Sarah Jane (Jeanna) Young (née Foster) (1866–1955) was born in Adelaide and educated privately as a governess and piano teacher. Inspired by Catherine Helen Spence, Young became secretary of the Effective Voting League (1897), wrote and lectured on proportional representation and, with Spence, campaigned for eight weeks in Sydney to have the Hare-Spence voting system adopted in Federal elections. During the First World War threw herself into the work of patriotic organisations, alienating her husband. They separated in 1917 and before they reunited in 1932 she served many cultural and political organisations until near-blindness forced her retirement. Young stood unsuccessfully as an independent for both houses of parliament, was president of the Democratic Women’s Association (1937) and received an OBE in 1938. Her publications include Catherine Helen Spence (1937) and Proportional Representation in a Nutshell (1945).

By Dirk van Dissel

This entry was first published in The Wakefield companion to South Australian History edited by Wilfrid Prest, Kerrie Round and Carol Fort (Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2001). Edited lightly. Uploaded 25 August 2015.

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