Welcome to the busy Passion News Desk, with an update on our exciting July conversation event and lots of project news!
DIARY DATES - AT A GLANCE
Thursday 31 July 2014
1915–2015: Resolutions for a sustainable peace — then and now
A Passion for Peace conversation event
Uniting Church Hall
Denman Street, Yarralumla
6–9 pm (supper provided from 6 pm)
21 September 2014 (International Day of Peace)
Sing for Peace - Walk for Climate
National Arboretum, starting at Dairy Farmers Hill 9am
Flash mob at Village Centre 10am
For more information see Facebook event.
Tuesday 11 Nov 2014
A Passion for Peace work-in-progress concert and conversation
Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
15 Blackall Street, Barton
7.30 pm onwards
28 April–1 May 2015
A Passion for Peace performances and other activities
Albert Hall, Yarralumla
Click 'Read more' to find out more about these events, our plans and how you can join in!
And see our previous newsletters and website for detailed background about the whole Passion for Peace project.
See at: http://www.chorusofwomen.org/whatsnew.htm#PfP
This website has a great collection of documents about the International Congress of Women in 1915, the resolutions and subsequent visits to European capitals, heads of state and senior ministers.
1915–2015: Resolutions for a sustainable peace — then and now
When: Thursday 31 July, 6–9 pm (supper provided from 6 pm)
Where: Uniting Church Hall, Denman Street, Yarralumla
Cost: $15 or donation (at the door)
Join A Chorus of Women and a diverse range of other participants to discover and advance the resolutions of the 1915 International Congress of Women.
The far-sighted resolutions of the 1915 International Women’s Congress are still reverberating in international affairs through the first proposals for an International Court of Justice and other international institutions, including what became the United Nations. Chorus member and international human rights lawyer Emilia Della Torre has analysed the resolutions of the conference in terms of human rights law today and has shown their prescience in every way this area of law has progressed over the past 100 years.
Together in conversation, we will explore what we can still learn from these resolutions and what new resolutions would guide humanity well for the challenges of next 100 years.
Bookings essential: please RSVP by 28 July to Sarah Stitt (see Contacts)
Remembrance Day work-in-progress concert and conversation
When: 11 November, 7.30 pm
Where: Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall Street, Barton
Tickets: $20 ($15 concession)
This evening will combine a work-in-progress performance of A Passion for Peace with presentations by composer Glenda Cloughley and musical director Johanna McBride. This will be followed by a conversation with the audience facilitated by Janet Salisbury.
Our fundraising team has been very busy preparing a grant application for the main arts ACT grants round for 2015. We are now turning our attention to other funding options, including crowdsourcing.
Meanwhile, if you would like to make a donation towards the cost of this project, see our ‘Donate’ page under the ‘Contacts’ tab in this weblog. Please also pass this information on to any of your friends and colleagues who might be able to help us.
COMMUNICATIONS AND PR
Since the last newsletter, our beautiful and evocative Passion motif has been created by artist Honey Nelson and creative designer Lisa Abbott (with many a comment from the graphic sidelines).
Our communications coordinator, Danni Abou takka, has been busy populating our Facebook site with new entries and helping our fundraisers prepare materials for the crowdsourcing project.
Janet Salisbury, Sarah Stitt and Libby Lloyd met with Dr Brendan Nelson at the Australian War Memorial and had an interesting discussion about the centenary of the Anzac landings, the Passion project, and the Australian peace movement during the First World War (see below).
We have met numerous other people and are currently planning to contact relevant embassies and other organisations. Any assistance with these tasks would be much appreciated.
MEETINGS, GATHERINGS AND SINGING
See our ‘Meetings & Rehearsals’ page for venues, other details and updates of planning meetings, gatherings and rehearsals for the Passion project. In recent weeks we have welcomed a number of new singers to Chorus and have spent some enjoyable time together teaching them some of our most-performed repertoire from our ‘Songbook for Citizens’.
In June, we held two Sunday ‘afternoon tea’ gatherings of both singing and non-singing Chorus members and friends to talk about the Passion project, read and philosophise together about some of the poems and writings of women during the First World War.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There has been a change to our gathering on Sunday 13 July to allow time for both talking and singing. We will start earlier at 2 pm for some planning, conversation and readings from 2-3.30 pm, followed by tea and cake and then singing from 4-5.30 pm. All welcome.
WOMEN'S PEACE MOVEMENT IN AUSTRALIA
Vida was a second-generation campaigner for women’s suffrage and social reform. In 1903, she was the first woman in the British Empire to stand for a national parliament. She stood again in 1910, 1913 and 1917 but was never elected despite good polling. The principle of peace, which underlay her 1917 attempt for a Senate seat, apparently lost – or split – her votes. In the early 1900s she travelled to Europe and the US, speaking at many woman’s suffrage conferences. In 1902, after Australian women had won the vote, she travelled to Washington DC to represent Australasia at the International Woman Suffrage Conference where she greatly impressed her audiences. President Roosevelt was also impressed by this emancipated woman from Australia and invited her to the Oval Office where she became the first Australian (man or woman) to meet an American President at the White House. It was another fourteen years before an Australian prime minister was granted the same privilege.
Among her many activities, Vida was owner–editor of the Melbourne-based Woman Voter -- a newspaper published by the Women’s Political Association (WPA), which was a sister-organisation to the Women’s Peace Army, formed by Vida, Cecilia John (see below), Adela Pankhurst and others in 1915. With only 1000 members, the WPA was quite influential and attracted a lot of attention, including terrible harassment because of their pacifist views. Writing in the Women Voter on 11 August 1914 in the week the Prime Minister Joseph Cook took Australia into the First World War, Vida said:
‘I think that it is a fearful reflection on 2000 years of Christianity that men have rushed into war before using every combined effort to prevent this appalling conflict. It is my earnest hope that women in all parts of the world will stand together, demanding a more reasonable and civilised way of dealing with international disputes.
The time has come for women to show that they, as givers of life, refuse to give their sons as material for slaughter, and that they recognise that human life must be the first consideration of nations. By the present development it seems that human life is held of no importance in comparison with property and aggrandisement of territory. The enfranchised women of Australia are political units in the British Empire, and they ought to lead the world in sane methods of dealing with these conflicts.’
Woman Voter suffered heavy censorship and armed soldiers once threatened to seize the printing equipment of the Women's Peace Army.
Cecilia John was a singer, feminist and pacifist. She had a fine contralto voice and became a successful performer with the Metropolitan Liedertafel, the (Royal) Melbourne Philharmonic Society and with the German Opera Company.
Cecilia supported Vida Goldstein’s bid for federal parliament in 1913, regularly wrote articles for Woman Voter, and co-founded the Women's Peace Army with her. Concerned about the indoctrination of children with militaristic ideas, she formed the Children's Peace Army. Cecilia's pacifist activities were carefully monitored by military intelligence. Although she was never arrested, her letters were opened and her home searched. She often sang at anti-war meetings and was once charged and convicted for failing to keep the aisles clear. She sang 'I didn't raise my son to be a soldier' to such effect that the song was banned.
Released in 1915, this song featured prominently in the American anti-war movement opposing US entry into the First World War. Woman Voter gave a condensed version of the lyrics on 25 November 1915, and a further mention of the song being banned a month later.
Woman Voter, 25 November 1915:
Once, when a mother / Was asked would she send
Her darling boy to fight /She just answered “No”!
I didn’t raise my son to be a soldier /
I brought him up to be my pride and joy, /
Who dares to put a musket on his shoulder /
To kill some other mother’s darling boy? /
The nations ought to arbitrate their quarrels /
It’s time to put the sword and gun away /
There’d be no war today, / If mothers all would say …
I didn’t raise my son to be a soldier
All men are brothers, / Our Country, the world,
Glories of War are a lie: / If they ask us why,
We can tell them that mother’s reply, /
Woman Voter 23 December 1915:
We have been forbidden by the military authorities to sing or make use of the song ‘I didn’t raise my son to be a soldier.’ Needless to say, the women will still continue to sing it, if they feel so inclined.
This WWI film alongside a recording of the whole song sung by a well-known men’s quartet of the time shows the poignancy of the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C2qOAgMCl4
Australian dictionary of biography, Goldstein, Vida Jane (1869–1949) by Janice Brownfoot.
Australian dictionary of biography, John, Cecilia Annie (1877–1955) by Patricia Gowland. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/john-cecilia-annie-6849
Prejudice and reason — some Australian women’s responses to war, compiled by Geraldine Robertson. http://www.prejudiceandreason.com.au/11.16.html
Gender and power in Australia: the world is watching, by Clare Wright.
DID ANY AUSTRALIAN WOMEN ATTEND THE 1915 INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS?
‘… We are hoping that Miss Harriet Newcomb was able to represent Australian women at the Conference.’
Harriet Newcomb was English but spent many years living in Sydney where she founded a demonstration and training school for girls at Shirley on Edgecliff Road with her lifelong friend, companion and business partner, Margaret Hodge. Both women are listed in the complete congress transcript as paid-up members/delegates of the congress. But they were among 180 women from the UK who were unable to attend because the British Government stopped the shipping.
Harriet and Margaret’s strong educational interests included Maria Montessori and, later in life, Rudolf Steiner.
Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography: Newcombe, Harriet Christina (1854–1942) by Margaret Bettison