Women's Groups 2013

The groups listed below have all existed in Western Australia at some stage over the last 120 years. Many of them are still very active and continue to provide an extremely valuable service to women in the community.

If you, or someone you know, have been involved with any of these groups – even in a minor way – please help us to fill in the missing information. Please go to the Nomination Form and complete any details you might know about the group – when it started, when it ceased, why the group was established etc – anything at all. This will be used to update the Hall of Fame.


Abortion Law Repeal Association/Association for the Legal Right to Abortion (ALRA)

Purpose of the group

The group was established to lobby for the repeal of abortion laws in Western Australia. In 1967, the UK passed historic legislation that made abortion legal in certain circumstances. In 1968, a reform bill similchrar to the UK legislation was introduced into WA Parliament but was defeated. The ALRA was established in WA soon after with considerable public support.

When feminists joined the ALRA in the early-to-mid-1970s the emphasis shifted to women’s reproductive rights. ALRA members lobbied politicians through letter writing campaigns and responded to many requests to speak at schools, colleges and clubs. As early as 1981, the group tried to raise awareness about female genital mutilation practices around the world.

The ALRA also established a phone information service in 1971, initially in the homes of volunteer counsellors. Later, the Abortion Information Service was separated from the ALRA and transferred to the Family Planning Association (FPWA) in 1989. Since then, there have been continuing links between the FPWA and ALRA.

More recently, the ALRA lobbied Sensis (White and Yellow Pages) to clarify its listings for pregnancy counselling services because many women unknowingly contacted anti-abortion agencies.

Also in recent years, ALRA members lobbied to change laws to allow RU486 (medical abortion drug mifepristone) to be made available under the Therapeutic Goods Administration instead of requiring the Federal Health Minister’s consent.

Time period

The ALRA was established in 1967 and ceased in 2008. The organisation changed its name in early 1989 from the Abortion Law Repeal Association Inc to the Association for the Legal Right to Abortion. An increasing number of people thought abortion was already legal because of its ready availability at two clinics and King Edward Memorial Hospital. This caused confusion about what the ALRA stood for—some believed the group wanted to repeal the laws that allowed abortion.

Key achievements

The primary aim of the group was achieved on 26 May 1998 when the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998 was eventually passed after two months of active public debate and numerous amendments to the original proposal. This Act amended the Health Act 1911 and The Criminal Code to make it lawful for a medical practitioner to perform an abortion as long as the women concerned had given ‘informed consent’. The ALRA played an important role in the law reform process.

An early ALRA achievement was establishing a counselling service to advise women on abortion options. The ALRA also published a book that became known as ‘The Yellow Book’ after it was distributed to all WA high schools and universities. Many orders from overseas were also received. A newsletter was published several times a year and brochures were distributed widely.

In 1994, members Linda Savage-Davis and Terri-Ann White invited women to share their memories for the book ‘Stories of our lives—women’s experiences of abortion’. Funded by the Megan Sassi bequest, it records the trials and pain women endured and has left a valuable reminder of how women suffer when they don’t have access to legal abortion.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Denise and Ralph White, Henny and John Newmeyer and Liz Smith were founders (a handful of men were ALRA members).
  • Presidents included Robyn Murphy (1990–1994) and Margot Boetcher (1995–2008).
  • David Anderson was vice-president and Dorothy Anderson was treasurer (2008).
  • Ruth Greble held various positions including vice-president while Barbara Buick held various positions.
  • Other significant members included Megan Sassi, Diana Warnock, Judy Straton, Cheryl Davenport, Janet Pine, Sandra Roe, Mary Gadsden, Dorothy Anderson, Judith Cross, Anthea Taylor, Ann Taylor and Cait Calcutt.

Sources

  • Information provided by Yvonne Henderson and Margot Boetcher.
  • Boetcher, Margot. 2008. Unpublished speech to FPWA in October 2008. (ALRA and abortion in Western Australia).
 

AMERICAN WOMEN'S CLUB OF PERTH (AWC)

Purpose of the group

The AWC is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting friendships between American and other women through social, recreational, cultural and philanthropic activities. It is a non-political voluntary organisation with a focus on friendship and service. The AWC is part of the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO), an international network of independent clubs and associations with a combined membership of nearly 18,000 in 37 across countries. The AWC’s aim is to help bridge the cultural gap for American women living in Australia, although members from all parts of the world are welcome. Social activities include tennis, golf, bible study, a book club and games, as well as a weekly mothers and toddlers group, golden girls group and regular movie club.

Time Period

The AWC of Perth was founded in 1968. FAWCO was founded in London in 1931.

Key Achievements

The AWC raises funds to donate supplies to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and donates to other organisations, such as the Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. The AWC also participates in the Cancer Council's annual Relay for Life.

Key people and positions in the group

• Recent executive members include Lisa Posell, Tory Manning, Gillian Yudelman, Jimmie-Lyn Linkston, Audrey Ciccone, Becca Osborn, Suzie Cotton, Gail Campbell and Kath Balfour.

Sources

• Website: http://www.awcperth.org.


ARTEMIS

Purpose of the group

Initially known as the Women’s Arts Forum, Artemis had the aim of raising the status of women in the arts and was established as a forum for women artists, art teachers, critics and writers.

The group fostered discussion and interest in the practice and ideas of women’s art, promoted community awareness of women’s contribution to the arts and supported women working in the arts. It also set up independent feminist criticism to address perceived inequalities in WA’s arts establishments. Artemis sought to activate critical appraisal of a patriarchal culture—and its effects on art history, practice and theory—to redefine women’s art practice in a female image. One of the group’s aims was to produce art by women, instead of art about women. Meetings were held in the Hotel Northbridge’s Blue Room and later at the Perth Cultural Centre’s Artshouse. This area included an exhibition space for artists’ work. Childcare was also provided for meetings.

Time Period

Artemis was established in 1985 and disbanded in 1990 after funding was discontinued.

Key achievements

Many exhibitions and shows were held by Artemis members including the touring ‘double exposure’ exhibition, ‘anything goes women show’, a poster project and numerous solo and group exhibitions and workshops. The Artemis exhibition ‘no second thoughts’ was part of the 1988 Festival of Perth. In 1987, Artemis held the two-day ‘look who’s talking’ forum to celebrate the work and ideas of women artists and actively engage the public with the group’s aims and objectives.

Key people and positions in the group

• Rosalind Paterson Drake-Brockman and Sue Standen applied for and received the initial Artemis funding. • Committee members included Cate Smith, Peta Zilka, Kim Lambert, Barbara Lazar, Patricia Manger-Dorst, Penny Bovell, Stephanie Dimmock, Anne Jeppe, Kath Letch, Kerry Stokes, Terri-Ann White, Pam Kleemann, Thyrza Callard, Jo Darbyshire, Michelle Elliot, Joanne Purser, Linda Rawlings and Jacquie Reid. • Cate Smith and Pam Kleemann were also employed as arts resource officers.

Sources

• The Australian Women’s Register: Artemis http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0800b.htm. • The State Library of WA holds a collection covering the full period of the group’s activity from 1986 to 1990 (call number ACC 4476A).
ASSOCIATION OF CIVILIAN WIDOWS OF WA INC

Purpose of the group

The Association of Civilian Widows of WA is a non-party political and non-sectarian group that aims to promote the interests of widows and their children. It also engages in welfare work for its members and holds fundraising and social meetings. Camps are held for the children of widows and social events are held for members. A newsletter is produced for members of the group and includes stories, tips and recipes.

The group’s motto is ‘friendship and service’ and the prayer on the newsletter’s cover is:

  • O God of all being
  • Grant us the understanding
  • To comfort in sorrow
  • To befriend in loneliness
  • To assist in adversity
  • The widowed and fatherless
  • By friendship and service

Time period

The group has existed since the 1950s and continues to operate.

Key achievements

The Association of Civilian Widows of WA has current and former branches in Girrawheen, Midland, Mount Barker, Perth, Scarborough, Dongara, Eastern Goldfields, Fremantle, Geraldton, Albany and Bunbury.

Key people and positions in the group

• State presidents have included Mrs Jan Embrey, Mavis Vigus, and Mrs D. Anderson.

Sources

• Collection of material relating to the Association of Civilian Widows. Available at the State Library of WA, detailed listing available (call number PR10826). • The Australian Women’s Register: http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0711b.htm.


Australian College of Midwives WA Branch (ACM)

Purpose of the group

The WA Branch of the Australian College of Midwives is the peak professional body for midwives in WA. The WA branch seeks to inform and influence issues important to WA midwives and women.

Time period

Since 1983.

Key achievements

Informing maternity reforms in WA and promoting and advocating choice for women.

Promoting continuity of care with a known midwife through pregnancy, labour and birth and the postnatal period.

Working towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 3, 4, 5 and 6 as part of an international campaign–the world needs midwives now more than ever.

The development of a manifesto for politicians standing for election in WA endorsing support for student and graduate midwives, continuity of care for women and birth choices for women outside a medical model.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Terri Barrett – President
  • Pauline Costins - Vice president
  • Natalie Firth – Treasurer
  • Louise Keyes - National Director

The group has representation from the Health Department of WA, universities, consumers, students, private practice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community midwifery.

Sources

Information provided by Tracy Martin.


Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA)

Purpose of the group

ALGWA was founded to encourage and support women to become involved in local government as staff and elected members. The association helps to further women’s knowledge, understanding and participation in the function of local government.

The WA branch aims to improve diversity in community decision-making by encouraging and supporting women in—and into—local government. Members are given opportunities to network, learn new skills and find support from other people in the industry. The group also hopes to increase the number of women in elected and executive positions.

Time period

ALGWA was created as a national Association in 1951 during the Jubilee Year of the Commonwealth of Australia. After the first national convention was held in Canberra in October 1966, a national board was elected and a constitution drawn up. On International Women’s Day 2002, Cr Marion Blair hosted a seminar for women in local government at the City of Belmont. This led to a commitment to establishing a WA branch of ALGWA, which still exists today.

Key achievements

WALGA has developed a qualification, a diploma in local government, to specifically meet the needs of elected members. Mentor Net is a database that puts women in touch with people who have offered to provide mentoring at all levels of local government. Regular networking events are also held.

Key people and positions in the group

Marion Blair was the association’s inaugural chairperson and first president.

Sources

  • Website: http://www.algwawa.asn.au
  • Information provided by Elizabeth Re.

Beta Sigma Phi

Purpose of the group

Beta Sigma Phi is an international women’s organisation with an interest in the arts and current affairs, fostering friendship and giving service to the community. The group is non-political and non-denominational. Beta, sigma and phi are the first letters of Greek words meaning ‘life, learning and friendship’ respectively.

The group aims to promote cultural awareness among its members, develop a spirit of friendship locally, interstate and internationally and contribute to and serve the community.

Time period

The organisation was founded in the United States in 1931. It began in Australia in 1957 and has had several chapters in Perth. Each chapter controls its own affairs according to the constitution.

Key achievements

Each chapter contributes to a community project, either through financial assistance or personal service. Members enjoy regular social activity within their chapter and with other chapters.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

Leaflet available at the State Library of WA (call number PR15686).


Business and Professional Women Western Australia (BPW)

Purpose of the group

BPW’s mission is to support and actively promote personal development, provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and experience. It also aims to empower women to lobby for issues affecting women, with a focus on work. BPW lobbies business and government at all levels, including at the United Nations where Special Category Status is held. Members regularly attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. In Western Australia, clubs in metropolitan and regional areas provide members with support, mentoring, networking opportunities and regular meetings with guest speakers and workshops to advance knowledge and skills.

BPW aims to unite business and professional women to:

  • work for women’s economic independence, equal opportunity and representation in economic, civil and political life
  • encourage and support women and girls to develop their professional and leadership potential and undertake lifelong education and training using their abilities for the benefit of others, locally, nationally and internationally
  • advocate for the elimination of all discrimination against women and for human rights and the use of gender-sensitive perspectives
  • undertake worldwide networking and cooperation between business and professional women
  • undertake non-profit projects that help women gain economic independence
  • present the views of business and professional women to international organisations and agencies, business, governments and civil society.

Early members included lawyers, academics, teachers, nurses, business owners and other professionals. Today women can join BPW as individuals, corporate members or student members. There is also a Young BPW for women under 35.

Time period

BPW International was formed in 1919 and BPW Perth was founded in 1946. The first Australian BPW club was in Melbourne in 1925. In 1947, an Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs was formed.

Key achievements

Campaigns undertaken by BPW include ‘say no to domestic violence’ and ‘equal pay day’ which raises awareness about the gender pay gap between male and female wages. BPW undertakes lobbying on many issues including flexible employment, paid parental leave, sexual exploitation and tax issues for women.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Clara Behrend—founder
  • Margaret Battye—inaugural president
  • Jean Randell – international representative
  • Jasmyn Mumme—current president (2013).

Sources

  • Website: http://www.bpw.com.au/clubs/wa
  • Information provided by Jasmyn Mumme.

Catholic Women’s League of Western Australia (Inc)

Purpose of the group

The league was established to enable women to participate more effectively in working for and building the Kingdom of God. The aim is to promote the spiritual, cultural, intellectual and social development of women and to provide them with a forum to do this.

Other goals include:

  • Upholding the dignity of women and promoting their participation in social and public life
  • Promoting the specific role of lay-women in the church’s mission
  • Fostering and supporting the vocation of Christian marriage and family life
  • Promoting and supporting vocations to the priestly and religious life
  • Promoting the right, and facilitating the duty, of Catholic women to acquire knowledge of Christian teaching
  • Promoting the teaching of Christ and his church:
  • concerning the dignity and freedom of the human person and unity and stability of the family and its rights and duties
  • through the promotion of social justice and the ordering of temporal affairs according to God’s plan
  • Fostering ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.

Time period

The first meeting of the Catholic Women’s League was held on 25 May 1937. It was registered as a corporate body on 23 August the same year. The organisation celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012.

Key achievements

Charitable works with St Vincent de Paul, Legion of Mary, Red Cross, Catherine McAuley Child Care Centre, Ngala, Perth Public Hospital, Catholic Ball, Tardun Agricultural School and Wooroloo Sanitarium during the league’s early years.

Group members also took an interest in prison mission, the care of orphan girls and patients from institutes for the mentally ill and visiting the visually-impaired at Victoria Park, plus other hospitals.

Examples of material and financial support from branches over the past few years has been for pregnancy help in Perth and Bunbury, Ruah (toiletries and other essentials for women leaving prison), The Shopfront in Maylands to provide meals and other support for the homeless, winter clothes for refugees in Northam’s Yongah Hill Detention Immigration Centre, St Vincent de Paul back-to-school materials, Bandyup Prison Outcare (Christmas gifts for children of inmates), support for chaplains in State schools and ongoing support for Linda’s House of Hope, which helps women wanting to leave the world of prostitution.

During 2012, CWLWA’s 75th anniversary year, the organisation funded a scholarship for a female student from the University of Notre Dame Australia.

Key people and positions in the group

  • First elected office bearers: Mrs JP Maxwell (president), Mrs T. Ahern (vice-president), Miss E. Furse (secretary), Miss A. Coffey (press secretary), Mrs M.Eustace (minutes secretary), Mrs A. Davies (treasurer).
  • State presidents: Mrs JP Maxwell (1937–1952), Mrs K. Child (1953–1957), Mrs D. Ridge (1957–1958), Mrs E. Jolley (1958–1963), Mrs F. Balmer (1963–1968), Mrs C. Downey (1968–1973), Miss E. Palandri (1973–1975), Mrs C. Downey (1975–1980), Mrs M. Indemaur (1980–1983), Mrs A. Gee (1983–1989), Mrs J. Quinlan (1989–1994), Anne Power (1995–1997), Joan Quinlan (1998–2001), Dorothy Beyer (2002–2005), Karyn Kammann (2006–2007), Georgie Bruce-Smith (2008–2009), Jeanine Dowse (2009–2010), Karyn Kammann (2011–2013).

Sources

  • A History of the Catholic Women’s League of WA (Inc.) 1937–1987, 50 Years of Charity Work and Loyalty. (Sister) Mary Albertus Bain OP.
  • Information provided by Karyn Kammann.

Chrysalis House Women's Refuge

Purpose of the group

Chrysalis Support Services Inc was created in 2003 with the amalgamation of the Geraldton Sexual Assault Resource Centre, The Wonthella Women's Refuge and the Domestic Violence Advocacy and Support Service.

Chrysalis Support Services Inc. Provides counselling, knowledge and support to empower individuals who are suffering the effects of family and domestic violence and recent or past sexual assault, to make healthy lifestyle changes free of abuse and encourage healthy and sustainable relationships.

Chrysalis promotes community acceptance of non-violence and community education against the myths of sexual assault and family violence. They uphold and advocate for the rights of the individual, and the community, to live free from fear, violence and abuse.

Chrysalis Support Services is the key leading agency in the Midwest with domestic violence and sexual assault. They provide professional and confidential counselling, advocacy and support to empower individuals, who are suffering the effects of family and domestic violence and recent or past sexual assault.

Chrysalis House (refuge) provides safe supported accommodation for women who are escaping family or domestic violence or are at risk of being homeless as a result of a crisis.

Chrysalis Community Educators  deliver a range of education programs that promote respectful relationships and address issues associated with the harmful effects of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Time period

Geraldton Sexual Assault Resource Centre was founded in 1985 and this was one of the organisations that was amalgamated to form Chrysalis in 2003.

Key achievements

Maintaining ongoing services for the women of the Midwest.

Key people and positions in the group

Elizabeth Bettridge, CEO

Sources

Information provided by Elizabeth Bettridge

Website: http://chrysalis.org.au


Cine-Matrix: Women in Film and Television WA

Purpose of the group

Cine-Matrix was a dynamic group of Perth women with the goal of having a presence in the film industry.

Its objectives were to act as an information and resource centre for women involved or interested in film and television and to facilitate and organise teaching film and TV skills to women—with a priority on utilising women’s skills.

Cine-Matrix also acted as a lobby group for furthering women in the industry, promoted screening and dialogue on film, supported women scriptwriters and helped women obtain funds for film and television projects.

Time period

Cine-Matrix was formed in the mid-1980s.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

Coordinator Heather Williams.

Sources

  • Collection of material relating to Cine-Matrix. Held at State Library of WA, detailed listing available (call number PR14339).
  • Women’s Collective, Sibyl. Perth, WA. Issues from 1974–1983 available from State Library of WA (call number 301.412 SIB).

Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp

Purpose of the group

This was a short-term group that involved a national peace convoy of women from all over Australia who congregated in a camp at Cockburn Sound, just south of Perth. The organising group was called Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND), which was later known as Women for Survival. The purpose of the protest camp was to oppose the US naval base, just offshore on Garden Island, and the servicing of nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed ships and submarines on the island. While an anti-nuclear protest, it was a feminist women-only campaign that specifically identified nuclear weapons and facilities as being a male extension of patriarchy, dismissing the voice and concerns of women advocating for the welfare of the planet and its people.

Women also opposed the use of local Fremantle women as ‘sexual bait’ and entertainment for visiting sailors and the impact it had on all women in the area. The philosophical motives and operational manner of the camp and protest were radically feminist in nature. Local newspapers and media were not sympathetic: articles from The West Australian, The Sun, Daily News and The Advertiser gave a large amount of coverage, rarely in favour of the protest. The camp was organised by a feminist collective but media spokeswomen are identified in the newspaper articles. About 150 women were arrested and charged at the protest.

An innovative ‘peace train’ was organised with the railways and unions to bring women from the eastern states to the camp and protest. But costs became a burden and it was transformed into a road train with several buses travelling together, although this proved impossible to coordinate. The memory and ideals of the peace train remain in posters and newsletter images, testament to its ingenuity.

Time period

1–15 December 1984.

Key achievements

Raising awareness about the issue of nuclear weapons and vessels in local waters. WAND also support a women-only peace camp at the Pine Gap military installation in the Northern Territory.

Key people and positions in the group

Not provided.

Sources

  • Information provided by Georgi Stone and Suellen Murray.
  • The Australian Women’s Register: http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/PR00100b.htm.

Combined Equal Pay Committee/WA Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity

Purpose of the group

Originally known as the Combined Equal Pay Committee, the organisation later changed its name to the WA Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity. It was formed to lobby for equal pay for female workers and campaigned for 16 years for justice for women.

The effectiveness of the campaign can be attributed to the wide ranging representation of affiliated groups, which included women’s organisations, trade unions and representatives from across the political spectrum. The organisation dissolved in 1973 when discriminatory clauses were removed from State legislation and the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission decided in favour of equal pay.

The group had many affiliated organisations, including:

  • Royal Australian Nursing Federation
  • Civil Service Association of WA
  • Union of Australian Women
  • Hospital Salaried Officers’ Association Union of Workers
  • State School Teachers Union
  • Women’s Service Guild of WA
  • Business and Professional Women’s Club Perth
  • Soroptimists
  • State Women’s Council, Liberal and Country League
  • YWCA
  • Hotel Club Caterers' Tearoom and Restaurant Employees’ Union
  • Federated Clerical Public Service Assistants’ Association.

Time period

Founded in 1958 as the Combined Equal Pay Committee and renamed WA Council of Equal Pay and Opportunity in 1962. The group ceased in 1973.

Key achievements

After 16 years of campaigning, legislation was finally enacted to remove discriminatory clauses from State legislation and a climate favourable towards equal pay for female workers had developed.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Irene Greenwood
  • Joan Williams

Sources

  • Speed, Sally. 1982. Perth Women’s Liberation and WEL 1972–73. Available from State Library of WA (call number Q305.42 SPE).
  • Joan Williams Papers 1934–1999. Available from State Library of WA (call number ACC 5425A).

Community Midwifery WA

Purpose of the group

To ensure all women and their families are well-informed, well-prepared and well supported for pregnancy birth and early parenting.

Time period

From 1996 and ongoing.

Key achievements

Developing the Community Midwifery Program - a free homebirth service for women (now a WA Health service).

Running a pregnancy education project for refugee and migrant women since 2007 (featured in Lotterywest CHOGM 2012 ads).

Developing Mother Nurture groups from 2009 for women struggling with the demands of early parenting.

Systemic advocacy on key state and national maternity committees since 1996.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Pip Brennan, Manager
  • Ruth McIntosh, Childbirth Education Co-ordinator
  • Felicity Kostera, Refugee Migrant Program
  • Adele James and Sue Coleson, Mother Nurture program

Sources

Information provided by Pip Brennan


Country Women’s Association (CWA)

Purpose of the group

The Country Women’s Association is a non-party political, non-sectarian and not-for-profit organisation. The CWA’s aim has remained the same since it began: to improve the wellbeing of all people, especially those in country areas, by promoting courtesy, cooperation, community effort, ethical standards and wise resource use. It was formed to meet the needs of the time—to help women in isolated rural communities and provide a voice to government, seeking solutions to difficulties faced by families in those areas.

When the CWA was first established in Western Australia, its first goal was to provide travelling dental clinics and maternity wards in country hospitals. The first CWA restroom opened in 1925. Rest rooms provided a home for the branch and were used for many activities. Particularly in small communities, rest rooms became a hub with many still used today.

The CWA motto is:
Honour to God,
Loyalty to the throne and Empire,
Service to the country through
Country women, for country women,
By country women.

Time period

The CWA originated in Canada in 1897. In October 1923, the National Council of Women in Western Australia called a meeting of interested country women at the Karrakatta Club. The first West Australian CWA branch was established at Nungarin in 1924, followed by other early branches such as Bolgart Metropolitan and Benjaberring.

Key achievements

The first CWA conference in WA was convened in March 1925. The first CWA holiday home was established at Cottesloe in 1929 with many more built since.

The CWA cookery book is renowned for its recipes and household tips. First published in 1936, it is still available from the CWA along with a range of other merchandise.

CWA hostels were established in 1939 to provide accommodation for country students to attend high schools. Bursaries for secondary students have been provided by CWA since 1992.

Holiday homes and retirement units are managed by local branches and provide accommodation for rent by members or non-members.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Lady Campion—first patroness of CWA of WA.
  • Mrs Craven-Griffiths—first state president.
  • Mrs Beryl Fisher—second state president.
  • Other presidents—Mrs Burt, Mrs Hearman, Mrs Craig, Mrs Williams and Mrs Dempster.
  • Treasurers—Mrs Niblock, Mrs Kinsella and Mrs Frost.

Sources

  • Website: http://www.cwaofwa.asn.au/history.html
  • Country Women’s Association. Silver years in the Golden West: 1924–1949. State Library of WA (call number 366.009 SIL).

Domestic Violence Action Group (Geraldton)

Purpose of the group

The Domestic Violence Action Group (Geraldton) aimed to provide counselling and support for victims of domestic violence and establish links with other government and non-government organisations.

Time period

The group started in 1989 and has since been incorporated into the women’s refuge.

Key achievements

Not given.

Key people and positions in the group

Not given.

Sources

Information provided by Margo Boetcher.


Emily’s List

Purpose of the group

Emily’s List is a national financial, political and personal support program for progressive Labor women candidates and members of parliament. Members of Emily’s List are guided by the principles of equity, diversity, equal pay and pro-choice. The organisation provides mentoring and guidance for women candidates and is the only network of its kind in Australian politics. Emily’s List Australia was established by a passionate and committed group of women, many of whom are current and past Australian leaders. Emily’s List expects the women it supports to enter Parliament will advocate for change benefiting women once they are elected.

Time period

Emily’s List originated in the United States and the Australian group was established in 1996. It continues to support women who aspire to make a difference in legislative terms.

Key achievements

A total of 142 Emily’s List women have been elected to Australian parliaments. Another 151 women were preselected in marginal or unwinnable (safe Liberal or National party) seats. Emily’s List helped and supported five indigenous women who were elected to parliament, including Carol Martin in Western Australia. She was the first indigenous woman to enter WA Parliament.

Emily’s List monitored the Australian Labor Party implementation of the Affirmative Action Rule to ensure the target of women candidates in 35 per cent of winnable seats was reached by 2002. The group also campaigned (unsuccessfully) to lift the target to 50 per cent.

Key people and positions in the group

Inaugural national convenors were Joan Kirner and Helen Creed.

Cheryl Davenport later took over from Helen Creed as convenor.

Recent convenors include Louise Pratt and Janine Freeman.

Sources

  • Information provided by Yvonne Henderson, Val Marsden and Helen Creed.
  • Website: http://www.emilyslist.org.au.

Equal Opportunity Law Reform Coalition

Purpose of the group

To examine anti-discrimination laws from other countries, develop draft equal opportunity legislation for WA and lobby to have the legislation adopted.

Time period

Established about 1975 and no longer in existence.

Key achievements

The group was instrumental in passing the Equal Opportunity Act 1984.

Key people and positions in the group

Brenda Robbins, Wendy Fatin, Marion Aveling, Pat Giles and Penelope Giles.

Sources

Information provided by Yvonne Henderson.


Fremantle Women’s Health Centre (FWHC)

Purpose of the group

To improve women’s health and wellbeing in the south west metropolitan region by providing high quality, holistic and tailored prevention and primary health care, prioritising the needs of women with the highest risk of poor health. FWHC is an incorporated, not-for-profit, charitable, community health facility governed by a voluntary community-based board and managed by a salaried director.

Services are based on a social model of health, acknowledging health is determined by a broad range of social, environmental, economic and biological factors. The centre recognises differences in health status and outcomes are linked to gender, age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, disability and location.

FWHC is dedicated to women-centred care that aims to provide a safe environment where women can access a variety of health care and health education options. The centre respects individuality and encourages women to become equal and active partners in their health care.

FWHC is committed to providing high quality, professional, friendly, affordable and accessible health services to women living and working in the south west metropolitan region. The centre aims to ensure services and facilities are inclusive of all women regardless of age, ability, religion, culture, sexuality or socio-economic circumstances. It helps with community needs and provides clinical, preventive and health promotional responses.

Time period

Originally established as the Multicultural Women’s Health Centre in September 1985. The name was changed in 1995 to Fremantle Women’s Health Centre in 1995 and operations continue to the current day.

Key achievements

FWHC provides a range of diverse clinical, preventive and health promotion services in the area of women’s health. These include medical, nursing, physiotherapy, counselling, health education and group activities with a crèche facility for some appointments and groups.

Key people and positions in the group

As of 2012, Diane Snooks was current director and Deirdre Timms current chairperson.

Sources

  • Website: www.fwhc.org.au.
  • Information provided by Diane Snooks.

Girl Guides WA

Purpose of the group

Girl Guides WA is part of Girl Guides Australia, a member country of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

From the beginning, the group was intended to empower girls. The mission statement is to enable girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members.

Time period

Established in 1910, Girl Guides has spread worldwide to 144 member countries. In WA, it was established in June 1915 and continues to operate.

Key achievements

‘Be prepared’ (in all contingencies) and doing ‘a good deed’ are basic to guiding. A good deed also translates as service. From a WA standpoint, guiding has an outstanding record of service including contributing to the World War II effort, collecting silver paper and contributing money for the Guide of Dunkirk—a small vessel that plied between Dunkirk and the UK in that time of need.

Kath Baird, Florence Couper, Des Cohen and Pat Richards (Knight) were four young WA leaders trained rigorously to be accepted for GIS (Guide International Service) towards the end of World War II. Three women went to Europe and one to Malaysia, working with the army to re-locate displaced persons. Monetary collections have supported worldwide need in disadvantaged countries and closer to home during times of disaster.

Radio Lollipop was started in 1985 by Girl Guide State Commissioner Pat Goodheart, based on a similar service project in the UK. It was initially located at Princess Margaret Hospital for young patients and has since expanded to other hospitals.

The Aboriginal Outreach Program worked with children in centres across the State from 1972–1989. A small Commonwealth grant was used to create a modified form of guiding for groups of Aboriginal girls. Starting in Geraldton, day camps were held during school holidays with help from local government authorities. Others locations included Moora, Gnowangerup, Bunbury, Carnarvon, Port Hedland, Yandiyarra Station, Hilton, Coolbellup, Girrawheen, Koondoola and Belmont.

Life-skills, such as home-making and personal grooming, were learnt by these children are part of the guiding program. The adage that influenced management style was ‘Do not walk in front of me, I may not wish to follow. Do not walk in front of me, I may not wish to lead. Walk beside me’.

Outreach in the 1980s, distinct from the Aboriginal Outreach Program, helped refugee children from countries such as Chile, Vietnam, Kampuchea and Poland settle into their new Australian home.

Programs for Jewish, Muslim and Polish girl have also been successful.

Girl Guide camp sites at Fairwinds City Beach, Seaward Swanbourne, Paxwold Lesmurdie and May Yates Busselton have provided an array of outdoor activities, lasting friendships and memories.

Guides have been animal handlers at the Perth Royal Show for more than 20 years and have staffed the Yellow Brick Road, a suggested route to take around the venue during the show.

All girl guides are involved in service through their unit or as individuals. Their awards are earned on the basis of individual service.

Key people and positions in the group

  • WA Governor Sir Harry Barron was strongly supportive from the group’s inception.
  • Each Governor’s wife is president of Girl Guides WA.
  • Significant people have included Dame Edith Cowan, Lady Bridget Lee Steere and successive State Commissioners.

Sources

  • Guiding in WA, comp Winifred Wilson. Paterson Brokensha Pty Ltd. Perth. No date given.
  • Miller, Joy. Promises Made and Promises Kept. A History of Guiding in Western Australia. Guides Western Australia, Perth, 2000.
  • Information provided by Margaret Luckett.

Graduate Women Western Australia (GWWA)/Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW) Western Australia

Purpose of the group

GWWA is a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation of women graduates wanting to serve and empower women and girls through education and advocacy at a local, national and international level. The group welcomes all women with an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) from a university or institute of higher education. Degrees from across the world are recognised.

Formerly known as the Australian Federation of University Women WA Inc (AFUW), the organisation started in 1923 with Dr Roberta Jull as first president. According to its 1965 constitution, the association’s objectives were to act as an organisation that provided the chance for opinions to be expressed and for concerted action by university women in matters of common interest. AFUW also sought to cooperate with the International Federation of University Women for the promotion of scholarship, understanding and friendship among university women of the world without racial, religious or political discrimination.

Meetings were partly social while study groups were also established to prepare background material for discussion at AFUW national conferences.

Time period

The AFUW was formally established at the inaugural conference in Sydney in September 1922. In WA, the AFUW was established in 1923 when the first national president, Ms Frances Thorn, contacted Dr Roberta Jull in Perth to suggest a WA branch.

The inaugural meeting was held on 22 June 1923 in the University of WA physics lecture room—30 women attended. A Bunbury branch formed in 1947 and continued until the late 1970s. Branches also existed in Kalgoorlie and Northam in the late 1940s and 1950s. The AFUW became incorporated in WA on 2 October 1972. In December 2009, the AFUW changed its name to the Australian Federation of Graduate Women Inc to better represent the organisation’s broadening membership parameters.

Key achievements

In 1927, an AFUW meeting in WA committed to establishing a women’s college and established a committee with representatives from other women’s organisations, such as the Karrakatta Club and National Council of Women. Fundraising activities were consistent, even through World II, and a residential college for women was established in temporary accommodation in 1946. St Catherine’s College at UWA was officially opened in July 1960. Once the college was established, AFUW’s focus became the manufacture and hire of graduation regalia. This became a principal source of revenue. GWWA provides opportunities for education through scholarships, bursaries and grants awarded annually. The group fundraises with hire of academic dress hire and other initiatives, largely run on a volunteer basis. GWWA actively advocates on women’s issues, especially the lifelong education of women and girls, improved status of women and human rights. Members join with other like-minded women in activities at local, national and international levels in fundraising, providing scholarships, and also setting up projects and initiatives to help women and girls in all parts of the world.

The WA branch hosted an international conference on behalf of the International Federation of University Women in Perth in 2004.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Dr Roberta Jull was the first WA president in WA and Mrs Euphemia Ross was the first vice-president. Dr Jull was also national president from 1926–1928.
  • Mrs Dorothy Forsaith was a WA president and a national vice-president. She was the first woman from the southern hemisphere to be elected to the AFUW Board of Officers.
  • GWWA has a committee of about 12 members, which includes a president, two vice-presidents, secretary, treasurer, assistant treasurer, newsletter editor and five general committee members.
  • The current president as of 2012 is Ms Felicity Farrelly. GWWA members are automatically part of the national Australian Federation of Graduate Women and the International Federation of University Women.

Sources

  • JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia: Records related to the Australian Federation of University Women (1923–1973) Records including constitutions 1950 and 1965, minutes 1923–1972, correspondence 1958–1969, cash books 1923–1972, membership 1933–1980, history, reports and other items; also material relating to the Australian Federation of University Women and the International Federation of University Women.
  • Nash, Heather. 1985. By Degrees… A history of Australian Federation of University Women 1922–1985. Australian Federation of University Women. Available from State Library of Western Australia.
  • Woods, Mary V. And Bisset, Winfred W. 1973. The History of the Western Australian Association of University Women: 1923¬–1973.
  • A history of the organisation from 1973–2013 is due for completion in 2013.
  • Information provided by Karen Bothwell.

Grapevine/Perth Wimmin’s Collective/h5>

Purpose of the group

Grapevine was a monthly newsletter produced by the Perth Wimmin’s Collective. Some issues of the newsletter were called The Grapes.

Time period

Grapevine started about late 1980 and continued until October 1985 when the publication ceased.

Key achievements

Not given.

Key people and positions in the group

Not given.

Sources

  • Information provided by Rona Chadwick and Suellen Murray.
  • Perth Wimmin’s Collective. The Grapevine. Issue 17–282 available at State Library of WA (call number Q 305.48GRA).

Gretel Club of Perth (Inc)

Purpose of the group

The Gretel Club was founded by Belle Gladstone as a social club to combat loneliness for business and professional women, both active and retired. The initial membership of 15 came from the existing Soroptomist Club and, by the end of the first year, there were 47 members.

The name Gretel was taken from the first Australian yacht to challenge and enter the America’s Cup race at Newport. The club held regular meetings with guest speakers, as well as social events such as wine and cheese nights, cocktail parties and recitals. The club was incorporated in 1965.

Time period

The Gretel Club was first proposed at a Soroptomist Club meeting on 18 June 1963.

Key achievements

The club maintained an emphasis on social occasions and regular events were held each year.

Key people and positions in the group

The first office bearers were Belle Gladstone, Peg Chadwick, Evelyn Harris, Rose Masel, Trixie Crawford, Jean Bullmore and Jessie Gladstone.

Sources

Adlard, Edith. 1979 The Gretel Club of Perth (Inc): The first fifteen years. Available State Library of WA pamphlets 367.9 ADL.


Harvest Guild

Purpose of the group

The Harvest Guild was the result of Perth’s Women’s Service Guilds trying to recruit new members, usually women who had been politicised by the anti-Vietnam War movement.

As young women, members were interested in issues such as contraception, abortion, politics, drug issues and violence on television. About same time the Harvest Guild was established, two other new groups formed—the Women’s Electoral Lobby and Women’s Liberation. Many Harvest Guild members were involved with one or both groups and, consequently, the organisation ceased operations because many women preferred the more militant style of Women’s Liberation.

Time period

The Harvest Guild was established in March 1972 but was short-lived. It went into recess in May 1973 and closed in February 1974.

Key achievements

The Harvest Guild allowed women to gain valuable experience in public speaking and meeting procedures.

Key people and positions in the group

Wendy Fatin—first president.

Sources

  • Information provided by Rona Chadwick.
  • Davidson, Dianne. 1997. Women on the Warpath: Feminists of the First Wave. Nedlands: University of WA Press.

Incest Survivors Association (Inc.)

Purpose of the group

To provide support for victims of incest. In 1978‚ Women´s Health Care House and Australian Women Against Rape (Perth) organised a publicised 24 hour ‘phone- in’ designed to give women who had been sexually assaulted an opportunity to speak about their experiences. Of the 150 calls, more than half related to intra-familial sexual abuse. The group of women who headed up the phone call-in formed self-help and support groups after identifying that most of the women callers had been silenced and not supported by their families and loved ones. Many callers were profoundly depressed and had a mental health diagnosis.

Individual counselling, as well as group counselling, commenced shortly thereafter, initially on a volunteer basis. Incest Survivors' Association Inc. (ISA) was formally incorporated in 1984 after obtaining a grant to provide services. ISA was the first non-government association to deal specifically with child sexual abuse and associated post-traumatic stress disorders later in life.

In 1986 ISA was offered partial funding by the State Government to provide professional services to the community, recognising that the thousands of annual phone calls identified a large‚ hidden‚ community problem. From this time onwards all staff had to have tertiary qualifications and clinical supervision and the association has contractual accountability provisions to the State Government. ISA now operates as a non-government, not-for-profit charity. ISA currently has a 'Preferred Provider Status' agreement with the Western Australian Department for Child Protection. The remainder of funds comes from client fees‚ service fees‚ donations and memberships. ISA has expanded its services over the years to include public talks‚ training‚ a resource library, website, newsletter and journal.

Time period

1970s - still in operation.

Key achievements

Continuing to exist for so many years and helping many incest survivors.

Key people and positions in the group

• Ms Nancy Rehfeldt founded the group.

Sources

Information provided by Val Masden

ISA's website http://www.isa.asn.au.


Inner Wheel Australia

Purpose of the group

Inner Wheel’s objectives are to promote true friendship, encourage personal service ideals and foster international understanding.

Inner Wheel originated as a group for wives of Rotary Club members in the UK. Originally called Rotary Ladies, then The Service Club, the name Inner Wheel came from the group’s emblem—a small wheel contained within the Rotary Wheel.

Time period

The clubs originated during World War I and the name Inner Wheel was first used in 1924. The first Inner Wheel club in Australia was chartered in 1931 in Ballarat, Victoria, and clubs were soon established in other locations, including WA.

Key achievements

Inner Wheel Australia is now made up of 15 districts with 4500 members in 170 clubs. WA is District A40 and has 13 clubs with nine in the metropolitan area.

A national conference, hosted by a district or club, is held annually in October. In 2011, the conference was held in Perth.

The national Cord Blood Project includes all Inner Wheel districts. An annual fundraising day raises money for research into the use of cord blood and stem cells. More than $1.7 million had been raised by 2012 and 31 grants awarded for important research projects.

Key people and positions in the group

Not given.

Sources

Website: http://www.innerwheelaustralia.org.au/main/index.asp.


Inside Out Project

Purpose of the group

The group was an intensive expressive arts therapy project for young women and teenagers (aged 13–16) who had experienced domestic violence. Workshops followed on from another therapy project, Through Young People’s Eyes, for children who had witnessed and experienced domestic violence. This was also administered by the Women’s Council of WA but funded by The Body Shop.

Time period

Two full-day workshops on 11 and 18 October 2008.

Key achievements

The workshops involved art therapy, sculptures, creative writing and intuitive processes. These were used in a public exhibition coinciding with internationally-linked events for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence on 6 December 2008, a public library exhibition in Fremantle and a CD compilation for local and overseas markets.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Project organisers Angela Hartwig and Nicole Leggett from the Women’s Council For Domestic and Family Violence Services WA.
  • Funded by the City of Fremantle.
  • Workshop designer and facilitator Georgi Stone.

Sources

Information provided by Georgi Stone.


Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre

Purpose of the group

The name Ishar is derived from the Hebrew word ‘Isha’, meaning woman. The organisation is a non-profit group concerned with the health and wellbeing of women from all cultural backgrounds. It was founded on a social model of health that recognises the impact of personal, social, economic, racial, age and gender factors in providing health services for women.

Ishar provides information, referrals, counselling, training and support for women through a service that is flexible and responsive to their needs.

Services include a clinical service and health education, multicultural carers’ support, parenting and family support—particularly for women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, settlement support for recently-arrived women and their families and childbirth information and education.

Time period

Ishar celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012, having officially opened on 10 August 1992.

Key achievements

A community youth safe sex project, aimed at young women from CALD backgrounds, stress relief program for carers, community leadership program, ‘visiting sisters’ program to help migrant women establish their own businesses and a bicultural ambassadors training program.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Current CEO (2013) is Andrea Creado and Dr Lucy Morris is chairperson.
  • Other management committee members include Tara Ludlow, Paula Wyndow, Dawn Mielens, Dr Lesa Morgan and Bettine Heathcote.

Sources

Website: http://www.ishar.org.au.


Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

Purpose of the group

The Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy was formed as a social support group for women with partners working in the mining industry. It was one of the very earliest women’s groups in WA.

The discovery of gold in 1893 brought people from everywhere to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, searching for a fortune. Relatively few women lived on the Goldfields in the gold rush’s early days so groups such as this were considered important. The auxiliary was rekindled in recent years and is now an active and vibrant group.

Time period

The group originally formed in 1893, re-formed in 1990 and remains active.

Key achievements

The current group holds a number of events each year with several for women only, some for partners and others for families.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Jan Muller—president (1990s).
  • Ingela Griffiths—current president (2012).

Sources

  • Website: http://www.ausimm.com.au/content/default.aspx?ID=193.
  • Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. 1992. Staking Our Claim: A century of women in the Goldfields, 1893–1993. Available State Library of WA (call number 305.4 STA)
  • Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. 2012. Online exhibition available at http://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/wikb/wikb-home.html.

Karrakatta Club

Purpose of the group

The club’s first constitution stated a single purpose: to bring into one working body the women of the community for mutual improvement and social intercourse.  Early concerns of club members included the guardianship of children, payment of teachers (especially equal pay between male and female teachers), divorce laws, assault and the women’s vote.

The club originally had four departments—literary, artistic, hygiene and legal and educational—and each department had its own members, with an elected chair, and drew up its own rules. A current events department was later established.  The aim of the club was carried out through the work of the departments, for which members prepared and read papers. 

Members were encouraged to speak at meetings to gain confidence.  Social events were held regularly for club members at various locations.  The Karrakatta Club bought a property at 186 St Georges Terrace, Perth, and a hall was built for social events.

The name Karrakatta was recorded in the minutes of the second club meeting as having been chosen from many suggestions for the club name.  It was said to be ‘aboriginal’ for ‘Hill of Fire’, although this meaning was later questioned.  Several unsuccessful attempts were made to change the name over the years. 

Time period

The Karrakatta Club is considered to be one of the first women’s clubs in Australia. In October 1894, a meeting was called by American Dr Emily Ryder to discuss establishing a club similar to women’s clubs being set up across the United States at the time. The Karrakatta Club was formed in 1894 from members of the St George's Reading Circle.

In 1923, it was decided the club’s aims would best be served by aligning with the international movement of Lyceum Clubs. The Karrakatta Club still exists under the banner of the Australian Association of Lyceum Clubs.

Key achievements

Women in WA were granted the vote in 1899 due, in part, to lobbying undertaken by Karrakatta Club members.

Early successes included petitioning for sanitation improvements to prevent the spread of typhoid, collecting money for the maintenance of a bed for women at the Cottesloe Convalescent Home and advocating for a woman on the bench of the Children’s Court.

Original members of the club were responsible for starting the Society for Prevention for Cruelty to Animals.  The founding present’s husband, Sir Alexander Onslow Chief Justice, was able to arrange Royal Patronage of the Society, now known as Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Members of the Karrakatta Club were responsible for founding many other organisations that benefitted women and girls, such as the Women’s Service Guild, the Kindergarten Union and Girl Guides.  The club was also affiliated with the National Council of Women for many years.

The WA Turf Club has a race named the Karrakatta Plate which is still in existence today.  It is now sponsored by an organisation but still called the Karrakatta Plate. 

Key people and positions in the group

  • Inaugural president Madeleine Onslow, succeeded by Emily Hensman.
  • Prominent members Dr Roberta Fergusson-Stewart (Jull), Edith Cowan, Lady Margaret Forrest, Mary Hynes Swanton, Florence Cardell-Oliver, Bessie Rischbieth, Mollie Lukis, Helen Ferguson, Margaret Craig, Miss Best, Miss Nisbet, Mrs Haines, Miss Hilferty and Mrs James.

In a recent historical book written by Susanna de Vries, Queen of the Desert: The life and loves of Daisy Bates, it is mentioned that she frequented the Karrakatta Club.  She was never a member, but was able to ingratiate herself with some of the society women of the day and attend the many Karrakatta Club functions.  It is written that when she was in her role as ‘Queen of the Aborigines’ she brought into the club an aboriginal woman who said to the president at the time, “did you know that I am your landlady?  You are on our land.”

Sources

  • Mitchell, Judy. History of the Karrakatta Club, 1894–1994. Perth, WA: The Club. Available from UWA Library (call number 367.99 1994 HIS).
  • Karrakatta Club Incorporated: History 1894–1954. Motto: Spectemur Agendo. Available from the State Library of WA (call number 367.99 KAR).
  • Website: http://www.karrakattaclub.org.au/index.php.
  • Information provided by Wendy Ryan.

Kinwomen

Purpose of the group

Kinwomen is a network, not an organisation or a business, just a gathering of women who want to do life well and be able to claim honestly, ‘no regrets’. The network is women only – bringing together women of all ages, cultures, education, abilities and passions to share life and wisdom.

Inspiration – discussion, events, on line resources. Stories – everyone has a story to tell and every story contains challenge, teaching and a need for empathy (putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes). Contribution – presenting opportunities to live beyond ourselves (giving finances, local and overseas volunteering, sharing skills with others).

At Kinwomen, we believe that women everywhere long for purpose, connection and conversation. They want to share their lives on a basis of honesty and vulnerability but this only happens when there is mutuality between people in the sharing of self, failures and dreams.

It is mostly an online network, providing a positive voice in the midst of a communication medium that can be essentially quite negative.

www.kinwomen.com, @kinwomen Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.

Kinwomen was founded in Perth, Western Australia. Is read and distributed globally.

Time period

Kinwomen began in December 2012 and is ongoing.

Key achievements

In August 2013, Kinwomen ran an event called 'The secret Garden House concert', where 450 groups were sponsored in Rwanda, to start small businesses for women in poverty in this nation.

Kinwomen has over 1200 participants on Facebook, 350 followers on Instagram, with thousands reading the blog, that is written by 7 different women, different ages, cultures and backgrounds.

The three founders of this network are on radio daily, with short inspiration grabs, encouraging women who are listening. Each month has a different theme pertaining to women's issues.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Amanda Viviers
  • Kelley Chisholm
  • Penny Webb

Sources

Information provided by Amanda Viviers.

Website: http://www.kinwomen.com/home


Labor Women’s Association

Purpose of the group

To represent women in the Australian Labor Party and develop women’s policy.

Time period

Established in 1906 and still operating today (it was formerly known as the Labor Women’s Organisation and the Women’s Labor League). The National Labor Women’s Network was established in 1996.

Key achievements

Five Labor women were elected at the State election in February 1983: Kay Hallahan joined Lyla Elliott in the upper house and Jackie Watkins, Yvonne Henderson, Pam Buchanan and Pam Beggs were elected to the lower house. The Labor Women’s Association worked hard to get women selected by the party to winnable seats.

Key people and positions in the group

Inaugural president Jean Beadle, Elsie Curtin, Katherine Holman and May Holman.

Sources

  • Information provided by Yvonne Henderson.
  • Labor Women's Organisation records, 1906¬–1950. Detailed listing available at State Library of WA (call number MN 407).

Lespar Library

Purpose of the group

Lespar Library was originally housed in the Perth Hills, surrounded by trees, where women could choose from more than 1000 lesbian and feminist books. The library’s purpose was to provide resources and facilities for women-centred research. Women could borrow each Sunday afternoon or by appointment.

The library grew as women wrote about their experiences of oppression and liberation. Books poured in from the United States, England and Australia. The library housed an extensive collection on topics such as biographies, children’s books, education, health, law, lesbianism, media, motherhood, mythology, religion, sexuality, science, violence and women’s liberation.

About 2004, Lespar Library moved to the Gay and Lesbian Archives at Murdoch University. The Lespar collection includes many journals, pamphlets, magazines and the complete recordings of Out of the Gilded Cage.

Time period

The library was founded in 1978 and moved to Murdoch University about 2004.

Key achievements

The library became the largest collection of contemporary feminism in WA.

Key people and positions in the group

Karin Hoffman—created and maintained the Lespar Library.

Sources

The Lespar catalogue includes feminist recordings and the radio program Out of the Gilded Cage by the Women’s Broadcasting Collective. Available from the State Library of WA (call number Q 016.3054 LES).


Living Child Inc.—Safe Village Births

Purpose of the group

To reduce the death rate of mothers and babies in remote villages of East Sepik, Mandang and Saundaun provinces of Papua New Guinea.

To empower women about their health choices.

Time period

January–current.

Key achievements

Village Birth Attendant Training Manual for midwives and Village Birth Attendant Guide developed.

Emergency evacuation tool under development.

Delivery of 500 birthing kits to the provinces.

Key people and positions in the group

Sara David - Chairperson.

Sources

Melanesian Evangelical Churches of Christ MECOC

Information provided by Tracy Martin


Lutheran Women WA

Purpose of the group

To gather the women from the Lutheran Church of Australia for the purpose of fellowship and support.

Members of the group are encouraged to get involved in meaningful ministry of service to the disadvantaged, whether locally or internationally.

Time period

At the national level, Lutheran Women has existed for 100+ years and continues to exist.

Key achievements

Over the decades Lutheran Women have supported many home and overseas ministries like orphanages, schools, different building projects and media projects. In many case they produced supplies of medical materials (like birthing packs) and sent them to overseas organisations.

The group has supported radio and TV broadcasting, building of wells in African communities, supplying clothing to orphans in Asia and much more.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Debbie Dreckow - WA president
  • Anne Smythe - vice president
  • Ronda Hahn – secretary
  • Rosemary Davidson - assistant secretary
  • Angela Ziersch - treasurer
  • Carol Pococok - extra member
  • Catherine Callahan - extra member
  • Rev Milo Velebir - spiritual advisor

Sources

Information provided by Rev. Milo Velebir


Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre

Purpose of the group

The Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre is located in Fitzroy Crossing in WA’s Kimberley region. It is a family and domestic violence prevention unit that operates a range of programs including providing legal advice, representation and legal education for women.

Time period

Yajilarra (see below) was made in 2009 and Marninwarntikura continues to operate as a women’s resource centre.

Key achievements

A documentary was made by women at the centre and presented at the 53rd Session of the UN Commission of the Status of Women in New York in March 2009. The film Yajilarra, To Dream shows how indigenous Australian women from Fitzroy Crossing communities spoke out about the impacts of alcohol in their communities. The women led a successful campaign to have restrictions placed on the sale of full-strength alcohol.

Key people and positions in the group

June Oscar and Emily Carter.

Sources

  • Website: http://humanrights.gov.au/sex_discrimination/yajilarra_2009.html.
  • Website: http://www.naclc.org.au/organisation_details.php?organisation_id=694.

Mining Mums

Purpose of the group

Mining Mums celebrates the extraordinary journey of being a mother and a woman in mining.

Very simply, Mining Mums is about the 3 Cs: Commitment, Contribute and Collaborate.

Mining Mums offers an environment where women encourage and nurture each other to succeed; sharing experiences and contributing to the discussion on the rights available to pregnant women, those on maternity leave and those returning to work after having a baby.

Time period

Established in 2013 and still current.

Key achievements

Providing ongoing support for mothers in the mining industry. The group’s founder has a commitment to improving the ratio of women in the mining industry.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Natasha Cann.

Sources

  • Information provided by Natasha Cann.
  • Website: http://miningmums.com/.
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MiningMums.
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/miningmums.

Modern Women's Club

Purpose of the group

The club was founded by Katharine Susannah Prichard as a discussion group for intelligent women. Group meetings provided a forum for interesting subjects.

The Modern Women’s Club began as a coalition of women from the Communist Party and Australian Labor Party’s Council Against War and Fascism. Women from all sides of politics were welcome to join the club but it was considered to be quite militant at the time.

One of the club’s key areas of concern was peace—the group was founded the year before World War II. Other priorities were equal pay, women’s rights and citizenship rights for indigenous Australians.

Time period

The Modern Women’s Club was founded in 1938, coincidentally the year International Women’s Day events were held in Perth. In the 1950s, the club recognised the Union of Australian Women was meeting the same needs for women and two clubs were not necessary. The Modern Women’s Club donated its assets to the Union of Australian Women’s WA branch.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Katharine Susannah Prichard was a founding member.
  • Other significant women were Annette Cameron, Roma Gilchrist, Irene Greenwood, Fanny Williams and Joan Williams.

Sources

  • Joan Williams Papers 1934–1999. Available from State Library of WA (call number ACC 5425A).
  • The Australian Women’s Register: http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0809b.htm.

Mothers’ Union Australia

Purpose of the group

Mothers’ Union Australia is part of a worldwide association that began in the south of England. The group was established by a vicar’s wife so mothers could provide mutual encouragement, support and education. There are currently about 4 million members worldwide. Membership is not restricted to mothers, or even to women, but includes single people, parents and grandparents.

In WA, there are three dioceses: Bunbury, North West and Perth, which incorporate the southern part of the state. Each diocese has several branches that hold council meetings while members also meet for festivals and days of celebration, which incorporate religious services. In recent years, the Mothers’ Union in WA has welcomed many Sudanese members.

The first Mothers’ Union branch in WA was established in Fremantle by Mrs Millar and Mrs Watkins. There were 12 members when the group started but numbers quickly grew and other branches followed soon after in Cottesloe and Highgate.

The mission statement of Mothers’ Union Australia is: sharing Christ’s love by encouraging, strengthening and supporting marriage and family life.

The objectives of the group are:

  • to promote and support married life
  • to encourage parents in their role to develop the faith of their children
  • to maintain a worldwide fellowship of Christians united in prayer, worship and service
  • to promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children
  • to help those whose family life has met with adversity

The Mothers’ Union has a social responsibility department and encourages members to take an active interest in social issues and engage in decision-making processes. Other areas of the organisation are concerned with education, fundraising, overseas outreach and support.

The group’s colours are blue and yellow and a tartan has been designed, which is worn as a scarf by many members. The group also has a variety of rose grown in members’ gardens. It is called the Mary Sumner Rose, after the group’s founder.

Time period

The international Mothers’ Union movement began in 1876 and the first Australian branch was formed in Tasmania in 1892. In WA, the Mothers’ Union was established in 1898.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Mary Sumner, English founder of the international organisation.
  • Denise Elvish is the current (2013) State president and diocesan president for Perth.
  • Margaret Rennick is Bunbury’s diocesan president for Bunbury and Jocelyn Ross is the North West diocesant president.

Sources

  • Website: http://www.muaustralia.org.au.
  • Howard-Wright, Miriam. 1999. Hearts, hands and voices: celebrating the Mothers’ Union, Diocese of Perth, Western Australia centenary, 1898–1998: the history. Mt Hawthorn, WA: Hawthorn Press.

Movement for the Ordination of Women

Purpose of the group

To campaign to enable women of the Anglican Church of Australia to hold office.

Time period

During the 1980s, exact year unknown.

Key achievements

The first female priests in the Anglican church were ordained in Perth in 1992.

Key people and positions in the group

Patricia Brennan – founding president.

Sources

Information provided by Val Marsden.

Wikipedia page of Patricia Brennan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Brennan.


Muslim Women’s Support Centre of WA (Inc)

Purpose of the group

The Muslim Women’s Support Centre (MWSC) is a not-for-profit agency that provides social and support networks for women in the local community. The group aims to enhance the health and wellbeing of Muslim women and their families. The MWSC also aims to promote the self-esteem, personal development and spiritual growth of Muslim women and their families in WA.

In addition to helping Muslim women, the agency promotes understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities and provides information and assistance to government agencies in providing services to Muslim women.

The MWSC relies on volunteers to provide services and accepts donations to help women and their families in the community. Services are provided to needy families and Muslim women who have recently migrated to WA. Short-term practical assistance can be provided, along with longer term social support and information, referral and advocacy.

Time period

Founded in 1987 and incorporated in 1992, the group continues to operate.

Key achievements

The MWSC has run many activities for women and girls, including a summer camp, and also hosts workshops and education sessions. Cross-cultural training is provided for service providers.

A MWSC settlement program has included information sessions and English conversation classes.

MWSC has been unable to continue all programs due to loss of funding but continues to provide support and information for women in the community.

Key people and positions in the group

Wajma Padshah.

Sources

Website: http://www.mwsc.com.au.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MWSCWA.

Mc Cue, Dr Helen. 2008.  The Civil and Social Participation of Muslim: Women in Australian Community Life http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/a-multicultural-australia/national-action-plan/_attach/participation-muslim-women.pdf


Nardine

Purpose of the group

Nardine Women’s Refuge provides supported accommodation and assistance for women and children escaping domestic and family violence. Support includes advocacy in legal, housing and welfare matters, day and overnight staff attendance, emergency assistance, emotional support and counselling, follow-up services and child care and child support services. The latter includes support from the domestic violence child counselling services established in the early 1990s—initially funded by Partnerships Against Domestic Violence—which visit all metropolitan refuges.

Before Nardine was established, there were three women’s refuges in the metropolitan area and they were overwhelmed with demand for emergency accommodation. Nardine’s approach was different from previous women’s refuges because it provided information and support for women who wanted to leave violent and abusive relationships. Previous services presumed women would return to their relationships after a short stay in the refuge.

Until 1997, Nardine operated as a collective with a philosophical commitment to shared power and shared work. Initially, the collective was open to everyone but, by the late 1970s, it narrowed to include only residents and workers, then Nardine workers only. Under the threat of complete loss of funding, Nardine changed to a management structure in 1997.

Time period

A meeting was held in May 1974 between members of the Women’s Electoral Lobby and Women’s Liberation. One result was establishing the Women’s Centre Action Group (WCAG), which had the aim of setting up a women’s health and community centre. This included a women’s refuge which became Nardine (the health service later became known as Women’s Health Care House).

In July 1974, the WCAG started providing emergency accommodation for women and their children in a Mount Lawley house. A year later, the refuge moved to larger premises in North Perth and, later in 1985, three adjoining blocks of land were bought to build a new refuge. In 1991, after years of planning, negotiating and building, Nardine opened a purpose-built refuge in Perth’s south eastern suburbs where it continues to provide services.

Key achievements

Nardine has provided emergency accommodation and support for women escaping domestic violence, and their children, continuously since 1974.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Founding members Michelle Kosky, Sally Speed, Penny Fogarty, Diane Fruin and Helen Shannon.
  • Pat Whitmarsh and Gillian Draffin, the first paid staff members.
  • Volunteers, staff and management committee members Georgi Stone, Suellen Murray (secretary), Lois Gatley (inaugural chair), Anna Spencer, Deborah Dearnley, Susie Wilkins, Colleen Hay, Sue Allen, Diana Warnock, Glenis Hunter, Maggie Lawson, April Davis, Glenda Blake, Kedy Kristal, Daphne Smith, Libby Best, Karen Lockhart, Cath Munro, Linda Digby, Louise Langhorn, Elke Kaiser, Tina Fernandes, Kelley Molloy, Alessandra Traverso, Elenie Kolitsis, Lou Kyle, Nova McCormack, Anna Brown, Dawn Bessarab, Jackie Corby, Rahimah Abdullah, Faduma Ahmed Hassan and Eversley Ruth.

Sources

  • Murray, Suellen, 2002, More Than Refuge: Changing responses to domestic violence, Perth: UWA Press.
  • Information provided by Georgi Stone and Suellen Murray.

National Council of Women of Western Australia (previously known as West Australian National Council of Women and Western Australian National Council of Women)

Purpose of the group

The National Council of Women of WA (NCWWA) is a non-party political, non-sectarian, voluntary organisation dedicated to the advancement of women, their families and society’s welfare. It is affiliated with the National Council of Women of Australia, which itself is affiliated with the International Council of Women. The international council has consultative status (Category 1) with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

NCWWA is a peak body offering membership to a diverse range of affiliated women's organisations with similar or compatible aims and objectives. Each affiliate organisation may elect two voting members to the council.

Women’s organisations with strong links to NCWWA in the early days included the Women’s Service Guild, Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Karrakatta Club, Trinity Church Women’s Guild, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Women’s Guild, Time and Talent Club, Young Women’s Association, Metropolitan Women Workers’ Union, WA Trained Nurses Association and Mothers’ Union.

NCWWA has the following objectives:

  • providing a link between the many and varied voluntary, not-for-profit and community organisations where matters of common interest arise
  • bringing together these voluntary organisations
  • encouraging women to recognise their responsibilities in the community and motivating them to participate in public life on local, national and international levels
  • increasing mutual understanding between women through national and international contacts
  • promoting recognition and respect for human rights and working to remove discrimination based on birth, race, gender, age, language or religion
  • developing national policies and responsibilities on behalf of women and their families.
  • supporting efforts to achieve peace through negotiation, arbitration and conciliation.
  • promoting equal rights and responsibilities for both women and men.

Time period

NCWWA was formed in 1911 and remains active. The first National Council of Women of Australia was formed in 1896 in New South Wales.

Key achievements

In the 1920s, NCWWA successfully lobbied for the closure of White City, a funfair and gambling venue on William Street in Perth. The organisation and many religious bodies considered White City unsightly and attracted disreputable people.

As early as 1928, NCWWA protested against smoking on the grounds of public health risks and economic waste. Concerns were raised with the Director of Education, Teachers’ Union, Parents and Citizens’ Association and the media.

NCWWA also played a leading role in lobbying for the passing of the Jury Act Amendment Bill. Before 1957, WA women were not entitled to the same rights as men to serve on juries.

More recently, the council has been providing ongoing support to a school in Popondetta, Papua New Guinea. Donations bought a freshwater tank to provide clean drinking water for the school children and provided accommodation for teachers not paid for their work. Three teachers were brought to Perth in 2012 for educational workshops, school visits and cultural enrichment.

A science and technology bursary is awarded each year for female students studying a relevant course at a WA tertiary institution.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Lady Edeline Strickland, inaugural president.
  • Lady Gwenfred James, Amelia Macdonald, and Etta Hooton were the first vice-presidents.
  • Edith Cowan was a committee member and second president.
  • Other presidents include Mrs C Manning, Mrs Trouchet, Lady James, Phoebe Holmes, Dr Roberta Jull, Ruby Pratt, Edna Bagot, Mrs C Rutherford, Stella Carmody, Jessie Robertson, Ada Smith, Joyce Cook, Mrs H Balmer, Kaye Lockhart, Ida Lloyd, Maisie Gudgeon, Mrs M Scurlock, Gwen Cameron, Gloria Reynolds, Gwen Roderick, Paddy Firstenberg and Joy Sands.
  • Dawn Butterworth is the current president (2012).

Sources

  • Website: http://www.ncwwa.org.au/main/page_home.html.
  • Sher, Noreen. The National Council of Women of WA Inc. (1999). The Spirit Lives On: 1911–1999. Available from the State Library of WA (call number 305.42 SHE).
  • Information provided by Elizabeth Re.

National Council of Jewish Women of Australia—WA section (NCJWA)

Purpose of the group

The group focuses on service and philanthropy among the Jewish and wider community in Australia and Israel, also providing a focus on education.

Time period

Started nationally in Sydney in 1923 and in WA in 1929, remaining active today.

Key achievements

Helping to improve living conditions—at the Maurice Zeffert Home for the Jewish Aged NCJWA runs a kiosk and has bought items for residents such as wheelchairs and hair dryers.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Founder Dr Fanny Reading.
  • Edna Luber-Smith (WA president 1937–1970).
  • Angela Davis (WA president 1995¬–1999).
  • Jill Green (WA president 2001–2004).

Sources

  • Newton, Marlo Leigh, Making a Difference: A History of the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, 2000 (contains a chapter on Western Australia).
  • Information provided by NCJWA executive member Noreen Sher.

Nintirri Centre

Purpose of the group

Nintirri is an educational centre that promotes and encourages women to gain educational qualifications. It also has facilities such as day care to allow women to work and study with peace of mind.

Located in Tom Price in WA’s north, Nintirri provides a range of services to meet the needs of an isolated community with facilities open to residents of all ages. The centre is a comfortable, friendly place where people are encouraged to participate in an informal, supportive atmosphere.

Time period

Nintirri was established in 1986 and is still operating.

Key achievements

Nintirri offers courses for adults and children in personal development and awareness, weekend workshops, community education programs, discussion groups, guest speakers, video mornings, a resource and information library, books, tapes, videos, journals, agency referrals, legal aid, family counseling and a playgroup for children under to five.

The centre has a safe, well-maintained play area, good quality toys for children and meeting facilities.

Key people and positions in the group

Founder Elizabeth Re.

Sources

  • Website: http://bloo.com.au/Nintirri-Centre-Inc/Mid-West/Tom-Price/WA/5754360
  • Information provided by Elizabeth Re.

Older Women’s Network (OWN WA)

Purpose of the group

To give older women a voice to ensure they are not treated as invisible.

Time period

OWN WA was established in1989, followed by a Gosnells group in 1992, and still remains active.

Key achievements

Positive ageing support, friendship, social activities, companionship and lobbying Parliament.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Ellen Dzienisz—original president and founder member.
  • Ruth Kershaw—current president and Gosnells group founder member.

Penguin Club

Purpose of the group

The Penguin Club was founded by women, for women. It was one of the first organisations to give women a chance to develop communication skills in an era when women were not active in public life.

At group meetings, the emphasis is on participation and practice. Administration tasks are kept to a minimum, allowing more time for members to practice prepared and impromptu speeches, participate in workshops, gain experience running meetings and develop confidence in communicating.

The Penguin Club gives members guidance and opportunities to develop confidence and communication skills needed to hold office in business and community organisations and to fulfil personal goals. The club offers a supportive network based on the values of friendship, integrity and respect.

The group is a national organisation with a collaborative structure. Local groups of up to 20 women meet throughout metropolitan and country areas. There are nine local groups in and around Perth.

Time period

The Penguin Club was founded in Sydney in 1937. In 1945, two women previously living in the eastern states opened the first WA Penguin Club.

Key achievements

Penguin Club members contribute to the community by presenting workshops, coaching young people in public speaking and volunteering to help refugee women develop English speaking skills.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Rona Foster and Ariel Payne, organisers of the first Penguin Club in WA.
  • Foundation member Dora Bulbeck.
  • Kath Black and E McCalllum were on the first committee.
  • First office-bearers Queenie Chugg (president), Alma Carthew (secretary) and Teresa Greatorex (treasurer).

Perth Ionian Club

Purpose of the group

Ionian Clubs are a network of clubs for women newly arrived in an area desiring the friendship and support of other women.

All club members have experienced the difficulties of relocating, meet regularly in friendship and fellowship, help other members assimilate into their new community, support each other in times of need, are aware of the needs of others in the community, maintain friendship with members from other Ionian Clubs, enjoy many activities and cultural pursuits—and prefer having fun to doing housework.

All Ionian Clubs hold monthly meetings, special dinners or luncheons to celebrate special events, outings and events that include partners and friends and do not fundraise for charity except in a minor way.

They have several special interest groups such as craft, book clubs, bridge, mahjong, and walking, although it varies from club to club depending on the wants and interests of members.

All clubs operate under a set of basic rules but each club has a separate set of bylaws. But clubs must conform to the objectives and philosophy of the entire Ionian Club.

There are two Ionian clubs in WA: the Perth ’81 Ionian Club which meets in South Perth and the Perth Ionian Club which meets in Mount Claremont.

Time period

Phyllis McDonald founded the first Ionian Club in Launceston, Tasmania, on 3 October 1946 when, as a newcomer to the city, she found herself very lonely. By 2010, there were 19 clubs across Australia, one in London and one in Auckland.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

Founder Phyllis McDonald has given her name to a rose grown in the gardens of some Ionians.

Sources

Website: http://www.ionians.net/History.html.


Polyhymnia Reading Group

Purpose of the group

The group was established in Coolgardie for women to get together in appreciation of literature and music. Meetings were held twice a month from April to October and alternately considered classical musical—including details on composers’ lives—and works of literature.

Group members read original essays, stories, biographical sketches, debates, short papers and any other reading material that facilitated thinking and discussion. Participation in group meetings was a membership requirement.

Time period

The first meeting was held on 12 July 1897. A handwritten minute book is held in the State Library of Western Australia and records meetings held until 10 May 1900.

Key achievements

Meetings were lively and often included debates. The minute book records a debate on 11 July 1898 on the subject: ‘Do women deteriorate by having to go out to earn their own living?’ The debate was won by the negative team.

Key people and positions in the group

  • The inaugural meeting of the club was held at the home of Mrs Curle Smith.
  • Mrs Rennick was voted in as first president.
  • Mrs Harwood and Mrs Brunel King were vice-presidents and Mrs Curle Smith was voted honorary secretary and treasurer.
  • Other members in 1897 included Mrs Rodda, Mrs Tescheu, Mrs Chaudley, Mrs Tucker, Mrs Parnell Mundy, Miss Day, Miss Burns and Miss Wilson.
  • In 1900, Mrs Read was president.
  • Other 1900 members included Miss Reader and Mrs Zabel.

Sources

  • Manuscript, 1900. Syllabus of the club’s activities for the year 1900, printed on silk. Held by the State Library of Western Australia (ACC 150A).
  • Manuscript, 1897–1900. Minute book. Held by the State Library of Western Australia (ACC 338A).

Probus

Purpose of the group

Probus is a worldwide movement with clubs in 23 countries, formed by Rotary Club members. It is an association for senior community members and those no longer working full-time to join together for companionship and discover a new lease of life.

Some Probus clubs are specifically for women but there are also men’s clubs and combined clubs. Probus clubs for women in WA include Mill Point Ladies Probus, South Perth Ladies Probus, Wembley Ladies Probus, Floreat Ladies Probus and Morley. The Probus philosophy is ‘friendship, fellowship and fun’.

Time period

Probus had its origins in the United Kingdom with the development of two community-based social clubs in the 1960s. The first Probus club in Australia opened in Hunters Hill, New South Wales, in 1976 while the first Probus Club for women in the Pacific region was the Ladies Club of St Heliers in New Zealand in 1982.

Key achievements

Probus offers many benefits to keep members young, including international and domestic travel, daytrip excursions, luncheons and opportunities to meet new friends.

In 1987, the Probus Club of Perth organised a highly successful Septemberfest, attracting Probians from all states of Australia and New Zealand.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

Website: http://probussouthpacific.org/tags/WA.


Rape Crisis Line

Purpose of the group

The Rape Crisis Line was set up by a group of women as an alternative to what was considered a medicalised version of rape support at the time at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital—the service that became the Sexual Assault Resource Centre.

The line’s aim was to provide a woman-centred approach to sexual assault support.

A part-time phone line was set up in a room in Northbridge, off William Street, and a newsletter was produced. Advertising was mainly through sticker placement, including on the backs of toilet doors.

Time period

The service was established about 1985 and lasted several years but no longer exists.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

Information provided by Rona Chadwick and Suellen Murray.


Rural Remote Regional Women’s Network (RRR)

Purpose of the group

To bring together women from rural, remote and regional WA to recognise, promote and expand the contribution they make to their communities.

The group’s key objectives are:

  • • Providing a mechanism for rural, remote and regional women—and rural women's organisations—to share information relevant to developing local communities.
  • • Providing rural, remote and regional women with easy access to government information and programs relevant to regional development and agriculture.
  • • To provide government agencies and other service providers with information on education and training needs for rural, remote and regional women.
  • • Providing a resource for government departments, industry associations, decision-making bodies and local authorities to access rural, remote and regional women.
  • • To provide a link between organisations for the exchange of information and cooperative development of programs relevant to rural, remote and regional women.

RRR Network Reference Group women members are selected from public applications by the Agriculture and Regional Development Ministers. They are chosen for a three-year term and represent a mix of skills, geographical diversity and ethnic origin. Members have extensive networks and awareness of issues that impact on RRR WA women.

Time period

The RRR Network was launched in 1996 and is still active.

Key achievements

The RRR Network has partnered with the Department of Agriculture and Food to present the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women’s Awards since 2002. The Rural Women's Awards recognise and encourage rural women and their contribution to agriculture, primary industries, resource development and rural Australia.

The award is open to all women involved in these fields, including broad-acre farming, intensive livestock, cropping, horticulture, fisheries, forestry, natural resource management and related service industries. No formal qualifications are needed to enter.

The RRR Network produces a free quarterly magazine with a circulation of about 9000, widely acclaimed across WA. The magazine includes inspirational stories and reports and contains a wealth of information on ideas, programs, events and activities of interest to women in rural, remote and regional areas.

E-news is distributed fortnightly with information on activities, training events, board and committee positions and grants and award opportunities.

Key people and positions in the group

RRR Network founder Marg Agnew.

Sources

Website: http://www.rrr.wa.gov.au.


Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)

Purpose of the group

SARC provides care for females and males affected by sexual assault or sexual abuse. Services include medical care, forensic examination and counselling support for people who have recently experienced sexual assault. Counselling is also available for people who experienced sexual assault or abuse in the past. A 24-hour emergency line operates for recent sexual assault.

The core values of SARC are honesty, respect, teamwork, caring and clinical excellence.

SARC also operates an education and training unit that aims to increase knowledge and skills on the issue of sexual assault and sexual abuse for agencies and the wider community.

Time period

SARC has been operating since the late 1970s.

Key achievements

The education and training unit was established to ensure health care workers have access to quality information on sexual assault and sexual abuse. SARC runs regular training and professional development workshops in Perth.

SARC’s research committee overseas research projects internal to the organisation and also external.

A range of publications are produced by SARC to inform and educate health care workers and the community about sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

Website: http://www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au/services/sarc/about_us.htm.


Sibyl/University of Western Australia Student Guild Women’s Collective

Purpose of the group

A women’s collective was established soon after the University of Western Australia (UWA) guild of undergraduates elected its first women’s officer. The collective wanted to do something practical and decided to publish a feminist magazine, Sibyl.

Sibyl was a forum for women to exchange thoughts and ideas. All women were encouraged to contribute. It was a non-profit magazine produced four times a year and each issue was put together by different members of the collective who were female students and graduates.

The collective wrote Sibyl, typed it onto paper plates, printed it, collated, stapled and distributed it. It contained articles, stories, book reviews, poems and advertisements about issues relevant to women.

In 1975 (International Women's Year), the women’s collective edited a special edition of Pelican, the UWA guild newspaper. It took much persuasion because the guild was protective of its publication and reluctant to entrust it to a feminist group.

Closely related to Sibyl was the Feminist Workshop, which operated out of a Mount Lawley flat and received government funding during International Women’s Year. The workshop provided facilities such as a typewriter, duplicating equipment and a wide range of books and feminist magazines.

The workshop’s aim was to build a resource centre for women’s movement literature to help women needing information or those curious about feminism. Equipment was also available for loan. The workshop was open most evenings. It later moved to the Trades Hall car park in Beaufort Street and was also located in a King Street second floor office for a while.

Time period

The women’s collective was established in 1974 and the first issue of Sibyl was published the same year. Sibyl continued until about 1983.

Key achievements

One of the stories published in Sibyl (1975) on violence against women was recently reprinted in the biography of Patricia Giles—Among the Chosen by Lekkie Hopkins and Lynn Roarty.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Anne Giles was the first women's officer elected by the UWA guild and she started the women’s collective with Marcelle Anderson, Madelon Wilkins, Maureen Davies and others.
  • Val Humphrey designed the graphic for Sibyl’s cover.

Sources

  • Women’s Collective, Sibyl. Perth, WA. Issues from 1974–1983 available from State Library of WA (call number 301.412 SIB).
  • Information provided by Anne Giles.

Society of Women Writers WA

Purpose of the group

The Society of Women Writers WA is an incorporated body with links to branches in other Australian states. The organisation offers support, encouragement and information to women writers across WA.

The group’s aims are to encourage women writers, foster a love of language and the craft of writing, nurture aspiring writers, provide a central meeting place for information, support and fellowship with other writers and provide a communication base for country members and writers in isolation.

Group activities include monthly meetings and creative writing classes, both open to the public. Specifically for members, there are writers’ circles, annual writers’ retreats, the Bronze Quill competition and monthly newsletter In Print.

Time period

The Society of Women Writers began in Australia in 1925. The wife of an English newspaper tycoon, visiting Sydney, asked to meet some Australian women writers. Organising a meeting proved difficult women writers at that time were not taken seriously. But when the occasion took place, those who took part enjoyed the experience and decided to continue meeting.

WA’s branch started operating purely through correspondence groups. In 1981, the first president, Ethel Webb, was appointed and meetings were held. In April 2000, the Society of Women Writers WA was formed as an autonomous body. By that time, the society had about 200 members from across WA.

Key achievements

An in-house competition is held each year for members, anthologies featuring members’ work is published and a webpage publishes members’ achievements and biographies.

Nationally, the Ethel Webb Bundell competition is held bi-annually and awards prizes for poetry and short stories. The Society of Women Writers WA will host the Alice Literary Award in 2014.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Former presidents include Ethel Webb Bundell, Janet Woods and Trudy Graham.
  • Current (2012) president is Helen Iles.

Sources

Website: http://www.swwofwa.com.


Soroptimist International of Western Australia

Purpose of the group

Soroptimist International is a worldwide organisation for women in management and the professions, working through service projects to advance human rights and the status of women.

Soroptimists strive to achieve their goal through awareness, advocacy and action and also aim to have fun while they are doing it. The word soroptimist is related to two Latin words: ‘soror’ meaning sister and ‘optima’ meaning best. Soroptimists describe themselves as women at their best, helping others to be their best. They aim to be a global voice for women.

Soroptimist International is committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide. They are committed to serving local, national and international communities and active participation in decision-making at all levels of society.

Soroptimist International has consultative status at the United Nations, working through Soroptimist UN representatives. There are about 90,000 women in 3,000 clubs from 123 countries belonging to the organisation. WA is one of 21 regions in the Federation of South West Pacific and Soroptimist International of WA is the coordinating body for clubs in the region.

Time period

Soroptimist International established its first WA branch in Perth in 1949 and became a region in 1953 with the charter of the Fremantle Club. It is an ongoing organisation with about 300 members in WA.

Key achievements

Soroptimist International currently has 18 branches in WA: Albany, Cambridge, Canning District, Carnarvon, Darling Range, Fremantle, Geraldton, Helena, Joondalup, Karratha and District, Maylands Peninsula, On The Terrace, Perth, Port Hedland, Riverside, Rockingham, South Perth and Mandurah, chartered in September 2012.

For many years, the region supported the Asthma Foundation of WA, hosting an annual gala evening to raise funds for a children’s camp. More recently, with a change of focus to ‘educate to lead’, the region supports a program of leadership and skills development for disadvantaged women in conjunction with Women’s Health and Family Services and Challenger Institute of Technology.

Nationally and locally, the group’s advocacy promotes issues of concern to women, such as domestic violence and the recent bone density scan petition, requesting the Federal Government reduce the age of eligibility for the Medicare rebate from the current age of 70.

Individual clubs regularly develop projects that meet their local needs, often with clubs working together. Most clubs are involved with supporting women’s refuges while other themes include women’s health issues, leadership development for women and girls and environmental projects.

Internationally, Soroptimists work with other non-government organisations, helping women and girls through health programs, education and skills training and micro-credit. Several WA clubs are involved in projects in Timor L’este, Bali, Thailand and Cambodia, as well as contributing to the Federation Project, currently in Papua New Guinea.

Annually, Soroptimists in WA present the Stella Giles Award for Excellence to a woman for research, or towards the costs of running a project, which will be of immediate benefit for women or girls. The award is up to $3,000.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Stella Giles (nee Ryan) held many positions in the Perth club including president and secretary and chartered 10 clubs as region extension officer.
  • Margaret Lobo held region and Federation positions before becoming international president from 2007–2009. She was awarded an Order of Australia in 2011.
  • Recent presidents have included Heather Joppek, Naomi Glasson, Berenice Ritchie, Julie Ham, Marilyn Fowler, Robyn Cain, Sue Eagleton, Annie Carswell and Jeanette Brown.

Sources

  • Website: http://www.soroptimist-wa.org.au.
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoroptimistWA.
  • Information provided by Julie Ham.

Starick Services Inc

Purpose of the group

Starick Services is a not-for-profit agency that works towards ending family and domestic violence and protecting women and children. Starick provides safety and protection through the Centre for Safety and Wellbeing, a crisis accommodation service for women and accompanying children experiencing violence in their home or community. Services include accommodation, referral, advocacy, emotional support and help with budgeting, legal matters and other support.

In addition to a Perth refuge, Starick has offices in regional and remote areas to support women living in small towns, indigenous communities, mining areas and fishing and farming communities. Regional staff provide local responses and case management for family and domestic violence.

Starick Services promotes the values of respect, commitment, diversity and innovation. Staff all share in administrative work, community awareness campaigns and fundraising.

Time period

Established in 1982 and still exists.

Key achievements

Established funding and a refuge in the Gosnells area.

Key people and positions in the group

Sue Wilson, Kay Hallahan and Ping Au.

Sources

  • Website: http://www.starickservices.org/index.htm.
  • Information provided by Yvonne Henderson.

Status of Women Committee WA—Australian Labor Party

Purpose of the group

To develop policy on issues relating to women.

Time period

Established about 1975.

Key achievements

Affirmative action for women, equal opportunity legislation and abortion law repeal.

Key people and positions in the group

Wendy Fatin, Pat Giles, Janet Pine, Ruth Geneff, Margaret Holland and Jerroldine Gilbert.

Sources

Information provided by Yvonne Henderson.


Tradeswomen on the Move

Purpose of the group

The group was funded and administered by the Women’s Employment and Training Unit of the Federal Government’s Office of Women’s Affairs.

Forums were held in high schools to introduce talks by young tradeswomen. This provided an insight into non-traditional career options for female students, inspiring them to look at a wide range of subject and career options uninhibited by gender stereotyping.

Time period

The project was established about 1993 and was fairly short-lived.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

Georgi Stone worked as the project’s community educator.

Sources

Information provided by Georgi Stone.


UN Women Australia (formerly UNIFEM Australia)—Perth Chapter Young UN Women Perth Chapter

Purpose of the group

This group is the national committee for UN Women in Australia, one of 18 globally. Since it began in 1989, UN Women Australia has grown to include a national office in Canberra, UN Women Australia sub-committees, International Women’s Day committees and Young UN Women Australia chapters in many states and territories. WA has two Perth-based volunteer committees—the Perth chapter and the Young UN Women Perth chapter.

The role of UN Women Australia is to:

  • raise funds to support programs that achieve gender equality and empower women internationally
  • challenge attitudes that perpetuate gender inequality in Australia and globally
  • engage government support to achieve gender equality, including providing overseas funds for critical initiatives targeting women’s issues.

UN Women Australia is an active participant in UN activities relating to gender and development. The group sends a delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women annually, including a youth delegate.

The volunteer chapters focus on challenging attitudes, raising awareness and fundraising to support overseas projects in the following areas:

  • developing women’s economic empowerment
  • fostering women’s leadership and participation
  • addressing violence against women
  • building peace and security.

Time period

UN Women Australia has existed since 1989. The Perth chapter was founded in 2008 and the Young UN Women chapter was founded in 2009.

Key achievements

Perth’s two UN Women Australia chapters work with key women’s groups (the IWD WA Collaboration is currently chaired by the Perth chapter) to coordinate an annual International Women’s Day gala breakfast on 8 March to raise funds for international projects.

The major event is attended by women and men from all walks of life and has rapidly grown in support, attracting about 1,000 people in 2011 and 2012. It is supported by all levels of government, corporate businesses, community groups and individuals.

The Women's Hall of Fame is an IWD WA Collaboration initiative launched in 2011 as part of IWD centenary celebrations. One hundred women were inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame, follow by another 20 in 2012. The Hall of Fame recognises the contribution made by women, past and present, who have inspired and influenced others in WA. Inductees include high-profile businesswomen, families caring for foster children and women parliamentarians who have changed WA history. In 2013, the Hall of Fame is celebrating the achievements of WA’s women’s groups.

Both Perth chapters run several information and fundraising events each year.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Perth Chapter—Anne Banks McAllister (founder and first chairperson to 2012).
  • Perth Chapter—Kerry Stopher (chairperson from 2012).
  • Young Perth Chapter—Elizabeth Shaw (founder and first chairperson from 2010).
  • Young Perth Chapter—Anna Johnson (chairperson from 2011).

Sources

  • Website: https://unwomen.org.au
  • Website: http://www.powerof100.com.au/about/unwomen.html
  • Information provided by Kerry Stopher and Anna Johnson.

Union of Australian Women—WA Branch

Purpose of the group

The Union of Australian Women (UAW) was formed from a group called the New Housewives Association, affiliated with the Women’s International Democratic Federation. The group’s main areas of concern were world peace, prices and women and children’s rights.

Early UAW meetings in WA included craft lessons as a way of attracting women who did not have a specific interest in politics. Through craft classes, women were encouraged to consider how political issues touched all aspects of their lives, whether it was high food prices, lack of school buses or crowded school rooms. Women started participating in marches and signing petitions to protest against these and other issues. The union also petitioned for the rights of indigenous Australians.

The need for affordable child care was a major UAW issue and members were supportive of a campaign by the Women's Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation to establish a crèche in the Fremantle area.

UAW groups were established in many Perth suburbs including Tuart Hill, Applecross-Mount Pleasant, Guildford-Midland, Fremantle and Collie in the country.

Time period

The UAW was established in 1950 in Sydney and a WA branch was formed the same year. The WA branch received assets from the Modern Women’s Club, which had been operating in WA since 1938 but ceased in the early 1950s.

Key achievements

The UAW first published its magazine, Our Women, in 1953 and it was distributed across Australia and overseas. The magazine covered women’s rights, the struggle for a better standard of living, problems faced by migrant women and efforts for a peaceful world. The magazine was sold at many events as a way of raising awareness about the UAW and gaining support for activities and issues important to the group.

The UAW worked on joint committees to organise events for International Women’s Day.

Following the deaths of two premature babies due to lack of air-conditioning at King Edward Memorial Hospital during the hot summer of 1954, the UAW lobbied for temporary coolers until permanent air-conditioning could be installed. Several heavily pregnant members attended the Public Works Department, causing male staff members much consternation—but it ultimately achieved the aim of having cooling equipment installed before the next summer.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Marge Lee, first president.
  • Joy Kelly, first secretary treasurer.
  • Other significant members include Mary Lester, May Ruffle, Maud Quinn, Roma Gilchrist, Mary Lester and Joan Williams.

Sources

Gilchrist, Roma Catherine. Union of Australian Women: A history of the WA branch. Available from the State Library of WA (call number 305.4 GIL).


V.I.E.W. Western Australia

Purpose of the group

VIEW stands for Voice, Interests and Education of Women. It is a leading women’s volunteer organisation and support network that empowers women to have their voices heard on issues of importance for the future wellbeing of Australian society.

VIEW Clubs work with and support The Smith Family in local communities to sponsor financially disadvantage children in their Learning For Life programs.

Clubs include:

West Coast VIEW Club
First Wave VIEW Club Subiaco Day VIEW Club
Rockingham VIEW Club Melville City VIEW Club
Bayswater City VIEW Club

Time period

VIEW has been part of The Smith Family for more than 50 years. It was established in WA around 2003 and remains ongoing.

Key achievements

Achievements of the group including providing primary and upper primary sponsored students with the tools to go to school and not to feel different.

VIEW sponsors 1000 students nationally.

Key people and positions in the group

Greg Ryan-Gadsden–The Smith Family, Perth Office.

Charmaine Sherman–Zone Councillor WA01

Sources

Information provided Charmaine Sherman.

VIEW website http://view.org.au/1639.html.


West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts

Purpose of the group

The society aims to encourage and stimulate an interest in the fine arts and crafts. It was established to counteract women being excluded by the arts establishment and has a practical, woman-centred approach. Based in Subiaco, the group hosts craft classes and acts as a teaching establishment.

Membership is subject to advisory council approval and sponsorship from two members.

Time period

The society was founded in 1935 as the West Australian Women Painters and Applied Arts Society. The name changed in 1945 to the WA Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts. The group remains active.

Key achievements

Annual scholarships are awarded by the society to female arts students.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

Rules and constitution of the West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts. 1979. Available from the State Library of WA (call number 706 WES).


War Widows’ Guild

Purpose of the group

The War Widows’ Guild of Australia is a group that promotes and provides companionship, counselling and support for its members. It was established to provide mutual support and social interaction for widowed women whose partners had served in the armed forces. Social events organised by the group include bingo, river trips, craft groups and outings.

The motto of the group is: ‘We all belong to each other, we all need each other. It is in serving each other and in sacrificing for our common good that we are finding our true life’.

WA branches are located in Albany, Kalgoorlie and Mandurah.

Time period

The guild was formed in 1945 in Victoria and the WA branch started in 1946 and remains active. It is now part of War Widows’ Alliance WA, affiliated with the WA branch of the Partners of Veterans Association of Australia Inc.

Key achievements

The War Widows’ Guild provides ongoing support for widows of servicemen. A tearoom was opened in Perth as a form of income and central meeting place. The Guild News is a regular newsletter for members.

The guild holds a biennial national conference where delegates and observers from around Australia gather to debate issues of concern and interest to members.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Committee members in the 1980s included Mrs Forsyth, Mrs MacDonald, Mrs Carrick and Mrs Parker.
  • Current (2012) State president is Mrs Sue Wilson.

Sources

  • Website: http://www.warwidows.org.au/?page_id=16.
  • Tognini, Melinda. 2012. A struggle for recognition: the War Widows’ Guild in Western Australia 1946–1975. Unpublished doctoral thesis. Perth: Edith Cowan University. Available from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/486.

Warrawee Women’s Refuge

Purpose of the group

Warrawee Women’s Refuge provides supported accommodation and help for women and children escaping domestic violence. Support includes advocacy in legal, housing and welfare matters, day and overnight staff attendance, emergency assistance, emotional support and counselling, follow-up services, child care and child support services.

Warrawee has residential communal living for up to five families escaping domestic violence. The refuge operates under City of Fremantle administration but has its own autonomous staff, including an administrator.

Time period

Established in 1971 and still operating.

Key achievements

The service successfully applied for two Lotterywest grants, enabling some refurbishment, a new playground and a new policy and procedures manual and risk management plan.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

  • Website: http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/communityservices/Warrawee_Womens_Refuge.
  • Information provided by Georgi Stone.

Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL)

Purpose of the group

WEL WA was part of a national, independent, non-party political, feminist lobby group established to ensure the rights of Australian women were protected. WEL WA lobbied politicians, unions, employers, educationalists and others on behalf of women seeking to change attitudes and practices that discriminated against women.

WEL’s aims were to work towards creating a society where women’s participation and potential were unrestricted, acknowledged and respected and where women and men could share equally in society’s responsibilities and rewards.

WEL promoted the election of candidates whose policies were considerate of women’s needs and also sought to educate the electorate about issues that advanced the aim of equality for women. WEL aimed to influence governments and politicians to recognise inequalities and introduce legislation that enabled women to have equal opportunities and economic independence, as well as the services they needed.

Time period

WEL was established in Victoria in 1972 and became an official organisation in WA in 1973. WEL WA was inaugurated at a well-attended public meeting—120 people signed the attendance register—at 8pm, 20 March 1973 at the Nurses’ Association Meeting Hall in West Perth. At the first general meeting on 8 April 1973, a caretaker executive was established with Pat Giles the first convenor. A constitution was drawn up in 1974 and amended in 1980 when WEL became an incorporated body.

The national WEL and some other state WEL groups still exist but WEL WA was wound up in 2008.

Key achievements

WEL’s first project in WA was a 1973 survey of politicians on price control, amid concern about the rising cost of food.

A series of fundraising luncheons was held in 1973–74 with a wide range of guest speakers discussing contentious issues such as censorship, rape and the incarceration rates of Aboriginal women.

The first State conference held by WEL WA was at the Wollaston Conference Centre in Mount Claremont, attended by 84 members and observers. The topics discussed included feminism, WEL as a lobby group, sexuality and future directions for WEL. State conferences were subsequently held most years and national conferences were also attended by WEL WA members. The fourth national conference was held in Perth in 1976. In 1983, a national and state conference was held at Murdoch University with speakers Dr Barbara Thiering, Margaret Smith, Joan Winch, Sister Veronica Brady, Diana Warnock, Senator Pat Giles and Associate Professor Cora Baldock.

WEL WA held a significant demonstration against the Miss Universe contest held in Perth in 1979.

WEL WA began lobbying for a women’s adviser in 1976. After the election of the Burke Labor Government in 1983, a meeting was held with the Premier to discuss establishing a Women’s Advisory Council. The council was announced in September 1983 and eight of the 20 inaugural members had a connection to WEL. In May 1984, WA’s first women’s adviser was named as Liza Newby, a member of WEL.

WEL picketed the campaign openings of both Liberal and Labor parties during the 1983 election, promoting issues such as refugee funding and the need for a women’s adviser. Soon after the election, the Burke Labor Government set up a women’s interests division within the Premier’s Department, Women’s Advisory Council, women’s information and referral service and equal opportunity legislation. WEL founder Dot Goodrick was the WA Women’s Advisory Council’s first president.

WEL worked closely with other individuals and organisations to achieve equal opportunity legislation, community child care centres to be established, abortion law reform and other women’s equality issues.

WEL was instrumental in getting the Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE) established in the 1980s. The lobby collaborated with other women to establish women’s refuges and a women’s health care house. It was instrumental in getting the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages changed to enable women to have a choice of surname for their children without having to omit the father’s name on the register.

Key people and positions in the group

  • WEL had an informal structure with a rotating leadership. WEL WA members who became public figures are Equal Opportunity Commissioner Yvonne Henderson, former MP Wendy Fatin, former MP Patricia Giles (inaugural convenor) and Diana Warnock, former MP and broadcaster.
  • There were many women who were prominent in public life and many who were not—but they worked hard behind the scenes to improve the status of women.
  • At WEL WA’s inaugural public meeting, the chair was Dorothea Squires from the Women’s Service Guild and speakers were Wendy Fatin (described as mother, student and nurse), Bob Hetherington (University of WA politics lecturer), Leslie Anderson (journalist), Rosalind Denny (King Edward Memorial Hospital matron) and Irene Greenwood.
  • Other significant people included Margot Boetcher, Val Marsden and Ruth Greble.

Sources

  • History of Women’s Electoral Lobby, Perth, WA 1973–1984. Unpublished report written by Pat Burnett.
  • Sawer, Marian. (2008). Making Women Count: A history of the Women’s Electoral Lobby in Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press. This history was prepared at the Australian National University with the assistance of a three-year grant from the Australian Research Council.
  • Webpage: http://wel.org.au/index.php/who-we-are/our-history.
  • Information provided by Val Marsden and Yvonne Henderson.

West Australian Housewives’ Association (Inc)

Purpose of the group

The association was set up to protect the interests of all housewives. The impetus behind the group forming in Perth was predominantly a shortage of sugar in WA.

In 1920, the association asked Perth City Council to establish the Kerbstone Markets in the city and, as a result of the markets’ success, others were opened across Perth.

The group also formed branches in Kalgoorlie and Bunbury. The WA group was affiliated with the Federated Association of Australian Housewives.

Time period

The group’s inaugural meeting was on 10 March 1920. The executive’s final meeting was held 3 April 1984.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

Eliza Elsie Morgan, founder.

Sources

Morgan, Elsie, E. 1965. West Australian Housewives’ Association (Inc.): (Non-Party and Non-Sectarian), Origin of the West Australian Housewives’ Association. The Association, Perth.


Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Purpose of the group

WILPF is an international body founded by women to support settling international disputes by peaceful means and the extension of parliamentary suffrage to women.

There is no longer an active WA branch but WILPF Australia actively monitors, lobbies and networks at local, national and international levels on a wide range of issues, both for women and the pursuit of peace, justice and human rights for all.

The aims of WILPF are:

  • disarmament and political solutions to international conflicts
  • reconciliation, land rights and a peace accord/treaty process in Australia
  • elimination of racism and all forms of discrimination
  • economic justice—ending poverty
  • environmental sustainability.

Time period

As an international body, WILPF was founded in 1915 and an Australian body was affiliated the same year. The first WA branch was formed in 1933. The branch folded but reformed in the 1950s and appears to have ceased about 2008.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

Nancy Elizabeth Wilkinson was responsible for re-establishing the WA branch in the 1950s.

Sources

  • Website: http://www.wilpf.org.au/about/home.htm.
  • Records of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Available at the State Library of WA, detailed listing MN 1408.

Women in Media

Purpose of the group

Women in Media is a unique networking group for journalists, public relations and government media specialists. The aim is to encourage networking opportunities, stimulate discussion on issues relevant to women working in media and/or public relations in Western Australia and provide examples of positive and inspirational role models.

Time period

Since 2005.

Key achievements

Women in Media was first established in 2005. More than 26 events have been held. In 2013, the WA initiative was rolled out nationally, with Caroline Jones AO named as the inaugural national patron.

Key people and positions in the group

Women in Media Committee (volunteer).

Sources

Website: http://www.womeninmedia.com.au.

Information provided by Liz Carey.


Women’s Information Referral Exchange (WIRE)

Purpose of the group

An initiative of the Women’s Advisory Council, WIRE was established to provide help and information to women in WA. It was informed by feminist principles and committed to:

  • using a woman-centred analysis to inform WIRE’s strategic directions
  • empowering and acknowledging the centrality of women as service users
  • providing respectful and non-judgemental responses to women
  • ensuring quality, relevant, accountable and confidential services.

WIRE aimed to encourage women to be independent by providing them with information they needed in appropriate ways. Specialist information was provided on health, welfare, housing, finance, childcare, family law, pensions and social security. Referrals were also made to other State and Federal services. Services were provided by phone and through a shopfront located centrally in Perth.

Time period

In January 1984, Premier Brian Burke announced WIRE would be established. The service opened on 12 September 1984 and closed in 1992. It was replaced by the Women’s Information Service (WIS), still in operation.

Key achievements

WIRE produced a wide variety of information leaflets and a library housed books and other publications by, for and about women. During WIRE’s first few years, demand for the walk-in service grew from about 3000 users in 1985 to about 7000 in 1988. WIRE enabled many women’s organisations to develop by providing office accommodation and support. Some of the many groups that benefited by co-locating with WIRE included the Women’s Refuge Group, Learning Centre Link and Aboriginal Women’s Congress. What’s On For Women, a monthly calendar of events, was produced by WIRE and sent to more than 1500 groups and individuals for free.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Val Marsden (first coordinator), Susie Busani (librarian), Gail Gilmour (manager), Lynnley McGrath (coordinator), Anne Ritchie (librarian), Lorraine Scherpenzeel (project manager), Margaret Watts (librarian) and Joan Tuit.
  • Information officers Meredith Graham, Mary Gadsden, Dionne Carrier, Ruth Ellis, Joanne Lane, Mabs MacDougall, Carol Mundell, Joyce Warren and Vivienne Weir.

Sources

  • Women’s Information—Women’s Power, a brief history of the Western Australian Women’s Information Referral Exchange, Department for Community Development, Office for Women’s Policy, November 2003.
  • Marian Sawer, Sisters in Suits: Women and Public Policy in Australia. 1990, Allen & Unwin.

Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Western Australia

Purpose of the group

The WCTU started as a social reform group concerned with campaigning for the prohibition and/or individual abstinence from alcohol. Group members believed the dangers of alcohol could not be tackled in isolation so a wide range of reforms were pursued.

Enfranchisement of women was one of the group’s main objectives because the vote was seen as a vital tool in the fight against alcohol’s effect on the lives of women. The WCTU advocated for equal pay and, during the 1930s Depression, a relief committee was formed to provide financial aid to unemployed women.

The WCTU was an original member of the National Council of Women and had links to many other women’s organisations. The union was one of many women’s groups in Perth concerned with what was considered to be an increase in immorality during World War II, believed to be linked to alcohol.

The group’s motto is ‘for God, home and humanity’ and its badge is a white ribbon bow—the white represents purity and peace while the bow symbolises the bond between members around the world.

Time period

The WCTU was established in the United States as early as the 1870s and the first Australian branch was formed in Sydney in 1882. The WA branch was established in York in 1891 with a Perth branch forming in September 1892. Worldwide, the organisation continues to operate and, in WA, is now known as BREATHE (Believe, Renew, Equip, Advocate, Teach, Heal, Embrace).

Key achievements

For more than 100 years, WCTU members have written countless letters and petitions to raise awareness and promote the group’s values. Some of the many achievements include:

  • In 1894, members collected signatures for a petition to present to parliament, seeking the vote for women. When the signatures were pasted on to a roll of cloth, it measured a mile (1.6km).
  • A tearoom was opened in Perth by the WCTU in 1898 and accommodation and support was offered to young women who wanted to stop working in local brothels.
  • A ‘sailor’s rest’ was opened in Fremantle in 1900 because it was considered important for sailors to be kept away from harmful shore leave activities. A restaurant—the Leisure Hour Club—opened about same time and was the only restaurant in Perth where alcohol was not permitted yet the venue still made a small profit.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Emily Hensman was inaugural president.
  • Other presidents included Mrs Ferguson, Mrs Gover, Miss Forsyth, Mrs Medcalf, Mrs Driver, Mrs Althorp, Mrs Hart, Mrs Curtis, Mrs Burnett, Mrs Muir McCulloch, Mrs Nightingale, Mrs Vallance, Mrs Wilkins, Mrs Humphrys, Mrs Hlland, Mrs Wilkins, Mrs Eddy, Mrs Magill, Mrs Palmers, Mrs Lawrence, Mrs Edwards and Mrs Adams.

Sources

  • Reekie, Gail. 1985. War, Sexuality and Feminism: Perth’s Women’s Organisations 1938–1945 in Historical Studies vol. 21, no. 85, 1985, pp. 576–591.
  • Henderson, Joyce R. 1992. The strength of white ribbon: A year-by-year record of the centennial history of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of Western Australia (Inc.): ten decades of service for ‘God, home and humanity’.
  • http://www.wctu.com.au/pages/history.html.
  • http://www.breathe.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=3.

Women in Education Coalition

Purpose of the group

Women in Education was a national coalition of women involved in education groups. It was important in linking feminist educators and developing feminist thought in education. The group also lobbied for policies to improve the education of women and girls.

Time period

Established in1975, no longer exists.

Key achievements

The coordination of activities and lobbying efforts across Australia and various publications and national conferences on girls, schools and education issues.

The group produced the newsletter ‘Bluestocking’ reflecting the mix of radical cultural politics and liberal reformist agendas of the women’s movement at that time. Subjects included women’s learning centres, gay teachers and students and making curriculum relevant for girls.

Key people and positions in the group

Denise Bradley, Sue Allen, Sue Walpole and Jozefa Sobski.

Sources

  • Gaskell, Jane, The women’s movement in Canadian and Australian education: from liberation and sexism to boys and social justice (http://eprints.qut.edu.au/2127/1/2127.pdf); papers held in various collections.
  • Information provided by Yvonne Henderson.

Women in Mining WA (WIMWA)

Purpose of the group

WIMWA supports people in the mining and resources sector. The group has links with the AusIMM Women in Mining Network (WIMnet). One of WIMWA’s aims was to create a forum where women could discuss their experiences and issues with the modern mining industry, such as isolation, commuting and family.

Networking functions attract hundreds of attendees to hear high-profile and inspiring speakers and also gives them the chance to meet other women involved in the mining and resources industry. Attendees include women involved in all aspects of the industry from lab assistants, geologists and truck drivers through to lawyers, engineers, geophysicists and secretaries.

Regular seminars and workshops are held to inform and support women in the industry. Networking is intended to be informal and inclusive and includes an email list and blog where contributors can post items of interest.

Time period

Started 2003 and still active.

Key achievements

WIMWA has a successful mentoring program to support women with career guidance and direction through the sharing of experiences and developing goals. The program has training sessions on getting the most from the mentor relationship and also includes informal social gatherings.

The International Women’s Day Breakfast and Awards was a highly successful event held in 2012 to acknowledge and recognise women who have made outstanding contributions to the mining and resources sector.

WIMWA offers education scholarships to women in the mining and resources sector, as well as scholarships to complete the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

Website: http://www.womeninmining.com.


Women in Sailing (WIS)

Purpose of the group

WIS promotes the participation of women in sailing through women-only training and opportunities to compete and socialise.

Time period

WIS was established in 2012.

Key achievements

Through the efforts of WIS, the South of Perth Yacht Club was represented by two women’s teams in the 2012 Women’s State Sailing Championships. Women-only training is expected to start at the club in the near future.

Key people and positions in the group

Jade Lane (aka Jade Paton), Jennifer Sims, Mara Vlaar, Amanda Willmott and Elspeth Hensler were actively involved in starting the program and maintaining its momentum.

Sources

Information provided by Elspeth Hensler.


Women in Sport Committee of the Western Australian Sports Council

Purpose of the group

The committee was a women’s sport advisory body for the WA Sports Minister. At a Women in Sport speak-out in 1984, sportswomen identified problems with administration, organisation, funding and media coverage. Having identified the problems, recommendations were forwarded through the WA Sports Council to the minister.

The committee’s terms of reference were to investigate and make recommendations on:

  • problems of organisation and administration in women’s sports
  • problems of government and non-government involvement in women’s sports
  • barriers to participation in women’s sport
  • media coverage of women’s sport, including print and electronic media.

Time period

The committee was appointed in May 1984.

Key achievements

The Women in Sport Committee became a WA Sports Council standing committee. Women’s sports received special assistance through the funding of part-time officers and the WA Sports Centre built child care facilities.

The Women in Sport Committee supported the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation in its efforts to have specialist PE teachers appointed to all primary schools.

A women’s sports media coordinator was appointed.

Key people and positions in the group

Committee members Yvonne Rate (chair), Erica Gray, Pam Hatt, Shirley de la Hunty, Raelene Lyon, Mavis Owen and Helen Parker.

Sources

Report of ‘Women in sport update’ workshop: held on 24 November 1986 at the WA College of Advanced Education/ Women in Sport Committee of the Western Australian Sports Council. (Nedlands, WA): The Committee (1986). Available at the State Library of WA (call number is Q 796.019 REP)


Women in Technology WA (Inc) (WiTWA)

Purpose of the group

WiTWA is a business women’s network in the technology sector, holding up to six networking events a year (both female only and co-ed) on a variety of topics relevant to technology, business and women’s issues. Through its events and networks, it seeks:

  • to create and sustain a community for women engaged in the technology industries
  • to promote and encourage the entry and retention of women in roles within technology industries
  • to educate women in the technology industries
  • to support women working in the technology industries and sciences through mentoring and coaching
  • to foster women’s input into the technology industries and sciences
  • to encourage youth to embark on technology and science careers

Time period

Operational in WA since 1998, incorporated since 2005.

Key achievements

WiTWA has implemented several significant initiatives to encourage young women to consider a career in the technology sector. These include:

  • Go Girl, Go for IT Career Showcase (2002) at Edith Cowan University, attended by about 1,700 high school girls over two days.
  • Go Girl, Go for IT Career Showcase (2004) at Murdoch University, attended by about 1,900 school girls over two days.
  • Go Girl, Go for IT Career Showcase (2006) at Murdoch University, attended by about 2,100 school girls over two days.
  • Techtrails, technology and science career incursion—first pilot program at Gilmore College, Kwinana, in 2011, attended by 90 students (boys and girls).
  • Techtrails, technology and science career incursion—second pilot program at Karratha Senior High School in 2012, attended by 119 students (boys and girls).

Key people and positions in the group

  • WiTWA Management Committee (as of 2013):
  • - Adrianne Barba, web management (WiTWA and techtrails)
  • - Tamryn Barker, brand and marketing
  • - Amanda Gell, techtrails subcommittee chair
  • - Michelle Furey, treasurer
  • - Sheryl Frame, secretary
  • - Marjolein Towler, chair.
  • Loula Papandreou, founding chair.

Sources

  • Information provided by Marjolein Towler, WiTWA chair.
  • Website: http://www.witwa.org.au.

Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc) (WLWA)

Purpose of the group

WLWA promotes the interests of women in the legal profession and community generally. The group provides opportunities for members to network and expand their contacts and interests by holding several social functions each year, as well as presenting regular seminars on a range of interesting and educational topics.

Time period

WLWA was established in 1982 and still exists.

Key achievements

WLWA has actively lobbied for and achieved several changes in the legal profession to benefit women lawyers and enable better access to higher positions in the law profession. These include the introduction of flexible work practices, sexual harassment being included as a breach of professional conduct rules, consultations with the State Government and Chief Justice on appointments of judges and senior counsel and introducing a model briefing policy to promote equal opportunities in briefing practices.

WLWA offers an informal mentoring program where members are given an opportunity to discuss a particular work-related problem (other than legal advice) with a more experienced member assigned by the mentoring coordinator.

WLWA regularly presents educational seminars by high-profile speakers, as well as social functions that provide informal networking opportunities between women lawyers from different backgrounds and experience.

Key people and positions in the group

  • First president Vivien Payne.
  • First vice-president—and now Patron Emeritus—Her Honour Toni Kennedy.
  • Chief Justice Diana Bryant, first secretary.
  • Anne Payne, first treasurer.
  • First committee members Christine Wheeler, Rhonda Griffiths, Beccy Vidler and Kim Rooney.

Sources

  • Website: www.wlwa.asn.au.
  • Information provided by Elspeth Hensler.

Women with Disabilities WA Inc (WWDWA)

Purpose of the group

WWDWA is a consumer-led organisation that works to actively promote the participation of West Australian women with disability in all aspects of social, economic, political and cultural life. The organisation provides support, information and education to women with disability by regularly engaging their participation in forums to address identified needs. WWDWA undertakes, where possible, relevant systemic advocacy and research, as well as providing support and advice to individuals, agencies and governments that relate to the organisation’s objectives.

WWDWA began as Women On Wellness after the successful 2002 conference of the same name, hosted by Rocky Bay (a not-for-profit disability service provider). The conference led to a training course for women with disability at Leederville’s Loftus Street Community Centre. The training group further highlighted the need for a regular forum to specifically consider the needs of women with disability.

Research and development found there was a lack of opportunities for women with disability to meet, share information and build community and social networks that would promote their inclusion and empowerment in Perth. The Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre donated the use of office space and equipment, as well as administration support for the coordinator to develop monthly forums and other activities for women with disability. WWDWA is now an incorporated organisation.

Time period

WWDWA was established in October 2003 and continues to operate.

Key achievements

2007 Community Services Industry Awards finalist in the ‘Working creatively to make a difference (small group/organisation)’ category. Creation of GALS (Girls Against LimitationS), a group for women with disability in Rockingham. Ongoing monthly forums for women with disability in WA. Projects include Self-Defence for Women With Disabilities (two six-week courses), Feeling Good And Having Fun (series of forums), Making The Most of Moving (series of forums), Information Technology and Women With Disabilities (workshop), Women With Disabilities Need Pap Smears Too (brochure) and What About Pap Smears? (flip-chart resource).

Key people and positions in the group

  • Barbara Mackay (first chairperson), Rayna Lamb (founder/coordinator), Zeliha Iscel (treasurer), Ingrid Moore (secretary).
  • Jenny Au Yeong (former Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre executive officer and mentor/supporter), Carolyn Fromader (Women With Disabilities Australia executive officer).
  • Vilma Palicios (mentor/supporter), Annie Macbeth (volunteer/mentor/supporter), Janni Goss (volunteer/mentor/supporter), Jane Akerman (women’s health).

Sources

  • Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WWDWA.
  • Website: http://wwdwa.org.au/about.
  • Information provided by Rayna Lamb.

Women’s Action Alliance (WAA)

Purpose of the group

WAA was a national organisation that aimed to advance and benefit women. It was non-political and non-denominational and actively involved in lobbying political parties on various matters of concern to women. The group was also known as the Australian Family Association: Women’s Division.

The principle of equal pay was supported for women in employment and WAA supported promotions based on competency and suitability, regardless of sex. The organisation worked to gain recognition for women’s roles in unpaid work, such as voluntary and community work. It was considered the State was responsible for funding child care to enable women to work, as well as payments for women who chose not to work outside the home.

A cornerstone of the group’s policies was the Homemakers’ Allowance, which was to be paid to women wanting to be full-time homemakers. It was believed women should not be subject to economic disadvantage if they chose to be homemakers. The proposed scheme was to operate as part of the wage system by siphoning off a proportion of real wages’ future growth into a central fund. A submission based on this proposal was made to the mid-decade conference on women held in November 1979 at Churchlands College.

Time period

WAA operated during the 1970s—the official launch of the WA branch was on 18 September 1977 at the Riverside Hotel and Lodge, attended by about 100 people.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

The WA branch was launched by Matron Beryl Grant of Ngala with Imelda Bennett as the convenor.

Sources

Collection of material issued by the Women’s Action Alliance available at the State Library of WA, detailed listing available at PR8923.


Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)

Purpose of the group

WAC was the first of several organisations relating to women’s issues established by the newly-elected Labor State Government in 1983. The council’s aim was to provide information about women’s issues directly to the government.

WAC is an independent body which initially reported directly to the Premier and was provided with secretariat support from the Department for Premier and Cabinet. Later, WAC reported to the Women’s Interests Minister.

When first established, WAC’s powers were:

  • reporting and making recommendations, at the Premier’s request, or of its own initiative
  • making public comment on any issues of concern to women and aspects of proposed government legislation that was likely to have an impact upon women
  • setting up sub-committees, working parties or taskforces as necessary, drawing on its own resources, when appropriate, and on resources in government and non-government areas
  • encouraging research into areas of importance to women and recommending, for the Premier’s approval, grants to organisations and individuals to undertake specific projects
  • recommending funding for special projects to the Premier.

WAC’s role has remained fairly consistent and includes consulting with women’s organisations and community members on matters important to women. Information, matters of concern and recommendations are then conveyed to the State Government.

WAC members are now appointed by the Women’s Interests Minister (it was previously done by the Premier) and they represent a range of women from metropolitan and regional areas who have experience on boards and committees or experience in community organisations.

Time period

WAC was first announced on 17 September 1983. In 2007, the Women’s Advisory Network of WA was established with a similar role to WAC. The new WAC was established in December 2009 and continues to function.

Key achievements

In 1985, WAC identified women’s health as its major priority and actively supported the development of a Women’s Health Unit in the Health Department, established in 1987.

The council undertook a research project into the impact of technology on the lives of women. Media images were also targeted during 1986 and seminars were held as part of the National Agenda for Women consultation process.

The needs of indigenous Australian women were prioritised by WAC in 1988 and a women’s summit was held.

WAC undertook many projects and produced publications including From Work to Employment in 1988 and Breaking the Silence about Abortion in mid-1993.

Key people and positions in the group

  • The first WAC included president Dorothy Goodrick. Daphne Baldwin, Helen Cattalini, Betty Connell, Helen Errington, Kath French, Rosemary Hannon, Anne-Marie Heine, Pauline Hutchinson, Gillian Kaub, Dr Gwen Leavesley, Ruth Moir, Liza Newby, Janet Pine, Pat Ryan, Roslyn Shea, Judith Siddins, Diana Warnock and Joan Winch.
  • Other presidents include Janet Pine, Lyn Amore, Leonie Still and Elizabeth Conti.
  • Current (2013) members include chair Maria Saraceni, Agnes Vacca, Karen Strange, Lesley Cala, Lily Chen, Rosemary Waldron-Hartfield, Amanda Lovitt, Rowena Barrett, Holly Ransom, Fiona Lander, Cheryl Thomas, Philippa Page and Annette Chivers.

Sources

Women’s Information, Women’s Power: A brief history of the Western Australian Women’s Information Referral Exchange. Available from the State Library of WA (call number 353.535.WOM).


Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative

Purpose of the group

The Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative produced the 30-minute program Out of the Gilded Cage each week on 6NR in Perth. The cooperative was made up of several women’s groups but most frequently on air were the Women’s Electoral Lobby, Women’s Liberation, Women’s Study Group and Amazon Access.

Most of the radio programs have been preserved and were held in the Lespar Library, now part of the Gay and Lesbian Archive.

Time period

Out of the Gilded Cage aired on 6NR radio between 1976 and 1982.

Key achievements

Various women’s groups informed, entertained and revolutionised women through the medium of radio.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

  • Lespar. 1981. Library of Women’s Liberation catalogue; also feminist recordings collection catalogue; Out of the Gilded Cage radio programs catalogue. Perth, WA: Lespar. Available at the State Library of WA (call number Q 016.3054 LES)
  • Information provided by Rona Chadwick.

Women’s Committee of State School Teachers’ Union WA Executive

Purpose of the group

To represent women members and develop women’s policies, particularly in recognition of International Women’s Year 1975.

Time period

Established in 1975 and no longer in existence.

Key achievements

Not given.

Key people and positions in the group

Nennie Harken, Queenie Fogarty, Barbara Agocs, Merv Knight.

Sources

Information provided by Yvonne Henderson.


Women's Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation

Purpose of the group

The Women’s Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation started during the national strike of 1954 by the wives of militant unionists. The group had strong links with the Union of Australian Women (UAW). Group members provided mutual support and help, including welfare visits to people in need. The group also had a social aspect with keep-fit classes, river trips and socials. Funds were raised through raffles and similar activities.

The group attended International Women's Day celebrations each year and also hosted other events, such as a party for children at Fremantle Hospital on Children's Day.

A newsletter called Merry-Go-Round was produced, which kept members informed about social activities and events such as births, deaths and marriages among members.

Time period

The group started in 1954.

Key achievements

Committee members lobbied for a crèche in Fremantle for women who wanted to work or needed short-term care if they had business in the area. The campaign was supported by the UAW and Fremantle City Councillor Esme Fletcher was approached for support to establish the facility. The crèche subsequently opened in 1967 and was named the Esme Fletcher Day Nursery.

Key people and positions in the group

Committee members included Joan Williams, Norma Robinson, Betty Orgles, Rona Calhoun, Rose Reid, Mrs Delphin, Mrs Dix and Mrs Rayner.

Sources

Joan Williams Papers 1934–1999. Available from the State Library of WA (call number ACC 5425A).


Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)

Purpose of the group

The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA) (WCDFVS) was originally known as the Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG). The WRG was established to provide a coordinated and unified voice for women’s refuge services across WA and to advocate on behalf of women and children escaping violence in the family home.

The WCDFVS is a statewide peak organisation that currently represents 64 women’s refuges and domestic and family violence services in WA (http://www.womenscouncil.com.au/about-us.html).

Time period

The WRG was established in 1977. In 1979, the group received some funding for child support workers in refuges but staff were otherwise voluntary at the time. In 1986, the WRG became incorporated and, in 1989, it received some funding from the Department for Community Services—enough for one paid worker.

Funding increased in 1992, which allowed the group to have a staffed office. After the 2000 State election, the WRG received a further increase in government funding and, in 2001, received Lotterywest funding for regional and rural consultations. In 2004, the Women’s Refuge Group changed its name to the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA) and is still operating.

Key achievements

  • First edition of the WRG newsletter was launched in February 1995.
  • In 1999, a two-day statewide conference was organised in conjunction with the Domestic Violence Council of WA.
  • From 2000 onwards, the WRG has organised the annual silent Domestic Violence Memorial March.
  • A kit was developed in 2001 to educate and inform people about family and domestic violence.
  • An international conference was held in Mandurah in 2002 to mark the 25th anniversary of the WRG. The WRG partnered with the Multicultural Women’s Advocacy Service and Centre for Research for Women to identify the needs of children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in families that accessed the service.
  • WCDFVS played a key role in the More Than A Bed campaign, which successfully sought an increase in funding for the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program.
  • The WCDFVS continues to operate a wide range of projects and services including Safe At Home, Hurt, the Domestic Violence Outreach Program, Keeping Kids Safe, Safety and Security for Women and Speak Out.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Norah Hosken was the Women’s Refuge Group of WA’s first paid employee in 1989.
  • Executive officers and staff have included Lois Gatley, Tracey Summerfield, Nadine Wilton, Janet Pettigrew, Angela Hartwig, Annie Farrell, Lineke Wiebrands, Teresa Szunekjo, Fay Sambo, Violet Pickett, Nicole Leggett, Chelsea McKinney, Sarah Newbold, Ailaoa Aoina, Lisa Palmer, Bernie Sermon, Annemarie Hindinger, Janette Richardson, Abbey Stowell, Annika Lofgren and Priscilla Masters.
  • Committee members and chairs include Aggie Quinsee, Anne Moore, Arina Aoina, Cathy Szmathany, Chelsea McKinney, Domique Taylor, Daphne Smith, Deb Dearnley, Diane Barnes, Fauziah Varusay, Fran Lane, Gabrielle Whiteley, Gloria Walley, Jacinta Anthony, Janice Gottsch, Joan Taylor, Joanne Spark, Kate Davis, Kedy Kristal, Kirsti Kilbane, Krystal Obschonka, Laurel Pearce, Lea Anderson, Lisa Delfante, Lorraine Johnston, Lineke Wiebrands, Lorena Rose, Lyn Noble, Lynne Flanagan, Lynda Digby, Mary White, Paula Karydis, Ratna Knights, Robyn Martin, Robin Shine, Ruth Marshall, Sister Jane Ablett, Tacoel Al-Manro, Trish McGowan, Valda Carrington and Vivienne Pillay.

Sources

  • Herstory: Celebrating 30 years. 2007. Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA). Perth: WCDFVS (WA).
  • Urquhart, Jean. 2001. Seeking Refuge. Perth woman, spring 2001, p. 94–96, 015.9411 PER, b20342846.

Women’s Health and Family Services/Women’s Health Care House/Perth Women’s Centre/Women’s Health Service

Purpose of the group

The first dedicated women’s health centre in Western Australia has undergone many changes since opening as Women’s Health Care House at 92 Thomas Street, West Perth. After a change of management and relocation to Aberdeen Street, Northbridge, the foundations of the current services were securely established. From these very early days to the present, the associations’ primary aim has been to provide quality health care to disadvantaged women in Western Australia.

Women’s Health Care House initially operated as a feminist collective, offering clinical services. Decisions were made by group discussion at staff meetings. The main objective was to provide a centre where any woman could feel safe and comfortable accessing the help they needed. The centre was a place where women could access the information they required and have their questions answered honestly so they could make informed decisions and take responsibility for their own health care needs. Early on, the centre had regular medical sessions as well as support with social, marital, legal, educational, and emotional problems. Groups operated for discussion and practical help with things such as assertiveness, relaxation, self defence.

The organisation later changed to a management structure and has been an incorporated body since 1987. Members of the board have expertise, experience and understanding of issues relating to women’s health and organisational management. The philosophy of the organisation remains based in a social model of health and aims to create opportunities for women to improve their own, their families and their communities’ health and wellbeing.

Services now include programs for Aboriginal women and women from different ethnic groups, nutrition and lifestyle workshops, women’s medical services, counseling, mothers support group and programs relating to alcohol and other drugs. Events run by the organisation include leadership and personal development, body awareness, art therapy, shared meals and groups for women experiencing mental health issues.

From small beginnings as a feminist collective offering clinical services, the organisation has grown to become the largest integrated gender sensitive health service in WA. Continually responding to community needs and identified gaps in providing new and innovative health and wellbeing services to all WA women, their families and communities.

Time period

Women’s Health Care House first opened on 1 April 1977. In 1990, the Perth Women’s Centre was established to provide services for women with alcohol and other drug issues. Both services were located on Aberdeen Street in Northbridge. In 2005, the name changed to Women’s Health Services, encompassing both the Perth Women’s Centre and Women’s Health Care House. More recently, the services relocated to share purpose-built premises in Northbridge and the name was changed to Women’s Health and Family Services. Although the public name of the organisation has changed several times, the official name of the incorporated body is Women’s Health Care Association.

Key achievements

It is a pioneer women’s health and wellbeing service, with WA now having 11 women’s health services throughout the state. It has been nationally accredited for over 15 years and attained international accreditation in 2012 The group secured ownership of purpose built accommodation, ensuring the long term sustainability of the organisation and its services for the community.

Programs run by the group have won many awards including: Aboriginal Grandparents Family Support Service (AGFSS)

  • 2008 NAIDOC Runner-up
  • Perth not-for-profit organisation category
  • 2005 Winner of the Community Services Industry Awards
  • Strengthening Communities Category

Multicultural Women’s Advocacy Service (MWAS)

  • 2008 Winner of the WA Multicultural Community Service Award
  • Recognising individuals and organisations who achieve excellence and innovation in advancing multiculturalism, inclusiveness and participation. Organisation category
  • 2008 Third finalist for the Community Public Service Award
  • 2004 Winner of the Crime and Violence Prevention Award
  • For research and publication of "Preventing Family Disintegration in Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Communities - A partnership approach - working with new and emerging communities."

Mental Health Community Outreach Program (MHCOP)

  • Commonwealth Award for Excellence in Women’s Health
  • Model of Good Practise
  • 2000 Finalist in the Community Support and Development category
  • Community Service Industry Awards
  • 1999 Bronze Achievement Award
  • Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Services

PEPISU

  • 2008 WA Alcohol & Other Drug Sector Award for Excellence Consumer Participation in Service Delivery 2008

Key people and positions in the group

Ann Deanus.

Sources

Website: http://www.whfs.org.au/aboutus/whca.


Women’s Information Service (WIS)

Purpose of the group

WIS operates under the WA Department for Communities. It was established to replace the Women’s Information Referral Exchange and provides a similar role. It is a free and confidential service for people seeking information and referrals for health issues, finances, legal matters, counselling, domestic violence and a wide range of other issues. The service operates with volunteers.

Time period

WIS was launched by the Minister Assisting the Women’s Interests Minister, Dr Judyth Watson, on 7 August 1992 and continues to operate.

Key achievements

WIS produces the Women’s Services Directory, a comprehensive list of services and information to help women make decisions on issues in their lives. A pocket version of the directory contains contact details for a range of women’s services. The directory and pocket directory are distributed to individual women and agencies and is particularly useful for women in rural and remote areas who don’t have internet access. The Women’s Services Directory is also available online as a searchable tool.

Key people and positions in the group

Carole Martin (manager), Judith Andrews (volunteer coordinator) and many volunteers, past and present, who contributed their time to the service.

Sources

  • Women’s Information—Women’s Power, A brief history of the Western Australian Women’s Information Referral Exchange, Department for Community Development, Office for Women’s Policy, November 2003.
  • Website: http://www.communities.wa.gov.au/women/informationservice/Pages/default.aspx

Women’s Interest Network

Purpose of the group

The group encouraged the promotion of women in the WA Health Department to high-level positions and also mentored women. The group encouraged diversity practices in the workplace.

Time period

The Women’s Interest Network was established about 2000 and ceased about 2007.

Key achievements

None given.

Key people and positions in the group

Elizabeth Re, founder.

Sources

Information provided by Elizabeth Re.


Women in Engineering WA (WIE WA)

Purpose of the group

A special interest group of Engineers Australia WA, established to support, attract, retain and celebrate women in the engineering profession as well as Engineers Australia.

The WIE WA Committee contains a mix of early career engineers through to more senior engineers from industry and university.

Representatives from the WA committee join with representatives from other state committees to form the WIE National Committee (WIENC), which meets twice a year.

WIE WA focuses on outreach, networking and career support activities while WIENC has a policy, gender equity and national campaign focus.

Time period

WIE WA has existed since1986. WIENC was established 1992.

Key achievements

WIE WA developed Girltalk!, an outreach programme for schools, piloted a mentoring programme and is now working on a practice guide for those outside the power flow of their organisation to be able to influence the culture of their organisations.

Within Engineers Australia (EA), and together with WIENC, WIE WA successfully lobbied to have a WIE representative on each of the College Boards and groups within EA, including the judging panel of the Engineering Excellence Awards.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Foundation Committee members included Sue Murphy and Judith Uren.
  • Previous Chairs of the Committee include Bev Corliss, Sally Male, Melissa Marinelli, Denise Hare, Carla Boehl.
  • 2013 Chair: Jolanta Szymakowski. 2013 Vice Chair: Balsam Sabiry.

Sources

Information provided by Jolanta Szymakowski.

Website: https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/women-engineering-western-australia.


Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO)

Purpose of the group

As an international organisation, WIZO had the aim of helping women and children in Eretz, Israel. Assisting Jewish children emigrate from Germany and Poland to make a new start was considered important early work. Fundraising was undertaken to support the Jewish National Fund.

Several groups existed within WIZO over the years including Negev, Sharon, Galil, Yaffa, Ilana, Aviva, Golan, Ziona, Tikva and Ayelet. These were formed for members of different age groups or different areas of interest.

Time period

Madame Ida Benison came to WA in June 1937 to promote the formation of a local WIZO branch. During 1937 there were 100 members, which was 10 per cent of the female Jewish population in WA. Membership increased as more Jewish migrants came to the State. WIZO remains an active group in WA.

Key achievements

WIZO has organised many successful fundraising functions and provides kosher catering. Dinners, card parties, film evenings, concerts, fashion parades and wine auctions have been held to raise money over the years.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Hannah Breckler, first president/co-founder.
  • Other founders included Rose Rappeport, Vera Rosenwax and Ethel Finkelstein.
  • Freda Masel, first treasurer.
  • Presidents included Lily Gild, Betty Harris, Adrienne Walters, Rae Craddock, Annie Segler, Renee Rosenberg, Esther Schenberg, Vivienne Levin and Anne Topelberg.
  • Other women of distinction include Lily Adonis, Bracha Berad, Ada Berinson, Anne Green, Leah Gunzburg, Vivienne Levin, Zelda Pearlman, Dora Topelberg, Lydia Weil, Bella Zeitlin, Judith Hirschfield, Elaine Rudaizky, Frances Setty and Judy Shorrock.

Sources

Landau, Miriam and Hoffman, Louise. 2010. Women of Worth: A history of WIZO in Western Australia. Available SLWA 296.67 LAN.


Women’s Liberation

Purpose of the group

The Women’s Liberation group was part of a wider movement with a political and social agenda that gained momentum during the early 1970s. The movement was founded among trade unionism, student politics and anti-war campaigns. These wider social changes were significant in the formation of women’s liberation groups across Australia and in many other countries. About the same time, emerging feminist literature provided a radical feminist analysis of patriarchal structures such as the nuclear family.

The aims outlined at the first meeting of Women’s Liberation in Perth were the right to work, equal pay and equal job opportunities, low-cost child care for all, free contraceptives and abortion on demand.

Consciousness-raising was a strategy that women’s liberation groups used to empower women, enabling them to share their difficulties with traditional family structures where males were dominant. Women’s liberation meetings helped women to see the common links between their private experiences and their common oppression. The phrase ‘the personal is political’ became a way of understanding how women’s shared personal experiences were due to social and political structures, rather than the actions of individuals. Women gained a sense of solidarity and could develop strategies for subsequent action.

There was considerable overlap between women’s organisations in Perth during the 1970s and members of Women’s Liberation joined with the Harvest Guild to form the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

Time period

Women’s Liberation started meeting as a group in 1972 and continued into the late 1970s.

Key achievements

Women’s Liberation had many public campaigns on issues such as contraception and abortion. The group was seen as quite militant and often shocking. In 1972, the group was charged with obscenity relating to an edition of the University of WA’s student paper. A demonstration held at Parliament House included writing messages on babies’ nappies, draped over the public gallery. On another occasion, information about the availability of contraception was distributed outside Perth high schools.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Pat Giles and Joan Williams were prominent members.
  • Five Women’s Liberation candidates nominated for local government elections on 24 May 1972: Pat Giles and Penny Marsh in Bassendean, Joan Williams in Willagee, Eleanor Humphries in Coolbellup and Leila Soerink in Subiaco.

Sources

  • Murray, Suellen, 2002, More Than Refuge: Changing responses to domestic violence, Perth: UWA Press.
  • Speed, Sally. 1982. Perth women's liberation and WEL, 1972–73. Available from the State Library of WA (call number Q 305.42 SPE).

Women’s Service Guilds

Purpose of the group

The Women’s Service Guilds were part of a national network, the Australian Federation of Women Voters (AFWV). The motto for the group was ‘by love we serve’ and it had strong links with the Theosophical Order of Service.

Time period

A meeting was called by Edith Cowan on 25 March 1909 where a motion to form the Women’s Service Guild was carried.

Key achievements

The guilds in Perth acted as AFWV headquarters for more than 20 years. In 1909, the guild sent questionnaires to all candidates at elections to gain their views on issues of importance to the guild.

From its early meetings in 1909, the guild campaigned for a maternity hospital to be established in WA. This idea gained popular support and fundraising was organised by the guild. Eventually, a converted industrial school opened its doors in July 1916 as the Kind Edward Memorial Hospital.

Guild members also campaigned extensively to establish free kindergartens in WA. Working with other groups, such as the Karrakatta Club and Children’s Protection Society, the aim was achieved in 1912. Improving conditions for women prisoners at Fremantle Prison was another priority.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Lady Gwenyfred James, inaugural president.
  • Vice-presidents were Marion Holmes, Bessie Rischbieth, Edith Cowan, Jessie Gover and Janetta Griffiths Foulkes.
  • Other officers included Amelia Macdonald and Helen King.
  • Many key people involved with the guild were also prominent members of the Karrakatta Club, Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Labor Women’s Organisation.

Sources

Women's Service Guilds of Western Australia records, 1921–1974. Documents available from the State Library of WA (detailed listing available MN 826).


Women’s Studies Group

Purpose of the group

The group’s aim was to share information among members on an informal basis and facilitate cooperation between the University of WA, WA Institute of Technology (now Curtin University) and Murdoch University on the study of women.

A central databank was established with primary sources, bibliographical information, mimeographed material and listings of theses and material held elsewhere.

The group also produced packages of information on particular fields involving women (such as law, education and nursing) to give school teachers ready access to primary sources.

Murdoch University Library established a collection of resources for and about women.

Time period

The Women’s Studies Group began meeting in 1975.

Key achievements

Group delegates took part in a conference in Melbourne in May 1976 to discuss the role WA could play in a proposed Australian women and education network.

Key people and positions in the group

None given.

Sources

Collection of material relating to the Women’s Studies Group in WA. Available at the State Library of WA (call number PR8461).


Yanay Yanma

Purpose of the group

The group was set up for senior women in Geraldton as a social contact group. The name Yanay Yanma was chosen for its meaning ‘come and go’.

Yanay Yanma provided some therapy at weekly meetings with members making pictures, painted plant pots and plates and jewellery. Items were sold to raise money for the group. Although membership was mostly senior women, younger women were also welcome.

The group was later registered as an indigenous corporation but seems to have ceased due to a lack of funding support.

Time period

Yanay Yanma started as a meeting and art group for women in 1998 and appears to have ended about 2008.

Key achievements

Yanay Yanma has been involved with the Sunshine Festival and members also went to schools to promote art projects during NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Day Observance Committee) celebrations.

Key people and positions in the group

Wila Gutharra, Dora Dann, Donna Ronan, Cecelia Moongoo and Elvie Dawn.

Sources

  • Yanay Yanma (13 September 2004) Geraldton women’s group for Aboriginal seniors has been meeting since 1998. Geraldton Guardian, p.8.
  • Pearn, Tim. 2008. Mid West Indigenous Arts Industry Strategy (MWIAIS). On behalf of the Mid West Development Commission. Perth: State Government.

YWCA of Perth

Purpose of the group

The Young Women's Christian Association of Australia is a women's membership movement nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and sustained by the riches of many beliefs and values.

Strengthened by diversity, the Association draws together members to create opportunities for growth, leadership, and empowerment of women and girls in order to attain a common vision; peace, justice, and dignity for all people.

Time period

Established in Perth on 9th June 1921 and ongoing.

Key achievements

YWCA Encore Program -YWCA encore is a free eight- week program of specially designed gentle exercise, relaxation, support and information for women who have experienced breast cancer at any time in their life.

Every Girl Program – because every girl deserves to thrive. Every Girl is a strengths-based self esteem program for girls aged 9-14 years from disadvantaged communities. The program aims to address the long-term gender inequality experienced by women in Australia. Every Girl enhances girls’ understanding of their rights, ability to influence community change and their sense of belonging.

YWCA Pioneer Women's Scholarship Awards - four scholarships given annually to Year 12 girls at Lockridge Senior High School.

Key people and positions in the group

  • Helen Carvosso -President
  • Beth Keely -Vice President
  • Ruth Prunster -Vice President
  • Paige Exley –Treasurer
  • Mia Backshall -Office Administrator
  • Cathy Stubbs -Program Coordinator

Sources

Website: http://www.ywcaperth.com.au.

Website: http://www.ywcaencore.org.au.

Website: http://www.everygirl.org.au.

Information provided by Mia Backshall


Zonta International

Purpose of the group

The Zonta Clubs in Western Australia were set up under the umbrella of Zonta International, a global organisation of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. Zonta International envisions a world where women’s rights are recognised as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential. In such a world, every woman is literate and has access to education, health care, legal and economic resources on an equal basis with men. No woman lives in fear of violence.

The main objectives of Zonta International are:

  • To improve the legal, political, economic, education, health and professional status of women at the global and local level through service and advocacy.
  • To advance understanding, goodwill and peace through fellowship of executives in business and professions.
  • To promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • To be united internationally to foster high ethical standards, implement service programs and provide mutual support and fellowship for members who serve their communities, nations and the world.

Time period

Zonta International was founded in 1919 in the US. On 5 April 1972, the Zonta Club of Perth became the first club to be chartered in WA. In 2012 the City of Perth hosted a special reception at Council House to celebrate the clubs 40th anniversary.  Many original charter members and current and former Zontians attended this event.

There are currently six active Zonta clubs in WA.  Zonta Club of Perth (1972), Zonta Club of Perth Northern Suburbs (1981), the Zonta Club of Bunbury (1988), the Zonta Club of Dunsborough (1991), the Zonta Club of Peel (1993) and Zonta Club of Swan Hills (1999). In addition, two other clubs were established and have closed: the Zonta Club of South of Perth (1979-1993), and the Zonta Club of Darling Ranges (1984-1997).

The six active clubs in WA were joined by the first Golden Z Club for university students that was established at St Catherine's College, University of Western Australia in 2013.

Key achievements

Clubs support a range of service and award programs both overseas and in Australia.  Current Zonta International projects include reducing obstetric fistula in Liberia, preventing mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS in Rwanda, creating safer cities in Honduras, empowering women to combat violence in Samoa and using mass communication edutainment to reduce violence against women in 11 countries in Asia and Africa.

Clubs actively collate simple birthing kits consisting of basic equipment to enable women in developing countries to give birth in a clean environment and over 1 million of these kits have now been distributed by clubs throughout Australia.  Clubs also make breast care cushions to give comfort to women (and men) recovering from breast surgery.

The International Amelia Earhart Fellowships help women study PhD’s in aerospace related science or engineering; the Jane M Klausman Scholarships help women pursue degrees in business and the Young Women in Public Affairs Awards help high school students take an interest in public policy.  Clubs also offer a range of scholarships and grants at a local level to help women further their education.

All clubs advocate for women through adopting the Zonta Says No to violence campaign. At a local level, the Zonta House Refuge, established in 1984 by the now defunct Zonta Club of South of Perth has provided refuge to thousands of women escaping domestic violence and helped them rebuild their lives through a range of programs.  All clubs continue to contribute to Zonta House and other refuges in WA by regularly collecting toiletries, clothing and furniture. Recently, Perth Northern Suburbs Duck Auction featured ducks painted by local artists and funds raised supported camps for families that had suffered domestic violence.

Many clubs have signature events to raise funds including the Perth Club’s Art Shows throughout the 1980-90s where the interest earned on funds raised is used in perpetuity to fund holidays for disadvantaged families in need.   The Zonta Club of Peel’s Golf Days, Dunsborough’s Melbourne Cup lunches, Swan Hills Hot February nights, Bunbury’s Afternoons in the Park and Perth Northern Suburbs’ Amelia Earhart dinners have all been regular events in local social calendars.  

Key people and positions in the group

  • All clubs in WA form Area 3 in District 23 of Zonta International. District 23 includes Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. The current (2012-2014) Area 3 Director is Carole Theobald
  • Current (2012-13) club presidents are Larraine McLean (Zonta Club of Perth), Letitia Depiazzi (Zonta Club of Perth Northern Suburbs), Livia Sossi (Zonta Club of Peel), Jane Moulden (Zonta Club of Dunsborough), Nan Martella (Zonta Club of Bunbury), Dee Saunders (Zonta Club of Swan Hills)
  • There have been many high-profile members of various clubs such as 2009 West Australian of the Year Penny Flett and Independent Living Centre founder Freda Jacob, educationalist Barbara Hale, nurse and magistrate Beryl Grant.

Sources


Additional Groups

The groups listed below have all existed in Western Australia at some stage over the last 120 years. Many of them are still very active and continue to provide an extremely valuable service to women in the community.

  • Aboriginal Women’s Task Force
  • Aboriginal Women’s Congress
  • Abortion Information Service
  • African Women’s Council of Australia
  • AIM - Women In Management
  • Army Families (WA) Inc (Formerly Army Wives)
  • Association of Medical Women
  • Athena Women’s Auxiliary
  • Australian Church Women
  • Australian Institute of Management: Women in Management WA
  • Australian Prostitutes Collective WA
  • Australian Relinquishing Mothers Society (ARMS)
  • Australian Women Against Rape (AWAR)
  • Australian Women in Agriculture WA
  • Australian Women’s Pilots Association
  • Australian Women’s Mentoring Network
  • Baha’i Office for the Advancement of Women
  • Black Australian Women’s Movement of WA
  • Bowbridge Tingledale Hazeldale Ladies Club
  • Breast Cancer Support Group
  • Bunbury Sexual Assault Centre
  • Centre for Research for Women
  • Coming Out Show
  • Communist Party women
  • Derby Womenshare
  • Djidi-djidi Aboriginal Women’s Corporation
  • Friendly Union of Servicemen’s Wives, Mothers, Sisters and Daughters
  • Friends – women 40-60
  • Gay and Lesbian Equality (GALE)
  • Goldfield's Women’s Health Care Centre
  • Hedland Well Women’s Centre
  • Hellenic Christian Ladies Union
  • Hellenic Women’s Association
  • Heterosexual Partners of Transvestites/Cross Dressers
  • Institute of Professional Secretaries
  • International Toastmistresses Club
  • International Women’s Group TOPIC
  • International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation
  • Jardamu Women’s Group
  • Jewish Women’s Guild (Perth, WA)
  • Katanning’s Marloo Ladies Club
  • L’Entrepeneuse
  • Learning Centre Link
  • Lesbian Social Group
  • Lioness Club
  • Lone Mothers Support Group
  • Lutheran Women of WA
  • Maori Women’s Welfare League. Whirinaki Branch (Perth, WA)
  • Meet-a-Mum Association
  • Midland Women’s Health Care Place
  • Murdoch Women’s Collective
  • National Country Party: Women’s Group
  • National Italian-Australian Women's Association (WA) Inc
  • Nursing Mothers Association
  • Polish Self-Support Association of WA Women’s Section
  • Presbyterian Women’s Association
  • Pride WA
  • Prisoner’s Action Group: Women Behind Bars
  • Rape Action Group for Everywoman (RAGE)
  • Roar
  • Rouge Newspaper
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service Women’s Auxiliary
  • Ruah-Anawim Aboriginal Women’s Services
  • Ruby club
  • Senior Women on the Terrace
  • Supporting Mothers Association
  • The Australian Federation of Women Voters
  • The Australian Women’s Pilots’ Association
  • The Children’s Protection Society
  • The Esther Foundation
  • The Filipino-Australian Club of Perth, Inc. (Women’s Group)
  • The Kindergarten Union
  • The Mothers’ Union
  • The Pink Book Club
  • The Royal Australian Nursing Federation
  • The Unemployed Women’s Research Group (WA)
  • The Women’s Research and Action (WA)
  • Ukrainian Women’s Association
  • Vietnamese Women’s Group
  • WA Association of Polish Women
  • WA Feminist Youth Workers’ Network
  • WA Right to Choose Coalition
  • WAIT Women’s Group
  • Western Australian Women’s Health Organisation (WAWHO)
  • Western Desert Women’s Group
  • Westpac Women’s Network (The Ruby Connection)
  • Whirinaki: (Perth Branch) Maori Women’s Welfare League
  • Women’s Art Collective UWA
  • Women and Development Network
  • Women Chiefs of Enterprises International (Australia)
  • Women Exploring Feminism
  • Women in Action
  • Women in Search
  • Women in the Media
  • Women Justices’ Association
  • Women Who Want to be Women
  • Women’s Activity Centre (Gosnells)
  • Women’s Bureau
  • Women’s Healing Centre
  • Women’s Protest Committee
  • Women’s Spiritual Association
  • Women’s Workspace
  • Women’s Economic Development Organisation
  • Women’s Immigration Auxiliary Council of Western Australia
  • Women’s Multicultural Refuge Workers’ Network
  • Women’s Services Network (WESNET)
  • Workers Information and Research Centre (WIRC) Women’s Collective
Article Index
Women's Groups 2013
Abortion Law Repeal Association/Association for the Legal Right to Abortion (ALRA)
American Women's Club of Perth (AWC)
Artemis
Association of Civilian Widows of WA Inc
Australian College of Midwives WA Branch (ACM)
Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA)
Beta Sigma Phi
Business and Professional Women Western Australia (BPW)
Catholic Women’s League of Western Australia (Inc)
Chrysalis House Women's Refuge
Cine-Matrix: Women in Film and Television WA
Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp
Combined Equal Pay Committee/WA Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity
Community Midwifery WA
Country Women’s Association (CWA)
Domestic Violence Action Group (Geraldton)
Emily’s List
Equal Opportunity Law Reform Coalition
Fremantle Women’s Health Centre (FWHC)
Girl Guides WA
Graduate Women Western Australia (GWWA)/Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW) Western Australia
Grapevine/Perth Wimmin’s Collective
Gretel Club of Perth (Inc)
Harvest Guild
Incest Survivors Association (Inc.)
Inner Wheel Australia
Inside Out Project
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre
Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Karrakatta Club
Kinwomen
Labor Women’s Association
Lespar Library
Living Child Inc.—Safe Village Births
Lutheran Women WA
Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre
Mining Mums
Modern Women's Club
Mothers’ Union Australia
Movement for the Ordination of Women
Muslim Women’s Support Centre of WA (Inc)
Nardine
National Council of Women of Western Australia (previously known as West Australian National Council of Women and Western Australian National Council of Women)
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia—WA section (NCJWA)
Nintirri Centre
Older Women’s Network (OWN WA)
Penguin Club
Perth Ionian Club
Polyhymnia Reading Group
Probus
Rape Crisis Line
Rural Remote Regional Women’s Network (RRR)
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
Sibyl/University of Western Australia Student Guild Women’s Collective
Society of Women Writers WA
Soroptimist International of Western Australia
Starick Services Inc
Status of Women Committee WA—Australian Labor Party
Tradeswomen on the Move
UN Women Australia (formerly UNIFEM Australia)—Perth Chapter Young UN Women Perth Chapter
Union of Australian Women—WA Branch
V.I.E.W. Western Australia
West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts
War Widows’ Guild
Warrawee Women’s Refuge
Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL)
West Australian Housewives’ Association (Inc)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women in Media
Women’s Information Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Western Australia
Women in Education Coalition
Women in Mining WA (WIMWA)
Women in Sailing (WIS)
Women in Sport Committee of the Western Australian Sports Council
Women in Technology WA (Inc) (WiTWA)
Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc) (WLWA)
Women with Disabilities WA Inc (WWDWA)
Women’s Action Alliance (WAA)
Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)
Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative
Women’s Committee of State School Teachers’ Union WA Executive
Women's Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation
Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)
Women’s Health and Family Services/Women’s Health Care House/Perth Women’s Centre/Women’s Health Service
Women’s Information Service (WIS)
Women’s Interest Network
Women in Engineering WA (WIE WA)
Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO)
Women’s Liberation
Women’s Service Guilds
Women’s Studies Group
Yanay Yanma
YWCA of Perth
Zonta International
Additional Groups
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