The Vashti Collective grew from the Women's Liberation Carlton group which first published the quarterly Vashti’s Voice around June 1972. The publication was named after the Persian queen who disobeyed her husband in the Old Testament book of Esther, In Spring 1976 the title changed to Vashti. Publication ceased after the Spring 1981 issue due to the diminished membership of the editing collective. A best of Vashti compilation was published as The Voices of Vashti Anthology, 1972-1981 in 1986.
Vashti’s Voice began when the Melbourne women’s movement was defining liberation and involved in pressing local issues. The Vashti’s Collective published women’s poetry and stories, articles on women in prison, the opening of the Melbourne Women’s Centre, equal pay, childcare, abortion law reform and consciousness raising. As debates within the movement changed and the diversity of women’s experiences came to the fore, the collective published on lesbian feminism.
In Vashti’s Voice and similar local and national publications, the shifting and contested journey of second wave feminism in Australia is evident. Within the Women’s Liberation movement women embraced activism and took to publishing in unprecedented numbers. In Melbourne, they produced periodicals such as Victorian Women's Liberation Newsletter, Scarlet Woman, Judy's Punch, Labrys, Lesbiana, Lesbian Network, and Lesbian News to name just a few.
As well as Vashti’s Voice, many of these publications are available from the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) within the Victorian Women's Liberation and Lesbian Feminist Archives Collection (VWLLFA) deposited in 2000. The records of the Vashti Collective are collection No.37 of the VWLLFA, and Reference Number 2000.0220 within UMA.
The Papers of the Vashti Collective can only be access by University of Melbourne Staff and Students.
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