Home | Women's Suffrage | Federation | Effective Voting | Catherine Helen Spence |
Political Awareness | In Parliament | The Workplace | Why South Australia?
The Aboriginal Voice | Cultural Diversity

Annie Montgomerie Martin

The name Annie Montgomerie Martin is associated with a number of women's organisations such as the Woman's League and the League of Women Voters. She was a friend of Catherine Helen Spence, who incorporated a suggestion of Annie's for a modification to her Proportional Representation electoral system. Annie was a keen scholar. Her name is commemorated today in the Annie Montgomerie Martin Prize and Medal awarded to the top student in both French and Modern History by the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia (SSABSA). The State Library of South Australia holds the papers of the Martin family (PRG 550) which is a large and fascinating group of material including correspondence and photographs, but there is very little material relating to Annie Montogomerie Martin. We would be pleased to hear from anyone who has any such material.

The Adelaide Observer had an obituary of Annie Montgomerie Martin on 24 August 1918 page 19.

"A correspondent writes: The late Miss Anna [sic] Montgomerie Martin, who died in Rome on August 9, will be remembered by many old pupils, as she founded and carried on for many years one of the leading schools in Adelaide. Her methods of instruction, although successful, were quite unconventional. Miss Martin was of English birth, and arrived in Australia in the early fifties. She was young at the time, but was already imbued with English ideas and sympathies, having been nurtured among those liberal thinkers who took an active part in repealing the corn laws and introducing that freedom of trade which placed a check on the gains of the profiteer, destroyed the unhallowed joys of the smuggler, and has contributed to an accumulation of wealth which is now freely used in the worldwide struggle against despotism.

Miss Martin was a student of languages from an early age, and loved to acquire knowledge, as she loved to impart it to others. In the early eighties of last century she helped to build up a prosperous and influential school on North terrace [sic], Adelaide, then conducted by Mr. Marval and his accomplished wife. In vain did the Education Department tempt her with a high salary and a fine position. Mortified and impoverished by government competition, Miss Martin returned to her native land, where she made a study of new methods of teaching. Some developments of educational methods met with her strong disfavour. She was always opposed to cramming, forcing, and pushing of the youthful intelligence. Miss Martin returned to Australia in 1884, and established a new school in the very teeth of governmental opposition. She retired finally from the profession about 17 years ago, and since that time she has lived mostly in Italy, the land she loved. So far as she was able, she helped the Italians in their time of trial by supplying poor homeless refugees and others with food and necessaries. She came from a long-lived family. It was probable that the constant demand on her keen sympathy and active help shortened a life that was useful and valuable, even in old age."

The Martin family interests were involved in the first Adelaide winery at Stonyfell. In later times, Mary Martin was the original owner of the Mary Martin Bookshop. The Martin family, including Annie, were Unitarians. The State Library has a strong interest in records of church groups and holds the records of the Unitarian Christian Church, Adelaide (SRG 122), as well as a library of 700 children's books collected by the Unitarians since 1859, and donated to the Children's Literature Research Collection in 1990/91.


Copyright and this website | Disclaimer | Privacy | Feedback | Accessibility | FOI

This page last updated on Friday 11 April, 2014 15:17



State Library of South Australia
North Terrace Adelaide 5000
Phone : +61 8 8207 7250
Fax : +61 8 8207 7307
Freecall : 1800 182 013

Link to sa.gov.au - South Australian Government