HerStory

Susan Grace BENNY

Also known as: Susan Grace Anderson

Born: 4 October 1872

Died: 5 November 1944

Special Achievements:

Susan Grace Benny was Australia's first female member of a local government, appointed to the Seacliff ward of South Australia's Brighton Council on 22 December 1919.  She retained her seat during two elections and stood unsuccessfully for mayor in 1922.  Her political career came to an end when in 1926 her husband, a Federal senator, was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to three years hard labour.  Grace worked to support her five children, establishing a successful employment agency in Adelaide during the 1930s.  For many of the unemployed, she provided a meal and a bed.

Additional Information:

Susan Grace Benny had been President of the Women's Branch of the South Australian Liberal Union and had campaigned to incorporate equality of divorce for women as part of the party platform.  This became law in 1918.  She was active in the Cheer-Up Societies in both Adealide and Brighton during the First World War and founded the Seacliff Spinning Club to provide wool.  In 1921, she became a Justice of the Peace.  


Resources

  • Image - Susan Grace Benny

    Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.