Women's Groups 2013 - Women’s Information Referral Exchange (WIRE)

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.


  • 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.

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
Additional Groups
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