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Mrs WA Holman1917

by John Samuel Watkins

Feminist Ada Kidgell was a versatile writer who contributed to various newspapers, as well as publishing children’s fiction and an autobiography.

Ada was well-informed on contemporary political issues. She rejected inequality in all forms, supported a republic, was a critic of the Constitution and opposed involvement in the South African war. In 1901 she married politician William Holman, Premier of NSW from 1913 to 1920. She continued her journalism but was frustrated by the restrictions on what she could publish. Her work often explored the tensions in a marriage when a wife is forced to suppress her interests.

In 1917 John Watkins completed this dramatic profile portrait. It shows Ada wearing a large black hat set at a fashionable angle over her rich auburn hair.