Catherine Helen Spence Biography
(Author, Journalist & Politician)
Birthday: October 31, 1825 (Scorpio)
Born In: Melrose, Scotland
Catherine Helen Spence was one of the most prolific Australian authors who drew a vivid picture of South Australia through her writings and lectures. She won reputation as a literary critic and social reporter and her articles were published in many South Australian newspapers and magazines like the ‘Cornhill Magazine’, ‘Fortnightly Review’ and ‘Melbourne Review’. She was also a famous suffragist and Georgist and Australia’s first female political candidate to run for the elections. She was 67 when she started her campaign but her enthusiasm was that of a young woman. She represented the Federal Convention at Adelaide though unsuccessfully. Catherine Helen Spence contributed to the accomplishment of the women’s suffrage movement and showed extraordinary resilience in transcending patriarchal restrictions on rightful activities. Spence dedicated her life for the education of girl children and betterment of the poor. Miles Franklin called her the “Greatest Australian Woman”. On her eightieth birthday, the image of this “Grand Old Woman of Australia” was placed on the Federation Australian five-dollar note. As a sign of her ever-present influence, Adelaide's daily newspaper ‘The Advertiser’ included her name in its list of the ten greatest South Australians of the 20th century. Spence described herself as 'a clear-brained commonsense woman of the world'.