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Activist Commemorations: Bessie Guthrie [HISTORY WEEK]

Bessie Guthrie joined Sydney women’s liberation in 1970 and spent the final years of her life leading a campaign against the abuse of girls in state homes. When she died in December 1977, aged 72, she was afforded a rousing farewell by her feminist ‘sisters’ and, almost 20 years later, Guthrie House – a halfway house for women leaving prison – was named after her.

In this talk, Isobelle Barrett Meyering explores how feminist communities have developed their own mourning rituals and modes of commemoration in the absence of more official forms of recognition, using activist Bessie Guthrie’s death as a case study. She will also discuss the importance of Guthrie’s work in light of the recent royal commission on child sexual abuse.

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