Women's Groups 2013 - Mothers’ Union Australia

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.


  • 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.

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)
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
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)
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
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
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