Friday, August 19, 2011


Hard to imagine today but even as a man who has lived in a Canberra before self government it is difficult to comprehend having no voting rights in your country of birth at all. Probably not widely known but when the new Federal Capital of Australia was founded in 1913 apart from the population being made tee-total it was decided that the inhabitants of the new territory would be denied suffrage as well...

Us Canberrans should today appreciate Dr Lewis Nott's tenacity over 20 years in securing the vote for Canberra. He started his crusade in 1927 when Parliament officially transferred from Melbourne to Canberra. Call the new ACT legislative assembly sky-bridge after him I reckon.

I pick up the story 15 years later when Nott starts getting some influential support...

The Canberra Times - Saturday 13 June 1942

National Library of Australia

But Canberra citizens didn't want to be like the Northern Territory...

The Argus -  Wednesday 11 September 1946

National Library of Australia

4 years later Dr Nott, by now a representative on the Canberra Advisory Committee, renews his campaign...

The West Australian - Wednesday 11 September 1946

National Library of Australia

Dr. Nott points out that we still can't vote but we can sell beer on election day...

The Argus - Monday 30 September 1946

National Library of Australia

A bit of a win for the good Doctor two years later but Canberra fell 5000 short of population to be awarded  full voting rights...

The Sydney Morning Herald - Tuesday 6 April 1948

National Library of Australia

Dr Nott goes on to win the first seat on the Canberra Advisory Council and run as an independent candidate in the upcoming federal election.

The Sydney Morning Herald - Monday 19 September 1949

National Library of Australia

And the big day arrived with Dr. Nott the even favourite...

The Courier-Mail - Saturday 10 December 1949

National Library of Australia

He goes on to win, so 8 years after starting this tale and 23 years after starting his campaign for the vote for Canberra he becomes the Independent member for the ACT and in 1950 continues his call for full voting rights. I do note how small the report is however...

The Courier-Mail - Thursday 16 March 1950

National Library of Australia

Dr. Nott died suddenly in 1951. For anyone interested an accomplished death bio is here


No comments:

Post a Comment

History lost through lack of funding

  The following ABC article laments the possible loss of many historical audio visual records that are waiting for digitising into modern fo...