Merle Thornton Books & Biography
Merle Thornton is one of Australia's most formidable and game-changing pioneering second-wave pioneering feminists – a woman who fairly much single-handedly helped bring about positive change for generations of Australian women. In her most audacious act, in 1965, she chained herself to the bar rail at the Regatta Hotel in Brisbane to protest against the law that excluded women from public bars in Queensland, bringing about the end of segregated drinking in that State. The protest is considered a pivotal moment for the progression of womens' rights in Australia, both for the change in law it brought about, and the public attention that was brought to the women's liberation movement as a result of the media coverage. After the Regatta protest, Merle formed the Equal Opportunities for Women Association, and as its president led a successful campaign to eliminate the marriage bar which had excluded married women from career public service in Australia.