 'Equal pay and opportunity', 'The equal pay question', 'Equal pay for equal work', and 'A married woman's right to work'.
Papers include typescripts of writings by Street entitled 'Women's work and 100% war report' and 'Woman's home front' and papers relating to a conference entitled 'How women may share in post-war policy-making' held at the White House, Washington, in 1944.
Legal, civil and political rights of women including women on juries on women and education (File 11) - Box 11
Papers include typescripts of writings by Street entitled 'New education for the new age', 'The universal declaration of human rights and how it applies in Australia', 'Women in politics', and 'The future of women in politics'. There are also pamphlets, the First Annual Report of the Democratic Women's Association (1938) and a United States Department of Labor publication 'The legal status of women in the United States of America', 1938.
Typescript of a piece by Erna Keighley entitled 'Juries to-day', 1941.
Notes on Suffragette Movement including recordings of suffragettes made in London, 1960 (File 13) - Box 11
Papers comprise typescript of a piece by Street entitled 'Rose Scott centenary' and the transcript of interviews of early suffragettes recorded by Street in London in 1960. Interviewees were Lilian Lenton, Charlotte 'Charlie' Marsh, Eileen Casey and Mary Leigh. There is also an incomplete typescript of a piece by Monica Whately, L.C.C., entitle 'Dorothy Evans, the story of a militant'.
Papers include typescripts of pieces by Street entitled 'Economic status and security of married women', 'Would a greater degree of community living tend to destroy the family as a social unit', and 'Some scattered thoughts on marriage relationships'. There are also pamphlets and papers of the Married Women's Association', London on related topics.
Papers include: typescript of piece by Street entitled 'Guardianship of infants' together with pamphlet issued by The Child Welfare Reform Association, [Sydney], entitled 'The case for the neglected child'; a booklet issued by the Six Point Group, London, entitled 'The unprotected child and the law' by Bernard Shaw; and the report of the Director-General of Public Health, NSW, for 1938.
Papers include: typescript of piece by Street entitled 'Domicile of married women', pamphlet issued by the Australian Federation of Women Voters entitled 'The nationality of married women' together with booklets on the same issue published in London. There is also a brief report from the Inter American Commission of Women entitled 'Inaugural session of Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality', 1931.
Papers include: typescripts of a writings by Street entitled 'Women in Japan', 'Women in the USSR', 'Work of women's organisations in capitalist democracies and socialist democracies' together with notes on the creation of the Inter-American Commission of Women in 1928.
Papers relating to the Australian Women's Charter of which Street was one time Chairman and later Patron. Includes a copy of the constitution of the Charter, programs and reports of several conferences, typescripts of papers given by Street and copies of Quarterly Reports of the Charter (1964-1967). There is also a report of the preliminary meeting of the Status of Women Council Federal Officers and the Australian Woman's Charter Committee Federal Officers, Melbourne, 1949.
Papers relating to the World Woman's Party, which was established in the USA by Alice Paul to promote issues of women's suffrage. They include minutes of meetings for the period 1952-1953 at which time Street was the Australian representative.
Papers comprise drafts and final text of the Constitution of the Council.
Papers include: typescripts of talks given by Street at the Conference on the Teaching of Sex Hygiene (1916) and at the Women's International Democratic Federation Council Meeting, Berlin, 1951; a report by Street of the International Women's Conference, Paris, 1945; and a report of the inaugural meeting of the Status of Women Council (1947) together with minutes of two other meetings (1948 and 1949). There is also a group of papers relating to international conferences on women's rights including the All-India Women's Conference in Hyderabad, 1945, which Street attended; and printed material on the Session of the Council of the Women's International Democratic Federation, Moscow, 1949; the International Labour Conference, Geneva, 1951; the World Congress of Women, Copenhagen, 1953; the World Congress of Mothers, Lausanne, 1955; the first World Conference of Women Workers, Budapest, 1956; and a report of a Seminar on the Status of Women, London, 1956.
Papers include: typescript of speech by Street at the International Assembly of Women, Copenhagen, 1960; copy of an address by Sir Robert Webster entitled 'Management and the woman worker' presented at the National Conference on the Status of Women in Employment, Melbourne, 1966; agenda for Annual General Meeting and Constitution of the Suffragette Fellowship, London; and A record of the proceedings of the ninth conference of the Pan-Pacific and Southeast Asia Women's Association.
Notes on the United Association of Women and invitation to the 1979 Golden Jubilee Dinner of the Association (File 23) - Box 12
A group of miscellaneous papers relating to the activities of the United Association of Women. Included is a draft document entitled 'Basis of amalgamation agreed upon by the Joint Committee for Unification…'; reports by members on UAW various initiatives; a group of pamphlets promoting women's issues; copies of early newsletters (1943 and 1949), and copies of the United Associations of Women News Sheet (1959 and 1968). There is also a copy of a personalised bookplate designed for Street.
Note: copies of the United Associations of Women News Sheet are held in the Library's main collection.
Papers relating to the establishment and operation of the Home Training Institute which was established by Street in 1924 to offer training to girls in all aspects of home care and to issue them with certificates of efficiency one that training was completed. Included are typescripts by Street about aspects of the work of the Institute, objects and regulations of the Institute and proforma documents to be completed by clients.
Booklets and newsletters published by various organisations
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, in order 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 Street 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).
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).
Manuscript and typescript accounts of Street's extensive overseas travels including visits to Paris, China, Russia, Japan, Munich, Ghana, Bulgaria, Prague, Tashkent, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Canada, and Dublin. Included is the text of an interview with the victims of Hiroshima and Bikini (1945), an account of Stalin's death and funeral (1953) and the text of a broadcast made by Street on Japanese radio (1954). There is also a notebook containing diary entries of a trip to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Greece, which included a visit to Marshall Tito (1948).
The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II in order to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states. Jessie Street was appointed by Prime Minister John Curtin as a member of the Australian Delegation to the first UN Conference held in San Francisco in 1945. The UN 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. Street was selected as the Australian delegate for the first three sessions from 1946 to 1948.
This is the largest series of the collection because Street retained UN Session papers from 1945 to 1966. 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 UN.
Also included in this series is correspondence, ranging from 1945-65 (Folders 1-3), identification passes and travel receipts (Folder 8), delegate handbook and instructions belonging to 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 Minister of Australia (Folder 11).
Papers relate to the first UN Conference held in San Francisco in 1945 and to the work of the Status of Women Commission (SWC). Street was the Australian government appointed delegate at the first UN conference in San Francisco in 1945 and in 1946 was appointed by the UN as Vice-Chairman on the Status of Women Commission Under the Economic and Social Council of the UN. Papers include government correspondence relating to Street's appointment as a delegate and her travel arrangements to the first conference; correspondence with individuals and representatives of organisations working for women's rights showing support for the work being done to promote issues within the UN forum; progress reports by Street, and a copy of amendments proposed by the SWC to the International Bill of Human Rights.
Correspondents include Vera Micheles Dean, Miles Franklin, Mary Gilmore, Bodil Begtrup, Mihri Pektas, Shareefah Hamid Ali, Dame Constance D'Arcy
Papers relate to Street's work for the Status of Women Commission (SWC). Included is correspondence, a draft agenda for the third session of the SWC, reports on resolutions of the SWC, and a proposal for the formation of a Division on the Status of Women. There are also papers relating to a questionnaire designed by Street with a view to preparing a booklet reporting on the position of women and discriminations and inequalities which effect them.
Includes typescripts of a number of letters by Street relating to her work on the Status of Women Commission.
Typescripts of broadcasts, interviews and reports by Street relating to her work for the UN. Includes a supplementary report on the first session of the Status of Women Commission.
Typescripts of broadcasts and reports by Street relating to her work for the UN. Includes a draft Declaration of Human Rights (Jul 1948) and reports on events at the second session of the Status of Women Commission in (Jan 1948). There is also a booklet published by the UN entitled 'What the United Nations is doing for the status of women'.
Includes papers and typescripts of pieces by Street relating to activities of the Status of Women Commission. Also included is the draft of a pamphlet entitled 'United Nations and the control of atomic energy…' compiled by Street with a foreword by physicist Eric Burhop, together with typescripts of writings by Street about the peace keeping role of the United Nations.
Typescripts of reports and writings by Street about issues relating to the work of the United Nations including notes about the 19th General Assembly of the United Nations, 1964. There is also the typescript of an address by Street at the International Assembly of Women, Copenhagen, 1960; notes of a Board Meeting of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women together with a copy of the keynote address by J.F. Arnot, Canberra, 1964; and a copy of a published article by Street reporting on the Sixth World Conference Against A and H Bombs, Tokyo, 1960.
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'.
Street 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 she was the newly appointed President of the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society it is not surprising that she was again unsuccessful in winning a seat.
Street was to later abandon her membership of the A.L.P. 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 relating to the 1949 Federal Election is held in the Folio section. Newspaper clippings are located in Folder 6.
This series comprises papers the relating to the Australian-Soviet Friendship Society (formerly the Australian-Russian Society) and the Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee. Included is correspondence, speeches, lectures, broadcasts, maps, publications, and 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 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, Street was Chair 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, Street became the first President of the Australian-Russian Society (Folder 2). Its aim was to promote friendly relations with the U.S.S.R. There is a copy of the constitution, records of meetings and copies of the journal published by the Society entitled Russia and us. She left $10,000 to the Society in her will (1970).
Street attempted to inform the public about her views of the Soviet Union, which were often contrary to the views of the media. Topics of speeches, lectures and broadcasts given by her on this subject include: 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 from 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'Institutclinique 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).
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.
There is correspondence, consisting of twelve letters dating 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, 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 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 papers include: 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.
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 Street, reports, publications and newspaper clippings.
The correspondence relates to trade union matters and dates from 1943-1952. Among the correspondents was Jim Healy, General Secretary of the Waterside Worker's Federation of Australia. (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 are 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 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 located 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).
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 was involved in 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 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 include 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) There are reports, addresses, speeches, broadcasts and meetings and range from Folder 17 to Folder 24. Newspaper clippings are found in Folder 25.
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. Selected photographs from several folders are available online.
Additional images of Street are held in the Library's Pictures Collection.
Jessie Street's British passport as well as pamphlets and photographs concerning the United Nations (File 1) - Box 30
Included is a copy of a pamphlet entitled Historic World Charter adopted by The United Nations at the San Francisco Security Conference, June 1945.
Included is a letter dated 1930 from J.J.C. Bradfield enclosing images of the Sydney Harbour Bridge under construction.
Interviews by Street 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'