A small membership booklet at State Library reveals a dramatic example of the home front story during WWI. Support for peace, anti-militarism and anti-conscription speeches provided the framework for the Women’s Peace Army with an active branch in Brisbane. One hundred years later, we are reminded that many women were very vocal, and not always in support of the Empire’s position during the Great War.
The Women’s Peace Army was formed in Australia by Victoria’s Vida Goldstein in 1915. A significant member of Queensland’s branch was Emma Miller. Prior to the War, she had established a reputation as a spokesperson for justice and equal rights. She was a trade union organiser and was known as the mother of the Australian Labor Party. During World War I, she spoke out about anti-conscription, denounced militarism and was one of the Presidents of the Queensland branch of the Women’s Peace Army.