- Religious organisation, Lobby group and Women's Rights Organisation
The South Australian branch was founded in1889, following a visit from American spokesperson, Jessie Ackermann. Its purpose was to promote temperance and Christianity in order to improve people's lives and so also involved tackling questions such as raising the age of marriage consent for girls and women's suffrage. By 1899 membership of the various branches numbered over 1100. Elizabeth Webb Nicholls was its first president and served two terms; 1889-1997 and 1906-1927 and in 1891 Mary George became its first paid secretary. Under Nicholls' leadership the Union took an active role in the campaign for women's suffrage in South Australia, having a suffrage department convened by Serena Thorne Lake in 1890-1891, and became involved with the Women's Suffrage League.
Sources used to compile this entry: Allen, Margaret (Margaret Ellen), 1947- ; Hutchison, Mary and Mackinnon, Alison, 1942-, Fresh evidence, new witnesses : finding women's history, South Australian Government Printer, Netley, SA, 1989, 284 pp. (Especially Part Four, Chapter One).; Craig, Maureen., 'Of lengthening cords and strengthening stakes : the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of South Australia, 1886-1896', Hons thesis, University of Adelaide, 1983, 53 pp; Daniels, Kay, Murnane, Mary, Picot, Anne and National Research Program (Australia) (eds), Women in Australia : an annotated guide to records, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1977. Vol.1 pp.176-177.; Helen Jones, In her own name. A history of women in South Australia from 1836, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, 1986, 356 pp; McCorkindale, Isabel (ed.), Torch-bearers : the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of South Australia, 1886-1948, Woman's Christian Temperance Union of South Australia, Adelaide, 1949, 183 pp.