Alice Henry (1857-1943) wrote her first newspaper article in 1884 for the Australasian (the country paper associated with the Argus). She continued to write for both papers for the next twenty years. According to Patricia Clarke, she was the first woman to be hired and trained as a member of a newspaper staff in Australia (Clarke, 1988).
Henry wrote on a wide range of subjects but her passion was social change, particularly women’s rights. She used the pseudonyms Pomona (for her early writing on social functions, cooking and the like), Wyuna, and her brother’s initials A.L.F (when writing on labour and feminist issues). Most of her pieces for the Argus were on social issues and included such topics as coke as fuel, sawmilling, the care of children with disabilities, the juvenile courts, and labour reform.
Because the Argus was opposed to women’s suffrage, many of her articles advocating for it were published in the Champion. Her article describing the Juvenile Court set up in Adelaide in 1892 was reprinted in the London Times, while her eyewitness accounts of bushfires in Gippsland were published in the British Australasian (Clarke, 1988: 186)
Henry wrote two books, The Trade Union Woman (1915) and Women and the Labor Movement(1923). With Miles Franklin, she edited the Union Labor Advocate (1908-10), followed by Life and Labor (1911-15).
- “Brightening the Dull”, Argus, 27 May, 1899.
- “A Children’s Court of Justice”, Argus, 12 September, 1903.
- Clarke, Patricia, (1988) Pen Portraits: Women Writers and Journalists in Nineteenth Century Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney