Muriel Matters Society Inc.


The Muriel Matters Society Inc.

PO Box 87,

Modbury North, SA 5092

Contact Us:

0437 656 700


Welcome to The Muriel Matters Society Inc. website.

Please take the time to explore and discover more about this fascinating woman of significance - the principal character in a hat-trick of firsts.

News and Events

The Centenary Play

The Society is pleased to report that the Centenary Play was an outstanding success. The debut season of ‘Why Muriel Matters’ ran in conjunction with the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and was originally commissioned to commemorate the centenary of Muriel Matters’ lecture tour of Australia in 1910. After premiering at the Adelaide Town Hall, a series of more intimate performances were conducted at La Boheme. The Society is hoping the play will be accessible to more audiences in the future.

A successful metropolitan tour went ahead throughout June to Venues in Elizabeth, Marion, Pt Noarlunga, Golden Grove, Angle Park (The Parks Theatre), Hilton (Star Theatre) and Barossa Art Centre, as part of the ‘Out of the Square’ matinee series. In addition, a well attended regional tour travelled in July, through Arts SA, to venues in Clare Valley, Whyalla, Streaky Bay and Pt Lincoln. Keep your eyes out for future touring dates - perhaps as soon as 2013.

Thanks to playwright Sheila Duncan and the production team, Lisa Philip-Harbutt from the Community Arts Network and Margie Fischer who have been responsible for making the play happen.

Play Related Ephemera and Merchandise

Mementos from the Centenary Performance such as, the ‘Why Muriel Matters’ programme, assorted cards (pack of 4) and the enamel centenary badge are available through The Society.

A commemorative handkerchief has also been produced. Handkerchiefs were used as an advertising tool in the 1900s and with the help of Mark Thomson, The Society has reproduced this memento to celebrate the Play. The limited edition handkerchiefs are priced at $20 and over time will definitely become a collector’s item.

A commemorative Balloon Tea Towel has also been produced and a fashionable silver key ring, featuring The Society’s logo portrait is now available. All are great gift ideas.

Numbers are limited so please fill out an order form and address it to The Society to get your memento today!

Research Continues

Building on initial work by Frances Bedford, Marie Maddocks and Steven Anderson, The Society continues on various lines of enquiry on each aspect of Muriel Matters Life.

Special thanks to Lyn O’Grady for research assistance and finding a way to access the BBC clipping of Muriel’s voice. It is wonderful to hear her speak and gives us fresh impetus (not that we needed it!). Click here to listen to the recording.

Wendy Herbert is continuing to find wonderful things about Muriel Matters – we now have interviews with Muriel from the Women's Freedom League’s publication, The Vote, which gives fresh insight into many aspects of her life both here and after her arrival in the UK.

Previous Newsletters

The Muriel Matters Society regularly circulates a newsletter to its members detailing progress, new finds and upcoming events. Archived here are all newsletters published since 2011:

  1. September 2015

  2. March 2015

  3. December 2014

  4. October 2014

  5. August 2014

  6. June 2014

  7. September 2013

  8. May 2013

  9. December 2012

  10. March 2012

  11. July 2012

  12. November 2011

  13. June 2011

  14. April 2011

The Grille Exhibition

The Society reluctantly farewelled Muriel’s Chains and Holloway Prison Badge in April. Special thanks to Beverley and Nickos at the Museum of London, without whom the long term loan would not have been possible. Thanks also to the Clerk of the House of Assembly for his continuing full support. The Grill remains on display in Centre Hall and can be viewed by members and the general public Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm.

HE Quentin Bryce, Governor General of Australia,

visiting the Grille Exhibition, 8 November 2010.

Muriel Matters Link with Lionel Logue

Recent research into Matters’ early life by The Society has revealed connections with Lionel Logue, the speech therapist recently made famous in The King’s Speech. Logue and Matters appear on the the same program at The Lyric Club, Adelaide, 1903 and both competed at Royal South Street in Ballarat, where Lionel also adjudicated.

In addition, Matters’ brother, Leonard Matters (Member of the British House of Commons 1929-1931) and Logue also travelled to England aboard the same passenger ship. As Matters worked as an elocutionist in Adelaide at the same time as Logue, it is likely the two families were well acquainted. Marie Maddocks of the State Library of South Australia is continuing to follow up these promising leads on behalf of The Society.

Frances Bedford and Adjunct Professor Eleanor Ramsay, The University of South Australia, were interviewed by Phillip Adams on ABC Radio National recently. Follow the link below and listen to the discussion centred on the 103rd Anniversary of the ‘Grille Protest’:

The Muriel Matters Society on the Radio

The Society was welcomed by the Governor General, HE Quentin Bryce, to Admiralty House for a morning tea prior to the Sydney launch dinner. We are grateful to the Governor General for her kindness and enthusiasm for all things Muriel.

NSW Chapter

Information from this website can only be used with appropriate attribution to The Muriel Matters Society.

London Illustrated News, 1908

Daily Mirror, 1909

WFL Postcard

Documentary on the Way!

Almost all the funding has been secured for the go ahead for a 30 minute feature, focusing on Muriel Matters’ life as an actress elocutionist and how she used her experience in these crafts to make social change. Producers Julia and Claire have begun work and have met with a vary talented director to begin planning. Donations to enable finalisation of this particular project would be most welcome - please help if you can! Please email the Society secretary for more details.

Hastings and London Revisited

Frances Bedford visited Hastings in April 2012 and hosted a morning tea for our friends there. Thanks to Barbara for assistance with catering and to everyone for attending. The announcement of the proposal for a second life size memorial statue was well received and work will soon begin on design and fundraising and negotiations with Hastings Council, following the election due there shortly.

UK friends the Muriel Matters Society in the Crypt of St Mary in the Castle

In London, Frances was well looked after, above and beyond, by Irene (suffrage historian) and David (good all-rounder!). She met with Beverley and Nickos (Museum of London), Elizabeth and Jill (suffrage historians) near one of Muriel’s former homes.

Special thank you meeting at the Museum of London

After following in the footsteps of the suffragettes of Aylesbury

In Aylesbury, Frances accompanied Colin on a Heritage Walk. One of nine in colin’s book, the two local Peters also made the day enjoyable. Special thanks to everyone for making the trip enjoyable and successful!

Meeting of the suffrage minds near suffrage garden

Flying home via the USA, Frances visited Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley and our other friend in Washington, Jeanatte Murry.

Ambassador on board with Muriel

Helper on the trail of William Arnold Porter

HE Quentin Bryce, Governor General of Australia, welcoming members of the Muriel Matters Society in Sydney.

Caravan Tour, 1908 (WFL postcard)

Executive members of the Society, Frances Bedford and Steph Key, were back in England recently promoting Muriel’s life. The English seaside town of Hastings is where Muriel stood for election in 1924 and later spent her retirement.

Click here to read The Hastings and St. Leonards Observer’s article and be sure view the video of Frances and Steph talking about their visit!

The Muriel Matters Society Back in Hastings

Muriel Matters on the Big Screen!

World Premiere Screenings at the Adelaide Film Festival

The story of Muriel Matters has finally been dramatized in a production made with help from our friends at Rivet Pictures. Starring Brooke Satchwell as Muriel Matters the world premiere will take place at the 2013 Adelaide Film Festival. There will be two screenings, the first on Sunday 13 October at 2.15pm and the second on Friday 18 October at 5pm. Both screenings will be held at the Palace Nova Cinema in the Adelaide CBD with bookings made online through the Adelaide Film Festival’s website. Please read the Society’s flyer for more information.

March for Muriel Matters!

Help spread the news about Muriel Matters and votes for women! Come and meet other Society members at Cafe Brunelli on Rundle Street on Sunday 13 October at 12 noon for a coffee, cake or something else to eat before marching to the Palace Nova in time for the debut screening. Pay homage to the original suffragists by wearing something with the suffrage colours of purple, white, gold and green. Click here for a flyer with all the details.


The Muriel Matters production will be screened to a national television audience on ABC1 on Tuesday 15 October 2013 at 10pm via the public broadcaster’s Artscape program.

Muriel Matters Ephemera

To commemorate the release of ‘Muriel Matters!’ the Society has commissioned some documentary related ephemera for sale to the general public.

Two handkerchiefs are available. The first celebrates the world premiere screening at the Adelaide Film Festival while the second recognizes Muriel Matters’ achievement as the leading protagonist in the first ever aeronautical protest over London in February 1909.

Gift soaps are also for sale with a portion of the proceeds going towards The Seeds of Affinity, an organisation that offers pathways for newly released female prison inmates. Muriel was a campaigner for prison reform and the Society is delighted to be able to contribute to their work in this small way.

The Muriel Matters Society 2013 badge, key ring, pack of assorted cards, balloon flight tea towel and the ‘Why Muriel Matters’ Centenary Play programme are still available for purchase through the Society and make great gift ideas.

Please complete the order form and return it to the Society or get in touch via email if you have any questions. All ephemera is of a limited number with all proceeds going directly back into supporting the work of the Muriel Matters Society.

Muriel Matters Society on Facebook and Twitter

A ceremony to name the ‘Muriel Matters Room’ was held in the South Australian Parliamentary Library on 5 August 2014. The gathering was addressed by the President of the Friends of the Library, Vickie Chapman, and she was assisted in the unveiling by the Speaker, Hon Michael Atkinson. Frances Bedford presented the Library with an original Women’s Freedom League postcard depicting Muriel on behalf of the Muriel Matters Society. A copy of ‘Vanishing for the Vote’ written by Jill Liddington was also donated. The Society would like to give special thanks to Dr Coral Stanley for her help in establishing the ‘Muriel Matters Room’.

Above: The signage for the ‘Muriel Matters Room’.

Left: Frances Bedford and Steph Key in front of the donated postcard of Muriel.

If you like social media, keep up to date with all things Muriel by joining the Society on Facebook and Twitter! This is just another way members can connect with the happenings of the Society. The links to both accounts are on the left hand side of the website’s home page, or follow these links:

Parliamentary Library Reading Room Named in Honour of Muriel Matters

Current Newsletter: