At last there is a very special seat for that dangerous and persuasive woman,
the pioneering suffragist Vida Goldstein, in Portland, the town where she was
born nearly 140 years ago. At last Vida Goldstein has been recognised for the
significant role she played in helping Victorian women win the right to vote 100
years ago in 1908. It was a very special honour for me to unveil this very
fitting tribute to Vida, who was one of Australia’s leading suffragists, as part
of our centenary of Victorian Women Vote celebrations.
I say congratulations and thank you to Portland’s Historic
Buildings Restoration Committee, which commissioned Vida’s seat and secured
funding for this fantastic project.
The Victorian government is pleased to have funded the
construction of Vida’s seat through its Centenary of Women’s Suffrage grants
program and Regional Arts Victoria. At the unveiling last Friday night I was
joined by Lesley Jackson, the project officer; Rebecca Fleming, the president of
the Historic Building Restorations Committee; Dr Janette Bomford, the author of
Vida’s biography, That Dangerous and Persuasive Woman; Mary Crooks, the executive officer of
the Victorian Women’s Trust; Dr Carmel Wallace, the artist who created Vida’s
seat; and a number of local Portland community members. It is an absolute
tribute to have such a fantastic seat looking over the Portland harbour, and I
hope many young women in Portland sit on it and are inspired to leave a similar
footprint to Vida in local and international communities.