It took just six weeks in the spring of 1891 to collect nearly 30,000 signatures on the ‘Monster Petition’ for women’s suffrage. Dedicated suffragists collected an average of 5,000 signatures a week (over 700 per day) before the petition was presented to the Victorian Parliament in September 1891. The six-week drive proved the determination of the suffragists, and was one of first major steps along the road to 1908 and the achievement of women’s franchise. Now a prized possession of the State of Victoria, the petition itself was truly a ‘monster’, running 20 centimetres across and 260 metres in length. Several men were required to carry it into Parliament. Its sheer size and unique shape make it a marvel; a stack of paper with an equal number of signatures would not be nearly as impressive as the huge, winding roll presented to Premier James Munro.

Quoted from the article ‘The “Monster Petition” and the Women of Davis Street’ by Brienne Callahan, in Provenance: The Journal of Public Record Office Victoria, issue no. 7.