Women's Groups 2013 - Union of Australian Women—WA Branch

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.


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).

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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