Surface Tension – WIWD March 1979, 1 to 9, 2019
Leafing through back copies of Illawarra Women’s Groups newsletters in the Local History archive of Wollongong City Libraries looking for images, information or leads about the first International Women’s Day March Wollongong I found an article in a 2004 edition of She Waves. This was a special IWD issue produced by the Wollongong Women’s Information Centre which carried a rare photograph of that first March in 1979. Originally, published with derisory comments about the march by Ichabod, a columnist with the newspaper. (Ichabod, is an Old Testament name which means ‘no glory’ it was also used by Washington Irving for the main character in his short story ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ (1820).) The same photograph was used twice by Ichabod, had the photographer taken more? The Illawarra Mercury photographic negative archive is held by Wollongong City Libraries, so soon I had the negatives of the unnamed photographer who had stood on the footpath in Crown Street watching the crowd of marchers heading to Rest Park. The negatives record a pleasing mix of women, men and children carrying banners, placards and handing out broadsheets. A week after the second column by Ichabod appeared in March 1979, the Mercury issued an apology and listed all the groups that been derided for joining Wollongong’s first International Women’s Day March. I hope the photographer and people who joined that 1979 March who are still living in the Illawarra will see these watercolours inspired by their IWD action.
Source Images: Illawarra Mercury photographic negative collection at Wollongong City Libraries
Documentation photography: Mike Oakey
Future Feminist Archive – LIVE! In Wollongong catalogue: Download as pdf
This Lobby fragment is from a large work exhibited in the foyer of the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, in collaboration with Ricky Subritzky. Fold, Lobby, Spin, an exhibition project shown across three venues in New York City in 2007 was created in response to International post 9/11 anti-war democracy rallies.
Documentation photography: Justine Cooper