Legislative Council: Tuesday, October 31, 2023


Augusta Zadow Awards

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (14:38): My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector. Will the minister inform the council about this year's Augusta Zadow Awards?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:39): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in this area and also note the interest shown by many members of this chamber who were at Government House in recent days for the Augusta Zadow Awards. I was pleased to previously advise the council about the work of the people who were nominated for the Augusta Zadow Awards that are held during Safe Work Month by health and safety regulator SafeWork SA.

I previously touched upon the contribution that Augusta Zadow has made to South Australia. Augusta Zadow was born in Germany in 1846 and immigrated to Australia with her husband and young son in 1877. Her immigration to South Australia followed after early years of travel through Europe, working as a seamstress, where she observed the working conditions of women employed in clothing factories, and her lifelong passion for women's health and safety was ignited.

After moving to Adelaide, Augusta Zadow became a formidable advocate for women in the textile and clothing industry and a well-known trade unionist. Augusta helped to establish the Working Women's Trade Union and became a delegate to the United Trades and Labor Council. She was also an active campaigner for the enfranchisement of women. Her tireless years of campaigning led to the passage of the Shops and Factories Act in 1895, after which she was appointed by former Premier Charles Kingston as—and the title was—Australia's Lady Inspector of Factories, overseeing the safety and working conditions of women and children in factories. This was a role Augusta held until her untimely death from influenza in 1896.

It was a testament to her contribution to the community that her funeral was attended by the Premier and members of cabinet, as well as dozens of the women factory workers she had supported throughout her life. The legacy she contributed to the early days of this state continues, with her being honoured in the annual Augusta Zadow Awards, an initiative of SafeWork SA which provides funding and recognition for projects, research and further education, which improves the health and safety of women and young workers in South Australia.

These awards have been run by SafeWork SA since 2005 and have resulted in 35 grants to a value of over $350,000. As I said, many members of this chamber and the other chamber attended a ceremony hosted by Her Excellency the Governor of South Australia at Government House on Friday 20 October. I look forward to informing the chamber of more of some of the remarkable contributions that award winners of this year's Augusta Zadow Awards have made at a future date.