The Women's Christian Temperance Union was started in Ohio and New York in 1873 when women became increasingly worried about the destructive effect alcohol was having on families.
The WCTU soon spread further afield, finally arriving in Tasmania in 1885 and continuing to this day.
The Temperance Union was a key figure in the Women's Suffrage movement, an Australia-wide campaign which fought for the right for women to vote in our country.
In 1902 women gained the vote in Federal elections and the right to stand for the Federal parliament.
Tasmanian women gained the right to vote in state elections in 1903, but not without a long-fought battle.
It was thought that through participation in politics women would have greater power in making change for their own welfare and that of their children.
In Launceston, the Temperance Union was very active and hosted the ninth Annual Convention at the Temperance Hall in York Street in 1901.
Grace Soltau, wife of a Baptist pastor and an advocate for children's welfare, was appointed one of the first vice presidents of the Launceston branch of the WCTU in April 1888 and president the following year.
She was elected president of the Tasmanian Union formed at a meeting in April 1892, where American Jessie Ackermann gave a powerful speech.
Grace was a prolific writer to the local newspapers about welfare and suffrage, and a co-founder of the first Rescue Home for women in Launceston at Hope Cottage in Anne Street.
Annie Blair was colonial president of the Temperance Union from 1894 to 1898 and Annie and her husband Robert lived in Launceston.
During Annie's leadership a petition for women's suffrage was circulated across Tasmania as the Union thrived and grew to over 300 members.
She also established Juvenile Temperance Leagues, with the Beaconsfield group the largest in the country.
A tour in 1896 undertaken by Jessie Rooke from Burnie and Georgina Kermode from Mona Vale, not only spread the word of women's suffrage but also collected thousands of signatures to petition parliament.
Jessie Rooke was elected president in 1898, and although based in Burnie, was highly active in Launceston and with other groups across the state.
Another leader who was extremely influential in gaining the vote for women was Ida McAulay.
Despite being based in Hobart, Ida travelled and spoke across the state, educating women on the benefits of enfranchisement.
She is known for her scathing letters to the editor, and her public opinions, including one where she states, "the most illiterate, ignorant and dull amongst men kind short of idiots are free to record their vote."
Although Jessie Rooke is often credited with gaining the vote for women, all women who supported enfranchisement could take credit for this.
It was not the work of one woman alone but a collaborative effort of many women across not only Tasmania, but Australia.