In memoriam: Women, war and communal lament

Document Type

Journal Article


Hecate Press

Place of Publication



Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Arts and Humanities




Originally published as: Murphy, F. (2015). In memoriam: Women, war and communal lament. Hecate: An interdisciplinary journal of women's liberation, 40(2), 103-122. Article available here.


[...]an order to be silent was issued by Australian authorities under the provisions of the Act to prevent Adela Pankhurst, Cecilia John and like-minded women from singing in public "I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier / I brought him up to be my pride and joy, / Who dares to place a musket on his shoulder / To shoot some other mother's darling boy" (Shute 29). In this paper, I investigate a site of memory and mourning outside Winter's purview-Australian newspaper In Memoriam notices-for here, in a written medium that was highly masculinised and focussed on the commerce of men, women situated far from the conflict found a place to grieve their losses in public.1 I have selected for focus the story of one mourner whose In Memoriam verses were published by the Argus, a Melbourne-based daily, though it is likely that among the major combatants "every family was in mourning: most for a relative ... others for a friend, a colleague, a lover, a companion" (Winter 2).