Is the mental capacity of women equal to that of men? A debate in the news 100 years ago

Featured image: The girls at Moruya Public School at this time. They were presumably impressed by Rev. Fulton’s lecture – see the last article..


Shire-wide news extracts from the Moruya Examiner of 4 September 1920, provided by the Moruya & District Historical Society

DEBATE.– A better attendance favored the newly formed Debating Society on Tuesday night when the subject “ Is the mental capacity of women equal to that of men” was thrashed out.  In the absence of Mr. R.L. Dawson Mr. W. Denning was voted to the chair. The Premier, Rev. Sanders, taking the affirmative was supported by Messrs. E. J. Egan, G. Hanscom, Truman, L. Johnson and G. Bishop each putting forward a strong case for the fair sex.  The Leader of the Opposition, Rev. Fulton was supported by Mr. C. Carter.  The voting resulted in a decided win for the affirmative by thirteen to seven. 

TIMELY WARNING.– At a dinner, subsequent to a recent football match, Mr. J. Brown, who had earlier in the day acted as referee, delivered himself of some sage advice applicable to footballers in general. Condensed, he advised those who desired sport, to play the game and not ‘yap’ on the ground; not to attribute defeat or weakness to bias on the part of the referee. If you are out to point and get caught, don’t squeal if penalised.  He also introduced a point that is worthy of note by all genuine footballers, viz., that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get reliable men to undertake the thankless task to referee a game, and if fair treatment is not meted out no one with a backbone would undertake the duty. To all of which we say, “Hear, Hear.”


– Legal proceedings threatened by our Shire Council for recovery of outstanding rents.
– Purchasers of meat at H. J. Thompson’s shop must take their own wrappings or baskets.
– On Saturday last the Moruya footballers played Bodalla a draw, each side scoring 3 points.
– The Austral Starch Co. has taken up 31,000 acres special lease of burrawang country in the Nelligen district.
– Some of our Moruya ladies showed their interest in the Debating Club on Tuesday by turning up in good numbers.

OMISSION.– In the published list of fancy costumes worn at the Hospital Ball last week, the name of Miss Iree Behringer as Queen of the Night was inadvertently omitted, and this character credited to Miss McIvor who represented Peace Queen. Our apologies to the beautiful Queens.

SECOND PEACE LOAN.– On Wednesday night the Hon. J. Joynton Smith M.L.C. addressed about eighteen of the townspeople in the Mechanics Hall on the Second Peace Loan, Mr W. Jermyn presiding. Owing to the paucity of attendance the speaker did not dilate on his subject, giving a terse but explanatory address. … He afterwards went to Hanscom’s Picture Show, where he gave a ten minutes’ delivery.


 Re alleged dangerous curves on Moruya Bateman’s Bay road, the Assn. to be informed that the Council is fully aware of the condition of the curves in question, and as it is the first policy of the Council to see to the roads and the safety of the public, the curves in question would have been reduced long ago if they were considered to be a danger to the travelling public.

Re logs on Orient St., Bateman’s Bay. It was resolved that teamsters be warned against depositing logs on the street, and that all logs now on the street be removed within seven days, or offenders be prosecuted.

FODDER ALLOWANCE.– The P.M.G.  Advises the Hon Austin Chapman as follows:- With reference to the remarks recently made by you in Parliament relative to the question of this Department assisting small mail contractors affected by the high prices of fodder, I beg to inform you that as already intimated, approval has been given for extra payments to be made to maintain contractors in drought stricken areas where it is shown that such is warranted, and such payment will be made as soon as the necessary formalities have been complied with.  The Deputy Postmasters General concerned have been instructed accordingly, and no doubt payments may be made by them at an early date.

PUBLIC SCHOOL.– On Wednesday afternoon, under the auspices of the Parents’ and Citizens’ Association, Rev. J. B. Fulton gave an instructive lecture to the children on qualities needed for true success in life. The lecture had five headings, viz., adaptability, obligingness, observation, perseverance and reliability. These were dealt with in a interesting manner, and simplified with apt illustrations. Speaking about the need of reliability, the lecturer forcibly showed that truthfulness, honesty, promptitude and a strict adherence to the principles of religion was necessary for success in any calling. The young listeners showed their appreciation by keen attention to each point brought out in the address and at the close carried a hearty vote of thanks.

Empire Day at Moruya PS – 1910
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Twenty one 100 years ago booklets containing articles for the years 1899 to 1919 are available ($6 to $8 ea) from the Museum.  Back copies of local newspapers can be viewed on microfilm at the Society’s Family History Research Library (Ph 4474 3224) situated at the rear of the Museum in Campbell St. Moruya.

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The Moruya Museum houses a collection of furniture, books, artefacts and memorabilia that is intended to show visitors something of the lives of the ordinary people of this community from the middle of the nineteenth century. Most items on display were donated by local families. 

To explore the museum’s online collection click HERE.

Click to read a copy of the current museum brochure.

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