Three early advocates for a more equal and fair city are being honoured by the City of Sydney, which will name three public spaces after them.

Newspaper owner and noted writer and publisher Louisa Lawson (1848–1920), also a leader for women’s suffrage, will have a public place – bound by Kent Street, Sussex Street and Napoleon Street – named in her honour. Lawson’s magazine, Dawn (started in 1888), employed 10 women and was at the forefront of covering women’s issues. It was also a platform for women to discuss, debate and gain experience in public speaking. In 1891 Lawson was elected to the Council of the Womanhood Suffrage League of NSW.

Social-reform campaigner Nita McCrae (1925–1995) will have a new pocket park named after her in Millers Point, where she lived. McCrae was a founding member of the Millers Point Resident Action Group, which campaigned against the state government’s scheme to relocate residents in a bid to redevelop The Rocks in the 1970s. McCrae is widely credited with saving The Rocks and the wider Millers Point area. Her actions have influenced urban design in Sydney. Lord Mayor Clover Moore describes McCrae as “an inspiring figure in the struggle to protect The Rocks.”

Frances Newton (born in 1865), an American pioneer for early-childhood education, will have a new park named in memory of her legacy at Palmer Street in Darlinghurst. The site sits in a former kindergarten and will provide a play space for local children as well as a community garden with open lawns and garden beds for growing produce. Newton was responsible for expanding free kindergartens in Sydney and served as principal of the Sydney Kindergarten Training College from 1902 to 1905.

“We are proud to honour three strong women who championed the rights of women, children and the most vulnerable in our communities,” Clover Moore has said in a statement.

“Each of these women had a vision of making Sydney and Australia a fairer and more equal society, and their hard work towards this goal continues to benefit our communities today.”