Timeline

The life and times of Jessie Street, 1889–1970.

Jessie Street often wore this cameo brooch – it can be seen in many photographs of public events. (Photo: National Library of Australia MS2683/11)

18 April 1889 - Jessie Mary Grey Lillingston born in Ranchi, India

17 June 1911 - Joins suffragettes in London – an Australian contingent marches with 40,000 other supporters of votes for women

May 1914 - Delegate to International Council of Women conference in Rome

4 August 1914 - Britain declares war on Germany

10 February 1916 - Marries Kenneth Whistler Street

23 November 1916 - Gives paper on venereal disease and social reform at Workers Education Association conference

7 November 1917 - Bolshevik Revolution in Russia

15 February 1918 - First child, Belinda, born in Melbourne

11 November 1918 - Armistice Day – Germany's surrender ends World War I

28 June 1919 - Treaty of Versailles establishes the League of Nations

7 November 1919 - Second child, Philippa, born in Sydney

12 August 1921 - Bessie Rischbieth founds the Australian Federation of Women Voters to coordinate lobbying at the League of Nations

18 August 1921 - Third child, Roger, born in Sydney

3 July 1926 - Youngest child, Laurence, born in Sydney

24 October 1929 - The fall of the New York Stock Exchange marks an international economic depression

18 December 1929 - Forms United Associations of Women in Sydney

10 September 1930 - Attends 7th International Conference on Birth Control in Zurich

28 September 1930 - Attends the 10th General Assembly of League of Nations in Geneva

6 January 1932 - Joseph Lyons becomes Australia's 10th Prime Minister

12 March 1932 - Submits her proposal for a General Social Insurance Scheme to Prime Minister Joseph Lyons

13 August 1934 - Wins Victorian sesquicentennial prize for her song 'Australia Happy Isle' with music by Lindley Evans

20 September 1938 - Attends the 18th General Assembly of League of Nations in Geneva

1 December 1938 - Australia accepts 15,000 Jewish refugees after the German occupation of Austria and Czechoslovakia

1939 - President of Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR

26 April 1939 - Robert Menzies becomes Prime Minister as new leader of the United Australia Party

9 June 1939 - Gives the first of four public lectures about her visit to USSR in 1938

23 August 1939 - USSR aligned with Germany in Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact

3 September 1939 - Australia declares war on Germany

7 September 1940 - Australia's first diplomatic posts are set up, in Washington and Tokyo

21 November 1940 - Jessie Street and Nerida Cohen take United Associations of Women's equal pay case to Commonwealth Arbitration Court – the case is unsuccessful

22 June 1941 - Germany invades USSR

3 July 1941 - Russian Medical Aid and Comforts Committee formed in Sydney

7 October 1941 - John Curtin becomes Prime Minister

5 November 1941 - First meeting of Women's Forum for Social Reconstruction, Sydney

9 December 1941 - Two days after the Japanese attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Australia declares war on Japan, and on axis powers Finland, Hungary and Romania

17 March 1942 - Deputation to Minister for Air, Parliament House Canberra, on wages and conditions in the new Women's Australian Auxiliary Air Force

24 December 1942 - Department of Post-War Reconstruction established and Dr HC Coombs appointed Director-General in January 1943

3 March 1943 - Soviet embassy established in Canberra and an Australian diplomat posted to Moscow

21 August 1943 - Labor candidate for House of Representatives seat of Wentworth

23 September 1943 - Dame Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney become the first women to win seats in the Australian parliament

25 April 1945 - Opening of the San Francisco conference to establish the United Nations

8 May 1945 - VE Day – Germany's surrender ends the war in Europe

26 June 1945 - On the death of John Curtin, deputy Prime Minister Frank Forde sworn in until the federal parliamentary Labor Party elects a new leader

6 July 1945 - On the death of John Curtin, deputy Prime Minister Frank Forde sworn in until the federal parliamentary Labor Party elects a new leader

13 July 1945 - New Prime Minister Ben Chifley sworn in

6 August 1945 - The United States drops the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later a second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki. On 15 August Japan surrenders, ending the war in the Pacific.

17 October 1945 - Commonwealth Investigation Service formed, combining the wartime Security Service and the Investigation Branch

November 1945 - Takes part in founding of Women's International Democratic Federation in Paris

3 November 1945 - Interview on Radio Moscow

21 June 1946 - United Nations Status of Women Commission established

August 1946 - 2nd Australian Woman's Charter conference, Sydney

28 September 1946 - Labor candidate for House of Representatives seat of Wentworth

28 September 1946 - National social security – a successful referendum altered Section 51 of the Constitution, granting the Commonwealth power to provide maternity allowances, widows pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services, and student and family allowances

February 1947 - Elected deputy chair of Status of Women Commission at 1st session, New York

14 April 1947 - Arrives back in Sydney after 1st session of Status of Women Commission in New York

21 July 1947 - Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell signs agreement with the United Nations Refugee Organisation to accept displaced persons from European countries ravaged by war

January 1948 - Attends Status of Women Commission 2nd session in New York

5 September 1948 - Addresses peace rally in Trafalgar Square, London

21 September 1948 - Australia's Minister for External Affairs, HV Evatt, elected president of the United Nations 3rd General Assembly and Jessie Street in Paris for the Assembly

26 January 1949 - Nationality and Citizenship Act comes into operation. Although Australians remain British subjects, they are now citizens of their own country and cannot retain any other nationality

23 February 1949 - Jessie Street elected national president of Australian–Russian Society after the Labor Party forced Clive Evatt to resign

16 March 1949 - Australian Security Intelligence Organisation established to protect the Commonwealth from espionage, sabotage and subversion

10 December 1949 - Independent candidate for House of Representatives seat of Phillip

19 December 1949 - Robert Menzies becomes Prime Minister after the Liberal/Country Party coalition defeated the Chifley Labor government at the federal election on 10 December

8 January 1950 - Kenneth Street appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the State's Lieutenant-Governor

16 April 1950 - Peace conference in Melbourne attended by the 'Red Dean', the Dean of Canterbury, Hewlett Johnson

23 June 1950 - Parliament passes the Communist Party Dissolution Bill. After it was enacted in October, the law was challenged in the High Court and, on 9 March 1951, was held to be unconstitutional

23 June 1950 - Jessie Street leaves Australia for six years

26 July 1950 - Australia joins the Korean War

17 November 1950 - Leads Australian delegation to 2nd World Peace Congress in Warsaw, Poland

27 December 1950 - Issued with British passport in London

23 January 1951 - Broadcast on Radio Moscow

23 July 1951 - Meeting of World Peace Council executive, Helsinki

24 July 1951 - Refused entry visa by United States, to attend United Nations meeting

22 September 1951 - Referendum to alter the Australian Constitution to grant parliament the power to outlaw communism is lost narrowly

November 1951 - Attends World Peace Council, Vienna

17 December 1951 - Attends United Nations 6th General Assembly, held in Paris as new building in New York is not ready

July 1952 - Attends 3rd World Peace Congress, Berlin

9 March 1953 - Attends funeral of Joseph Stalin in Moscow

June 1953 - Attends international women's congress, Copenhagen

20 April 1954 - A week after the defection of Vladimir Petrov, Evdokia Petrov also appeals for political asylum in a dramatic scene at Darwin airport. Based on evidence the Petrovs provided, a Royal Commission on Espionage is established

17 October 1954 - Broadcast on Radio Peking

30 December 1954 - All-India Congress for Peace and Asian Solidarity, Madras

November 1955 - Attends World Peace Congress in Vienna, Austria

July 1956 - First world conference on women workers in Budapest, Hungary

25 August 1956 - Addresses seminar on status of women, Caxton Hall in London

12 December 1956 - Returns to Australia after a six-year absence

20 June 1957 - Radio broadcast from Darwin during her tour investigating conditions for Aboriginal people

March 1958 - Attends meeting of Bureau of World Peace Council, New Delhi

March 1958 - Addresses nuclear disarmament conference, Tokyo, Japan

October 1958 - Attends United Nations 13th General Assembly in New York

6 August 1960 - Attends disarmament conference, Stockholm

November 1960 - Attends meetings of the United Nations Security Council and the Commission for the Status of Women, in New York

7 November 1962 - Attends reception to celebrate USSR national day at Soviet Embassy, Canberra

1 November 1963 - Indigenous people throughout Australia win the suffrage on the same basis as other electors following an amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act. The 1963 election was the first federal election for Indigenous people in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Those in the other states had won voting rights in 1949.

10 January 1965 - Attends United Nations 20th General Assembly in New York

13 August 1965 - Visits Ghana to see new water scheme

26 January 1966 - After a record 16-year term, Robert Menzies resigns and Harold Holt is sworn in as Australia's Prime Minister

14 March 1967 - Launches autobiography Truth or Repose in Melbourne

27 May 1967 - In the largest majority of any Australian referendum, voters overwhelmingly support a proposal to count Indigenous people in the national census and to give federal parliament the power to legislate for Indigenous people.

19 June 1969 - After decades of campaigning, women workers are granted equal pay rates with men doing comparable work. Because the Arbitration Commission's decision is for incremental increases, pay parity is not achieved until 1972.

2 July 1970 - Jessie Street dies in Sydney

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017