Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Fountain to celebrate the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage

The Australian Government will build a permanent artwork in the form of a fountain to celebrate the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women, Senator Kay Patterson, announced today.

The proposed fountain design has not yet been finalised and approval is still to be sought by Parliament. The initial design concept is for the inside of the fountain pool to be lined with a mosaic inspired by wisteria in the suffragette shades of green, white and purple. The fountain will feature a shallow rectangular pool and several water jets.

Senator Patterson has also proposed a time-line of key milestones from 1902 to be located along the wisteria-covered walkway behind the fountain.

“The time-line would feature a series of plaques commemorating significant events since the passage of the Act. These could include the first woman in Parliament, the first woman in the Senate, the first female President of the Senate and the first female Cabinet Minister among others,” Senator Patterson said today.

“This would lead visitors along a pathway of women’s achievements in Federal Parliament brought about by women’s suffrage.

“The fountain will be located prominently within the entrance to the House of Representatives Gardens beside Old Parliament House in Canberra. I hope that it will become a place where visitors can stop and reflect on the progress made by women in the last 100 years.

“The fountain will provide a permanent symbol to all Australians of the efforts of the suffragettes in winning the right to vote and stand in federal elections,” she said.

The Old Parliament House Rose Gardens are being restored and are due to be completed in December 2004. As part of the garden’s reconstruction, a paved walkway will link the entrance to the House of Representatives Garden through to Constitution Place. It is in this walkway that the fountain will be located.

The fountain will be unveiled when the Rose Gardens are officially opened at the end of 2004.