Women's Groups 2013 - Polyhymnia Reading Group

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.


  • 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).

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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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