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Section A: Individual
Edith Cowan
Edith Cowan was an Australian parliament member and social activist. Edith contributed a lot of her life towards social issues and injustice in the legal system, her concern with these issues helped her achieve many memorable movements such as being Australia's first female parliamentarian, a innovator for children's rights as she was one of Western Australia's first female magistrates in the children's Court, she was also an innovator for women's rights, and was the first one to introduce the Women's Legal Status Bill, which cleared the way for women to be involved in high level professions, such as law or medicine.
Edith Cowans contribution and significance helped her become an influence and impact on the advancement of the Australian society. Edith Cowan contributed significantly to the development of education, the improvement of conditions for women, children, the poor, the uneducated and the elderly.
Edith Cowan was the first woman to be elected into an Australian parliament. Cowan was elected in Western Australia in 1921. Cowan was considered an Australian feminist, a companion and as ‘a committed, tireless and public campaigner for woman and children’s rights from the early twentieth century’. Cowan was a founder of the Karrakatta Club which was a woman’s club in Perth, that crusaded for woman’s suffrage. Cowan’s devotion to woman’s rights and wellbeing followed up by her having an active contribution in the establishment of the Western Australian National Council of Women 1911, and later on became the Karrakatta Clubs vice-president and president.
In 1923 Edith Cowan introduced a Women’s Legal Status Bill, this passed both Houses of Parliament and the Women’s Legal Status Bill was enabled which cleared the way for women to be involved in high level professions; such as law or medicine.
Edith Cowan contributed a lot of her life towards social issues and injustice in the legal system, her concern with these issues helped her become an innovator for children’s rights and woman’s rights, this made her a significant individual and using these historical events we know that she contributed to the advancement of Australian society.
In honour of Edith Cowan’s achievements in 1995 her portrait was printed on the Australian fifty dollar note.

Section A: Group
The Unemployed
The Unemployment in Australia or better known as The Great Depression lasted from 1929- 1932 and was a time of extreme hardship for the people in Australia. The Great depression was caused because of the fall in stock markets. After the crash unemployment in Australia the plummet more than doubled to twenty-one per cent in the mid-1930s, and reached its highest point in mid-1932 as almost thirty-two per cent of Australians were out of work.
The Unemployment rate or Great Depression’s effect on Australian society was devastating. Without work and consistent income many people lost their homes and were forced to live temporary The Great Depression’s impact on Australian society was devastating. Without work and a steady income many people lost their homes and were forced to live in makeshift dwellings with poor heating and sanitation.
For Australians the decade of the 1930s began with problems of huge unemployment, because the fall of the stock markets on Wall Street reduced confidence throughout the world. Most governments reacted to the crisis with similar policies, aimed at slashing back government spending and paying back loans. The Australian government could do little to change the effect of the slump and the tough economic times ahead. This affected the country in many ways.
Because of the economic downturn, people’s lives changed drastically. Australia had supplied huge amounts of wool for uniforms during World War 1, and many exports helped Australia achieve a high standard of living in the 1920s. The majority of the people of Australia lived very well prior to the fall, so they felt the effects of the depression strongly. Because of the severe economic contraction, the reduction of purchasing goods, employers couldn’t afford to keep excessive workers. A five year unemployment average for 1930-34 was 23.4%, with a peak of 28% of the nation being unemployed in 1932. This was one of the most severe unemployment rates in the industrialised world, exceeded only by Germany.
Many hundreds of thousands of Australians suddenly faced the humiliation of poverty and unemployment. This was the era of the traditional family structure, where the man was expected to be the sole bread winner. Soup kitchens and charity groups made brave attempts to feed the many starving and destitute. The suicide rate increased dramatically and it became clear that Australia had limits to the resources for dealing with the crisis. The Depression’s sudden and widespread unemployment hit the soldiers who had just returned from war the hardest as they were in their mid- thirties and still suffering the trauma of their wartime experiences. At night many slept covered in newspapers at Sydney’s Domain or at Salvation Army refugees.
There was strong competition for very few jobs resulting in massive queues and a race to arrive first at the place of employment as the first person to turn up was usually hired.

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