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Memento : Issue 26
Our Uncommon Lives website invites visitors to become archival detectives, and to follow the trail of records on the lives of some extraordinary Australians. The first ‘uncommon life’ featured on the website was Wolf Klaphake, a German inventor who was interned for many years in Australia during World War II. The most recent addition is Jessie Street, a human rights activist whose political life is well documented in our collection. Human rights activist in ASIO files Every Australian has dealings with governments, but Jessie Street had more than most. As a leading figure in national and international women’s organisations from the 1920s, Jessie Street lobbied prime ministers, ministers and departmental officials. In the 1940s she held several positions on government bodies, and was the only woman in Australia’s delegation to the 1945 conference to found the United Nations. Her role in the 1967 referendum made her the first, and so far the only, woman to initiate constitutional change in Australia. A far from common life TRACING A LIFE STORY through archival records can often be like detective work – searching for clues and following leads. 1 MEMENTO News from the National Archives